The moral panic over sexual orientation has made its way to idyllic Solvang, a California hamlet known for its preservation of Scandinavian culture. Now the mayor of an actual Danish town — Copenhagen — has a message for city leaders: knock it off.
Solvang’s City Council rejected a proposal to hang LGBTQ Pride banners downtown in February. The 3-2 vote elicited criticism from the city’s gay community, which has felt increasingly threatened as a result of homophobic incidents in the region.
In response, text messages reveal City Councilmember Robert Clarke pledged to donate $10 to anti-LGBTQ group Gays Against Groomers every time some “butt hurt person” complained to the Council. Clarke bashed pro-LGBTQ “clowns” and “assholes” for spreading “woke poison” across his community. He referred to them as members of the “alphabet mafia” and “Chardonnay Antifa.”
Word got around to the real people of Denmark, and they weren’t pleased.
In an open letter to Solvang Mayor Mark Infanti, Copenhagen’s mayor Sophie Hæstorp Andersen reminded people that Denmark is “one of the most progressive countries in the world.” Solvang leaders’ rejection of the Pride banners belies the “genuine warmth and acceptance” of LGBTQ individuals across Denmark, she added.
Andersen felt the need to speak out because she feared her country was being used as a scapegoat for homophobia.
“I was informed that the local opposition to put up Pride flags around town was justified with regard to Danish values and traditions. That’s why I think it was incredibly important to kindly make aware that these are not values we can answer for in Copenhagen,” Andersen told the Los Angeles Times.
Less than two weeks after the letter from Andersen, the Pride banners came back up for a vote. This time, there was a switch. Infanti, who had previously opposed the flags, now voted in favor. The proposal passed 3-2, prompting audible gasps and cheers in the chamber.
Mayor Infanti said he initially voted no because the proposal also called for rainbow-painted crosswalks, which could scare the town’s horses. The second proposal called for banners only, which was enough to get Infanti on board.
Whatever the reason, Solvang’s LGBTQ community is thanking its Danish kin and the Copenhagen mayor who decided to intervene.