La Porte councilman criticized for comments made during meeting
LA PORTE, Ind. --- A La Porte councilman is facing push back after comments he made at city hall on Monday seemed to target the LGBTQ community and the Black Lives Matter movement.
“You talk… LGB … you talking gay people,” questioned Councilman Roger Galloway on Monday. “Stuff like that? Do you know that is against the bible? Anybody ever read the bible?” “Let's wake up and take care of everybody in our community. Our whole country. I don't understand Black lives matter I probably never will but it's for all of us, Okay? That's my comment.”
The questionable comments from Galloway sparked outrage in the community, with many calling his remarks “unacceptable.”
“We love La Porte,” ‘Out in La Porte’ member, Esther Stiles, said. “We want it to be a safe and inclusive city for everybody.”
Mayor Tom Dermody expressed his disappointment in the comments made.
“People can do what they need to do outside of here, but in here we represent the city of La Porte and we’re excited to do that, and we are welcoming for everybody here in La Porte,” Mayor Dermody said.
Welcoming is the goal for the group of women representing the LGBTQ community through their group, “Out in La Porte.”
The members were presenting a plan of community services they would like to see extended towards the LGBTQ youth at Monday night’s meeting when Galloway made the anti-gay comments.
“It’s ultimately going to create a safer, healthier place for all of our kids, as well as our families,” ‘Out in La Porte’ member, Alex Masepohl, said.
The presentation met with Galloway’s comments, suggested that being gay is against the bible.
“That’s not who we are and that’s not what La Porte is,” Mayor Dermody said.
“That comment couldn’t have come at a more perfect time,” ‘Out in La Porte’ member, Elissa Affeld said. “It just further solidified that our city needs a better diversity training.”
Councilwoman Laura Cutler stated the comments in no way reflect that of the council, issuing the following statement:
“I am deeply concerned about the comments made by Councilman Galloway. His comments, in no way, reflect the views of myself or of our City Council.
As leaders of this community, it is our role to listen to citizens and be accepting and understanding of the diversity in our community no matter what our individual beliefs may be. We have been elected to represent our city, not our own beliefs or biases.
Councilman Galloway’s offensive, intolerant behavior is unacceptable and insulting. His behavior is the antithesis of all we are trying to accomplish as an inclusive community.”
Councilman Galloway issued the following apology:
“I apologize for my comments at the City Council meeting last night. La Porte is a welcoming community and my remarks did not reflect that. My personal opinions and beliefs should never get in the way of my ability to represent our community as a whole. The LGBTQ representatives from the meeting have agreed to meet with me in the coming days. I am grateful for their willingness to have a conversation so I can learn more and develop a better understanding.”
Masepohl said that the group has absolutely no ill feelings towards Galloway and that they feel confident with how Tuesday’s meeting turned out.
“It’s just as valid as how we feel,” Masepohl said. “No we respect his opinion, definitely. We’ve really come together as a community to show that La Porte can be one of those very inclusive places that we all strive for.”
Mayor Demordy agreed with that statement and noting that the city has some work to do.
“I look forward to educating, not only the council people, our city hall, but our community on what is out there and educate everyone,” Mayor Dermody said.