Remarks made by a Bay Area mayor few weeks ago are still very fresh in the minds of protesters, who rallied Tuesday night and called for his resignation.
Mayor Osby Davis sat down with the New York Times last month to discuss faith and leadership. The conversation took a twist the mayor says he never intended. Now a recording of the interview has been released and the comments are causing an uproar in the community.
"So when you look at someone who is gay, you see them as someone Christ died for and you look at them as if they are in fact committing sin, and that sin will keep them out of heaven." Davis told the Times. "But you don't hate the person, you hate the sin they commit."
Davis later said the comments were edited and taken out of context, and that he was not referring to gays.
"It was not in reference to gays." Davis told NBC Bay Area. "It was in reference to all sinners who do not accept Christ as their savior and that's my personal belief that's not acting as mayor of the city or anything else."
That's not enough of an explanation for upset protesters who rallied at City Hall Tuesday evening, waving rainbow flags and calling for Davis to step down.
"To have someone in position of power to say something so divisive," Vallejo resident Shawn McAndrew said, "was very disappointing at best."
Leaders of the gay community called on the mayor to participate in June's gay pride event and asked the city to appoint a gay, lesbian or transgender resident to the city's human relations commission. Davis says he wants to put this behind him and focus on the busienss of the city.
Regardless of whether he was referring to gay people or not, the question remains one of an issue of the separation between church and state. If a city leader has such strong opinions about what he may consider a "sin," how can his judgement be fair? Should his religious point-of-view be kept in the closet?