While Pride flags were displayed in Poulsbo during the month of June, one person voiced displeasure and wore a t-shirt to the July 5 City Council meeting stating, “It is not ok to be gay.”
“This city was founded by Christians from Norway,” Daniel Charles Svoboda said. “Putting a welcome mat out for…homosexuals is like putting a welcoming mat out for heroin addicts. It’s not the way to love them…It’s hateful behavior. I am very disappointed in your decision, I’m not sure where your heads were.
Svoboda also criticized the tribal land acknowledgment that is given at the start of each council meeting. “If you believe we’re on stolen land, then get off. This land was given to Christians by God.” He also said he would like the city to display Christian flags on Front Street for a month, similar to what it is doing for Pride. He claimed he emailed the mayor and councilmembers but has not received a response.
In shock of what she just heard, councilmember Britt Livdahl responded to the comments by saying she’s proud of the council for being a welcoming, diverse and inclusive community and expects the city to continue down that path. She also reiterated how Norway is one of the most progressive and liberal countries in the world.
“Really what you’re talking about is rooted in white supremacy, and you’re entitled to that opinion, but we are entitled to fight against it and will continue to do so,” Livdahl said. Councilmember Connie Lord didn’t agree with Livdahl’s word choice of “white supremacy. I think those are trigger words,” she said. “Everybody needs to keep their thinking to themselves and not try to aggravate this whole situation.”
Taking it a step further, councilmember Gary McVey said the man is not welcome in Poulsbo if he wears that shirt. “I had to laugh when you seemed to remind us that many people in our community are Christian,” he said. “Sir, most of us up here are Christian, and we have no problem being Christian and supporting human rights, decency and fairness in our society.”