The city of Jacksonville is looking to expand its Human Rights Ordinance, allowing LGBT people the same employment and housing protections as everyone else, but some Evangelical Christians aren’t having it. It looks like they’ll do anything to derail conversations about the subject, even allowing a presenting a self-proclaimed gay child-molester to argue against LGBT rights: but is he real or just a decoy?
On Tuesday, the city council held a forum for the public to comment on the proposed legislation. Large crowds turned out by the busload, many from the congregation at the Evangel Temple Assembly of God lead by Evangel Temple Pastor Garry Wiggins, one of the loudest voices against the campaign.
It’s unclear whether anyone knew what 56-year old congregant Roy Bay had planned on saying when he stepped up to the microphone. Bay told the assembled crowd that he had been “sexually assaulted by the homosexual community” when he was 10 or 12, and that he “entered into a life of homosexuality” by sexually assaulting children in public restrooms. He claims he did this for about 20 years without getting caught, because he thought it was acceptable.
He told the crowd that he realized his mistake on June 5, 1985, a very specific date for an otherwise very vague story. According to reports, the audience applauded at the part about being freed by God from “this type of lifestyle.”
Liberal blog Florida Politics suspects Bay was planted by the church to derail an otherwise serious discussion. Bay’s admission shocked and silenced much of the council, but one fact is clear: Bay’s admission had absolutely nothing at all to do with the bill, which would include protections for trans people to select which restroom is most appropriate. Homosexual men have been sharing restrooms with boys ever since gendered restrooms began. That’s kind of what happens in same-sex restrooms: people of the same sex use them.
Bay has a lengthy criminal record, but nothing too serious: driving repeatedly with a suspended license and a failure to pay the Arthur Murray Dance Club for lessons. He’s also been in the news before, most recently when the Florida Times-Union reported on the unemployed, uninsured man receiving a free pair of dentures.
Local TV station WJXT reports that Bay left the meeting in a van with other Evangel Temple congregants. He lives in a house owned by the church, where he worked as a handyman for two years. Jacksonville police are now looking into his claims.