Mayor Rob Green. (Cedar Falls city photo)

Some activists are calling for Cedar Falls Mayor Rob Green to resign after he initially refused to sign a proclamation declaring June as LGBTQ Pride Month in the northeast Iowa college town.

Green says such a proclamation goes against his beliefs. “There’s 40,000 people in this town,” Green says. “There are at least hundreds of people who don’t understand — and I’m one of those.” The mayor has never written in support or opposition to a city proclamation, but in a memo, he said he opposes same-sex marriage and therefore wouldn’t support the proclamation.

Cedar Falls School Board member Nate Gruber  was in the chamber during the discussion and says hearing the mayor’s opposition was “a slap in the face.” “I just really saw his refusal to sign or participate in the proclamation as really sending a message of exclusionment and intolerance,” Gruber says, “and not really the kind of leadership the Cedar Falls community needed.”

After 90 minutes of public comments and multiple emails, Green reversed course on his decision to sign the proclamation. He says his beliefs haven’t changed, but he did regret the memo. “I’d say to Cedar Falls residents, we don’t have to agree to support. We don’t have to agree to care. We don’t have to agree in order to love each other and to try and understand each other. So with that, I will sign the proclamation.”

Green said as a straight male, he learned he doesn’t see the same hostility or repression the LGBTQ community experiences. The mayor says he will not seek reelection.

(By Zachary Oren Smith, Iowa Public Radio)

Radio Iowa