vote for the best businesses in hollister and san benito county

Supervisors reject Pride Month proclamation in San Benito

Board considered declaration at June 8 meeting

San Benito County’s Board of Supervisors declined to join their neighboring Central Coast communities in declaring June as LGBTQ+ Pride Month.

The board briefly considered passing a proclamation at the June 8 meeting that would formally declare June as Pride Month in unincorporated areas. The city councils of Hollister and San Juan Bautista recently made such declarations, and agreed to wave the rainbow flag in support of the LGBTQ+ community throughout June.

However, the board of supervisors was unable to reach a consensus, voting 2-1, with one abstention, in favor of the Pride Month proclamation. There are currently only four supervisors on the board, as of Mark Medina’s June 7 resignation, and the proclamation failed without the support of a majority of the board.

Voting against the Pride Month proclamation for San Benito County was Supervisor Peter Hernandez. Supervisor Bea Gonzales abstained because it was too difficult a decision, she said.

Supervisor Kollin Kosmicki requested at a previous meeting that the board consider the Pride Month proclamation. He noted at the June 8 meeting that the local LGBTQ+ community includes county employees and neighbors throughout San Benito County.

“It’s important to recognize that they are an important part of our community and we stand behind their rights,” Kosmicki said. “As communities throughout the nation celebrate Pride Month…we must make a statement that we stand behind the broader message of love over hate. The message that we as a county do not condone discrimination or hate.”

Supervisor Bob Tiffany also supported the Pride Month proclamation, and he took issue with detractors who claim such actions are “divisive.”

“I just don’t see how (it’s divisive) unless you have a problem with the LGBTQ+ community,” Tiffany said. “The fact that some see it as divisive shows me there is still a problem here.”

Gonzales abstained from the vote on a motion by Kosmicki to approve the June proclamation, stating she is “torn” on the question.

“I am so torn I can’t say yes and I can’t say no,” Gonzales said. “My body, my mind, my soul cannot find the balance. You might want to call me chicken (expletive), coward, homophobe, but I am not. I have family members who are gay, lesbian, bisexual. I don’t see them as my ‘gay cousin’…I don’t see any difference.”

Celebrated annually in June, Pride Month acknowledges the 1969 Stonewall Riots in Manhattan, a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States.

In recent years, more and more cities and counties in the region have been flying the Pride flag and declaring June as Pride Month in their communities. These include the cities of Hollister, San Juan Bautista, Watsonville, Salinas, Gilroy and Morgan Hill.

Hollister City Councilmember Rolan Resendiz, who is openly LGBTQ+, said he was disappointed in the supervisors’ June 8 decision, or lack thereof. He especially took issue with Gonzales’ abstention.

“You’re put in this position to make these choices. For (Gonzales) to rationalize not taking a position because she was so ‘torn,’ it’s not what we’re there to do,” Resendiz said. “And you have the chance to be on the wrong or right side of history. This is something that needs to be done, especially if you are a straight person who doesn’t have to fight against these prejudices that my community has been facing.”