Deputy Mayor apologises for grouping gays with freaks’
Hamilton Deputy Mayor Donal Smith has apologised for comments he made during a television interview in which he grouped homosexuals with “freaks” and said supporters of same sex marriage were damned.
Mr Smith’s comments, made on the ‘Issues’ current affairs programme last Thursday, sparked outrage among gay rights supporters, while Home Affairs Minister Michael Fahy suggested he should resign from his position at the Corporation of Hamilton.
Mr Smith was also accused of harming Bermuda’s reputation abroad after he blamed international business for damaging the social fabric of the Island.
Mr Smith finally broke his five-day silence on the controversy yesterday. Speaking from Colombia, where he is attending an international conference of mayors, Mr Smith told ZBM News: “I am overseas on Corporation of Hamilton business and I haven’t been able to hear from those persons that were hurt by my comment as I would have heard from if I was at home, okay?
“However, I have heard directly from my family members and friends who have impressed upon me the level of anguish and pain that my comments caused. To all those persons who were affected in this way, I would like to offer my apologies, yeah? In addition, when I return I will speak to my constituents and hear their views of my comments.”
Mr Smith, who is expected to return to Bermuda by the end of the week, ducked questions about his resignation, saying that he would address that issue “at another time”.
“I’m on an international panel right now, I’ve got leaders from all over the world,” he said.
“The business that we are attending here is most important to the city. However, the need to express my regret is equally important. Let me come back to you maybe in a couple of days after I’ve settled and done the business of the city and then I will be able to come back and respond to all those comments that were attributed to myself which has caused some folks to be upset.”
Hamilton Mayor Graeme Outerbridge, who is not attending the conference, earlier distanced the Corporation from Mr Smith’s remarks, saying that they were “his own opinions and thoughts” which did not reflect the views of the municipality.
But in a letter to Mr Outerbridge last week, Mr Fahy suggested the Mayor “should consider inviting him [Donal Smith] to resign from office”.
Mr Fahy met with Mr Outerbridge to discuss the controversy yesterday.