UPDATE: This story has been updated with reaction from Mark Taylor, Mayor Robert Garcia’s chief of staff.
LONG BEACH —In response to criticism that he had a “blatant disregard for LGBTQ people” by publicizing the new Chick-fil-A in Long Beach, City Councilman Daryl Supernaw said a double standard exists because the mayor also supports the business, but hasn’t been called out.
Earlier in the week, Porter Gilberg, executive director of the Long Beach LGBTQ Center, sent Supernaw a public letter criticizing him for promoting the greasy spoon’s recent grand opening at the Traffic Circle in his weekly community newsletter and on Facebook.
SUPERNAW DEFENDS ACTIONS
Supernaw, whose 4th District includes the Traffic Circle, defended his actions.
“I felt I was on solid ground considering Mayor Garcia’s relationship with the company,” Supernaw said in a statement. “Of all the local restaurants available, he has chosen Chick-fil-A as the sponsoring caterer of his annual golf tournament for the past three years.” Long Beach Mayor’s Trophy Charity Golf Tournament, which has taken place 11 years, funds amateur and youth athletics and provides scholarships for high school athletes.
“Severe criticism of my actions, while giving the Mayor a pass, would be considered by many to be a blatant double standard,” Supernaw said.
In an email Saturday morning, Mark Taylor, Garcia’s chief of staff, said, “The Mayor and our staff are not involved in the planning or organizing of event. It is organized by the Century Club…The Mayor personally chooses not to eat at Chick-Fil-A.”
Gilberg said he only recently learned of Chick-fil-A’s support of the golf tournament. If the Center had known sooner, the organization would have reached out to Garcia, Gilberg said.
“The Councilman’s deflection appears to attempt to obscure his own complicity in support for one of the most widely recognized homophobic corporations in the country,” Gilberg said.
Supernaw ended his statement saying, “More importantly, our office has, and will continue to be, in complete support of our LGBTQ residents, businesses and organizations.”
Supernaw didn’t offer any examples of this “complete support,” and, when contacted by Q Voice News, refused to answer any questions.
Gilberg added: “Attending the grand opening of a blatantly homophobic company flies contrary to the statement that one is supportive of the LGBTQ community.”