Washington DC mayor  Adrian Fenty is in hot water. In November 2009 he honored Regina Griggs, executive director of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX) with an appreciation certificate. On April 28, 2010 Griggs’ certificate–attached in a press release–surfaced on PFOX’s web site,  causing a huge outcry in the LGBT and allied communities.

PFOX believes that homosexuality is a mental disorder and should be cured by so-called “reparative therapies” which are considered harmful by numerous professional organizations like the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Medical Association and the National Association of School Psychologists.

As mayor, Fenty signed in law Marriage Equality legislation, so his recognition of Griggs and thus by extension PFOX  was seen as a betrayal. On Thursday Fenty hastily fumbled out an “apology”:

A staff level error was made when the request for the certificate in question was fulfilled. We apologize for the error as it runs contrary to the Mayor’s vision of a more open and inclusive city.

The next day at a school event, Fenty added

It shouldn’t have happened. It happened and it won’t ever happen again. We apologize.

But Fenty isn’t rescinding the certificate. And activists on both side of the issue are now angry at his wishy-washy approach.

A Facebook group, “Un-Invite Mayor Fenty..” started by LGBT rights activist Lane Hudson explains that Fenty’s

refusal to take responsibility is a complete abdication of leadership. We as a community must stand up to anyone that gives credence to harmful organizations like PFOX

and called for the mayor to be un-invited from Pride events unless he

1) Formally retract[s] this Certificate of Appreciation
2) Personally take[s] responsibility for [his] office’s actions instead of blaming a “staff level error”
3) Issue[s] a statement condemning PFOX.

In an interview with local news channel 8, Hudson says

He doesn’t just need to apologize, he needs to rescind the honor that was given to this awful woman, and he needs to condemn what her organization does.

Rick Rosendall, vice president of political affairs for the Gay and Lesbian Activist Alliance told Metro Weekly

Given the Mayor’s record of support for gay families, it is painful to see him honor someone with the pernicious record of a Regina Griggs.

Not only did Mayor Fenty’s flawed attempt at an explanation/apology fall flat with the LGBT and allied communities, it also upset PFOX who saw it as a diss!  Regina Griggs told ABC 7’s Greta Kreuz that she was

angry about the apology

and one “ex-gay” complained

The mayor issued an apology for basically recognizing that ex-gays exist and that ex-gays have a place in the District. We’re just outraged by this.

Meanwhile, Mayor Fenty might rescind Griggs’ commendation, telling channel 8:

I haven’t talked to anyone about that, but I won’t rule that out.

Look, Mayor Fenty, half measures are availing you nothing. Your staff may have made an error, but your name is on it. If it’s truly an error that runs contrary to your vision, then rescind it. Would you rescind a certificate of appreciation, issued in error, to say, the executive director of Earth Liberation Front or the National Socialist Movement

In recognition of your dedication, commitment, and outstanding contributions


Lisa Derrick

Lisa Derrick

Los Angeles native, attended UC Berkeley and Loyola Marymount University before punk rock and logophilia overtook her life. Worked as nightclub columnist, pop culture journalist and was a Hollywood housewife before writing for and editing Sacred History Magazine. Then she discovered the thrill of politics. She also appears frequently on the Dave Fanning Show, one of Ireland's most popular radio broadcasts.