Metro Weekly

Orlando city commissioner to GOP: “You loaded those bullets with hatred”

Patty Sheehan criticizes GOP politicians for attempting to "straightwash" Pulse nightclub shooting

Patty Sheehan, Credit: City of Orlando
Patty Sheehan, Credit: City of Orlando

Orlando’s out lesbian City Commissioner Patty Sheehan is criticizing Florida GOP politicians, including Sen. Marco Rubio and Gov. Rick Scott, for their attempts to “straightwash” the Orlando Pulse nightclub massacre, as well as for their continued opposition to any expansion of LGBT rights.

In an interview with Michelangelo Signorile on SiriusXM Progress, Sheehan didn’t mince words about her outrage at GOP politicians who couldn’t even say the words “LGBT” or “gay” when referring to the tragedy. She accused those politicians of attempting to plaster over the fact that it was queer Latinos and Latinas who were targeted during the massacre at Pulse, reports Signorile, writing in a post on The Huffington Post’s “Queer Voices” section. Many of those same politicians, including Scott, have also vehemently opposed LGBT rights or pushed for legislation targeting the community for discrimination under the guise of religion.

“My governor couldn’t say the word ‘gay’ — until he was called out on it,” said Sheehan, adding that other GOP politicians acted similarly. “And I’ve called a lot of them out on it. I said, ‘How dare you come here to my city — our city — and stand in front of the microphone and take up space. … You loaded those bullets with hatred, as far as I’m concerned.'”

Sheehan also blasted Rubio for his anti-LGBT voting record and his opposition to any reform of the nation’s gun laws, even as he expressed sympathy for the victims. Rubio has already been called out by major LGBT organizations, including the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), for attempting to use the Pulse nightclub shooting as a platform from which to revive his political career after his failed presidential run.

“Marco Rubio, the senator from Florida, walked on our blood-stained streets with people from the Hispanic community,” she said, expressing her distaste for the state’s junior senator. “And he went right back to Washington — one of the few times he actually showed up for work — and voted against sensible gun legislation.

“If this doesn’t change your heart? There were people from [Rubio’s] office — it was [a staffer’s hair stylist who got shot and killed,” Sheehan continued. “This was a personal connection people from his office had with these young people. And he still couldn’t find it in his heart to do the right thing.”

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