SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — A Bay Area City Council candidate crashed a press conference hosted by LGBTQ rights groups and was chased off the podium as he defended his beliefs.
Members of the LGBTQ community are calling out the San Jose city council candidate for what they call hate-filled beliefs.
Steve Brown, a Republican candidate in District 2, was blasted by gay rights groups that say he supports discrimination.
Things took a bizarre turn when Brown crashed the press conference and was forced off the podium, but continued to talk over the speakers from the crowd.
“My candidacy is based on two major things,” Brown said before tensions rose and San Jose police were called in to the press conference.
San Jose City Council member Ash Kalra gave it to Brown straight, “Steve! Stop being a bully. Okay, this is not your press conference. Learn how to be an adult. If you want to have a response, set up your own response press conference and respond there like a grown up. Please!”
Organizers pointed to a candidate questionnaire from the Values Advocacy Council in which Brown agreed with the statement: “I support legislation that would prohibit discrimination against individuals, organizations, and small businesses because of their belief that marriage is only a union of one man and one woman.”
Brown explained his position, using an analogy about churches.
“Look at that broad scope of the question. And I can tell you one big concern I have. Are we going to legislate our 501(c) 3’s and not for profit churches? And if a church preaches and says their beliefs, are we going to walk in and say they are no longer exempt from taxes? I say no.”
State Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Silicon Valley), who is openly gay, isn’t buying it.
“It’s completely bogus, his explanation.” Low said. “It’s clear that on his questionnaire he supports discrimination based on sexual orientation. We need to uphold the constitution, and this is what we want in San Jose.”
Brown is a devout Christian, whom we first met four years ago when he showed us how he foiled a bank robbery getaway by detaining the robbers.
We asked him to clarify his personal position on gay marriage.
When asked, what is your personal position on gay marriage, and do you think it’s relevant running for office? Brown responded, “I don’t think it’s relevant running for office, but I can tell you that as a candidate here, by far, my position is to support legislation. It’s the law of the land.”
Longtime gay rights advocate Wiggsy Sivertsen did not mince her words.
“I think you are clearly the picture of bigotry and stupidity around people’s rights,” Sivertsen said.
Sivertsen, who is on the Bay Area Municipal Elections Committee, said, “This fool has a right to say what he wants to say, he just doesn’t have a right to represent government.”
Organizers are now calling on all of Brown’s supporters to retract their endorsements.