CHEVIOT, Ohio – More than 80 people came out for a Cheviot City Council committee meeting convened to discuss city support for Pride Month.
Nearly everyone at the sometimes rowdy meeting supported the idea of designating June as Pride Month in Cheviot, a way for the city to support LGBTQ+ people.
But the proposal had drawn controversy after Cheviot councilman Brian P. Smyth posted a "call to action" on Nextdoor, saying "... if this goes forward there will be half naked debauchery led parades in the streets as well as replacing the American flag with the rainbow flag."
The Cheviot City Council Internal/External Affairs Committee Tuesday night passed a resolution 3-1 to support LGBTQ+ month. It goes for a full Council vote June 7.
And when Smyth, the councilman who has spoken out on social media against the resolution, tried to speak, the audience heckled him.
Committee chairwoman Stefanie Hawk, who brought the motion forward, had to call for order several times.
One man had to be escorted out by security when he refused to stop questioning people who spoke out for the resolution.
The audience sang the 1969 song, "Na, Na, Hey, Hey, Kiss Him Goodbye" as he left.
'Making us look backward': Cheviot councilman Brian Smyth faces backlash for transgender slur
"This has made the city look backward on this issue," Hawk said. "That's what made it, for me, even more important that council come together and say everyone is welcome."
The audience clapped and whistled for her comments.
"You're a clown," somebody in the audience called out to Smyth.
"Sometimes you still have to stand up and fight," Hawk said. "I hope you'll join me. And you'll want Cheviot to be known as a welcoming place."
Councilwoman Kathleen Zech said she was for it, but that the debate caught her off guard. Councilman John Hardig urged council members to be civil to each other,
"I would encourage everyone here to remember all people on council have a lot in common with you for the pursuit of personal freedoms," Hardig said. That comment was greeted with a chorus of "nos" and "nopes." from the audience.
Smyth then weighed in: "The way this played out was totally political."
Somebody in the crowd shouted: "People's lives aren't political."
"I am 100% for personal freedoms," Smyth said. "I ran on God, family and safety first. I knocked on every door in Ward 3. If you want to make this a shouting match, then I can leave."
The crowd shouted to Smyth to leave. He didn't.
Smyth said he wished the mayor would have just issued a proclamation.
Later, during public comment, Smyth said, "A celebration for the way people have sex I think is inappropriate."
Former Councilwoman Gail Griffin, spoke via Zoom, from Colorado. Hawk replaced her on Council.
"I am a proud LGBTQ member," she said. "I am a lesbian who lived in the city of Cheviot. We felt welcome. My friends felt welcome. I felt safe. We did not engage in debauchery. I was proud to be on Cheviot City Council. I did not run as a lesbian. I ran as a person with common sense. My heart is breaking at what I am seeing posted."