RICHMOND (KCBS) — Anti-gay language spouted at Richmond City Council meetings has prompted action from the city’s Human Relations Commission, but is also raising issues about free speech.

The meetings have deteriorated into hate speech against gays and the city’s first openly-gay council member, Jovanka Beckles, said it’s only getting worse and that something has to change.

YouTube video shows some Richmond residents and members of the clergy making derogatory homophobic remarks to the city council. According to Beckles, it’s been going on for months.

“The City Council meetings are getting increasingly more violent in tone and feel with regard to homophobic comments that are being made and directed at me,” said Beckles.

Some residents at a recent city council meeting expressed disappointment at the tone and nastiness of the comments.

One resident said Richmond needs to be at the head of showing respect and was self-critical of his own town, saying that’s one area where they fail miserably.

“Richmond needs to be at the head of showing respect. That’s one area where we fail miserably,

Richmond’s Human Rights and Human Relations Commission is now trying to come up with a policy that would allow people to speak at city council meetings without promoting hate or potential violence.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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