New Huntington Beach Councilman Joe Shaw: Gay, but not “The Gay Councilman.”


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By John Earl,
Surf City Voice

After being sworn in last Monday for his first term on the Huntington Beach City Council, Joe Shaw, who is openly gay, said he wasn’t surprised that he was elected.

“When I first came to Huntington Beach with my then partner eight years ago,” he reminisced in his acceptance speech , “we opened a business downtown and at once we were warmly embraced by the people of downtown, our customers and people from all over the city.”

Shaw says he and his partner were accepted “unconditionally and without judgment” and that “I looked at this beautiful city and its wonderful people and knew I had found a new home.”

Surf City does offer domestic partner benefits for city employees, but its citizens also re-elected Dana Rohrabacher, one of the most homophobic representatives in Congress, by overwhelming vote margins for the past several decades.

Rohrabacher opposes marriage, adoption and military enlistment rights for openly gay or lesbian adults and he favors amending to the Constitution to define marriage as an act to occur between men and women only.

Rohrabacher’s anti-gay views might not be openly shared by most of his Surf City constituents, but they still hold sway in Orange County Republican politics and, at least indirectly, in Surf City politics.

Shaw will concentrate on being the “best councilman I can be,” not the “gay city councilman,” he said. But he believes that his victory should provide hope to others.

“I must acknowledge it,” he said, “because it will make a difference in many peoples’ lives to know that this is possible in Huntington Beach and Orange County. It does get better.”

Lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgendered people want the same things in life that everyone else does, Shaw said, explaining the broader significance of his victory. “We want good schools, safe and well maintained streets, clean water and air, and abundant open space,” he said.

For his first-term priorities, Shaw hopes to tackle the city’s tough financial problems….

Read the rest of the story, including all Joe’s great plans for HB, at the Surf City Voice!


About Surf City Voice

John Earl is the editor of the Surf City Voice. Frequent contributor Debbie Cook, a former Huntington Beach Mayor, is board president of the Post Carbon Institute.