December 2, 2021

County declares June Pride Month

Metro Creative

A proclamation declaring June Pride Month in Cortland County was accepted Thursday night, but it didn’t come without disagreement, mostly over communication.

Cortland County Legislature Chairman Paul Heider (R-Cuyler, Solon) said a proclamation declaring June as Pride month in Cortland County would be taken up in July, because the proclamation had been emailed to him at 4 a.m. Thursday.

But Legislator Beau Harbin (DCortland), seconded by Legislator Ann Homer (D-Cortland) moved to suspend the rules to allow the proclamation. The vote needed a two-thirds majority and got it – 13-4 – with legislators Mitchel Eccleston (R-Cincinnatus, Freetown, Taylor, Willet), George Wagner (R-Marathon), Eugene Waldbauer (R-Cortlandville) and Heider voting no.

But before the vote, Heider wanted to discuss the topic — something Homer said violated the rules of order.

“OK, it’s not debatable, but the chairman will speak.”

Homer again pointed out that speaking was out of order.

“The chairman is allowed to speak,” Heider repeated.

“Point of order, the chairman is not allowed to violate our rules or the parliamentary authority of this organization,” Homer said.

“Unfortunately, communication at this legislative level is very much needing improvement,” Heider said. “I answered this request out by email to a legislator and I thought I answered it appropriately and got no response. I would hope that communication could have been in the form of a phone call if there was a problem with my actions. There was no such communication.”

Still, some legislators voiced support for the proclamation.

“I will be proudly supporting this in honor of family members and close personal friends,” said Legislator Kelly Preston (R-Homer).

“Well, if June is Pride Month, it seems to me to make sense to make it in June and not wait until July, so it’s a pretty straightforward issue,” said Legislator Christopher Newell (R-Cortlandville).

“I have no problem supporting or putting this forward, no problem and I do support it fully,” Heider said. “The problem is the manner in which it came to me. At 4 a.m. in the morning the day of session a legislator sent a proclamation to me with my name on it with no communication to me on it on the day of session.”

The proclamation did not need to be voted on, Heider said, noting “proclamations in Cortland County are never voted on.”

Legislators — except Wagner — agreed to send the proclamation to the Cortland LGBTQ Center.

However, when Wagner tried to explain his disagreement, Heider told him the discussion had ended.

After the meeting, Wagner said he didn’t support the proclamation because of his religion.

“I’m biblical,” he said. “Lesbian, homosexuality — it’s banned by the Bible. It just has no place in these walls.”