SAN DIEGO (CNS) - With a nod toward last month's mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub, the City Council Tuesday proclaimed July to be Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month in San Diego.
The proclamation was issued three days before the San Diego LGBT Pride festival gets underway.
"When you think of what has happened in our country over the last couple of months, I can't think of a better time for a celebration of diversity, and that is what San Diego Pride is," said Stephen Whitburn, executive director of San Diego LGBT Pride.
Nearly 50 revelers at an Orlando nightclub that caters to the area's gay and lesbian community were gunned down June 12 by a Florida man who expressed his allegiance to the Islamic State.
Councilman Todd Gloria, who represents Hillcrest -- the center of the city's LGBT community -- said the recent events "heighten the significance" of the proclamation.
"I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge what happened in Orlando and the current national discussion," said Gloria, who is gay.
"I think with many of us, when we learned of the tragedy, we were instantly filled with emotion," he said. "Certainly, what occurred there cannot be forgotten, but to live in fear, or to hide based on that fear, is not how this community will respond."
The councilman predicted "quite the celebration" this weekend.
The festival begins Friday with a block party in Hillcrest and the annual Spirit of Stonewall Rally at Balboa Park, where the keynote speaker will be Army Secretary Eric Fanning, the first openly gay man to hold the position. The pride parade is Saturday.
In other council action today, final approval was given to a once- controversial residential, commercial and office development on a 23.6-acre lot in Carmel Valley. The One Paseo project will incorporate 608 housing units, 280,000 square feet of office space and 96,000 square feet of retail.
A much larger version was approved last year, but opponents gathered enough signatures to force the council to withdraw its support. The scaled-down project was given the council's go-ahead at a public hearing last month, with final approval issued today without comment as part of the consent agenda.
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