Mayor backs out of gay rights event

I received an email statement from Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa this morning that announced he would skip tonight's banquet in San Francisco for the Human Rights Campaign, a mainstream gay community group that raises and donates a lot of money for gay-friendly candidates. Villaraigosa was supposed to be the keynote speaker, but cited a boycott of the event by the San Francisco Labor Council. That seemed kind of curious. Now an AP story has moved reporting "intense lobbying from transgender activists angry over the group's stand on a federal gay rights bill." The labor council had planned to picket, and future candidate Villaraigosa tries to avoid crossing picket lines. Here's the mayor's statement:

The Human Rights Campaign is on the frontlines of the fight for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights and I fully support its important mission at this critical moment in history.

It has come to my attention that the San Francisco Labor Council has voted to formally boycott HRC's annual fundraising gala and regretfully, I cannot attend this years event.

As Mayor of the largest city in California, I am committed to creating a world in which no member or group in society is denied full and equal rights. It is my hope that this time next year will find us all united by victory in the fight against Proposition 8 and ever more determined to establish equal rights, with no exceptions, for every one of us.

Here's also a release making the rounds of gay media that claims Villaraigosa was successfully pressured.

Also: Villaraigosa is heading on a vacation with his children to an undisclosed location. DN

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