As expected, the Gay Games rowing regatta was approved 3-2 on a second vote of the Crystal Lake Park Board. The only change from Thursday’ 2-2 tie was the support of then-vacationing Board President Jerry Sullivan, back from his Mexican vacation.
When faced with the requirement in Robert’s Rules of Order that only someone who had voted on the prevailing side could make the motion to reconsider, Thursday negative voter David Phelps accommodated the majority. That vote was 4-1, with Sullivan and previous Gay Games supporters Candy Reedy and Michael Zellman joining Phelps. That left Scott Breeden the lone dissenter.
The waves from this issue, however, seem destined to radiate outward toward future elections.
Thirty-year McHenry County resident Andy Larson played the role of the elephant making its presence known:
If you vote for it, I’m going to do the best I can to vote you out of office.Prior to this closing statement, made next-to-last in the public comment period, Larsen cited the Creator as giving the “us the authority to do what we do.”
“Why did you let this happen?” he asked the board, referring the Bible verse (Luke 17:2) about those causing children to stumble being better off having a millstone hung around their neck and thrown in the sea. “You have a choice,” he said forcefully.
At the other end of the spectrum was James P. Madigan, attorney from Lamda Legal Defense & Education Fund, a gay and lesbian advocacy group. In the Board packets were his letter to park board members, which I shall post later. He asked the park board to follow the rules, which he said required equal access, the right of association and free speech.
The ACLU’s Division of Gay and Lesbian Project attorney also spoke, praising the park district’s willingness to re-vote, citing freedom of speech and association reasons.
Emily Koch, an African-American woman, closed the public comment period asking,
If we’re saying we don’t want gay people in the water, how soon will it be until I’m not welcome in the lake?By far the majority of Crystal Lake residents speaking to the board and the audience opposed allowing the Gay Games rowing contests to take place.
There are a couple thousand words more about what people said at the meeting on McHenry County Blog.
As people were leaving Park Place, which was virtually packed with many forced to stand, self-identified street preacher Rick Barnes was handing out “The God Test.” He had previously said that, if the proposal received approval,
I’ll be at the Gay Games not as a participant, but as a street preacher.