Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson announced Friday the LGBTQ+ liaison positions had been discontinued after months of debate and concerns throughout the community.
"Instead of an action of unity, it created a rift within the city as it unintentionally communicated privileged access to the mayor's office when, in fact, no such special privilege exists with any group or organization," Stimpson said in a statement. "It is for this reason that I have decided to discontinue the liaison positions."
Natalie Fox and Michael Tyner have been working as liaisons since Stimpson appointed them in 2022 after being approached by LGBTQ community members. The two were not paid for the job, but they held events and group discussions throughout Mobile to "help navigate issues facing their community," according to Stimpson.
Some groups in Mobile voiced concerns over the LGBTQ positions, including pushback to a drag queen show in front of the historic Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. The Faith Family Freedom Coalition of Metro Mobile opposed annexation in July, saying issues such as diversity, equity and inclusion policies must be addressed before the city grows geographically.
"LGBTQ radicals encroaching into the public and private spheres of the community and we as concerned citizens who love our constitutional freedom need to battle each one of those and push back, non-violently of course, on each encroachment," the director of the group, Dr. Martin Scott Catino, told 1819 News.
Mobile won annexation in three out of four areas west of the city, making it the second-largest city in the state.
Fox told 1819 News in June that her hope is for community members to accept each other.
"I think it's important in any type of community to listen to others and learn," she said. "We have to listen to each other and I think that we can have disagreements and that's going to happen, but we have to listen and learn."
Stimpson said his door is open to all citizens of Mobile, and he will continue his vision to unite citizens, promoting One Mobile.
"My administration hasn't just promoted this vision; we've lived it by embracing ALL our citizens, no matter their backgrounds," he added.
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