It wasn't difficult to determine what was bothering opponents of the gay-rights amendment passed by Orlando city commissioners Monday night, giving gays and lesbians protection from job and housing discrimination.
Conservatives were afraid of the same thing that kept America in a bloody war in Vietnam and still keeps the country from enacting meaningful gun-control legislation: the slippery slope.
In passing the amendment, Orlando took the first step down that slope and the first step toward legitimizing the "homosexual lifestyle," conservatives said. The disastrous result would be more straight people turning gay, they predicted.
Alan Chambers, a College Park man who portrayed himself as a reformed homosexual, told commissioners, "We know from history that when laws are enacted to protect civil rights, groups that are protected become more accepted, included, integrated, understood and validated. That has been one of the culturally-altering benefits of these measures."
"So what?" others wondered.
"Opponents say the next step will be same-sex marriage and homosexual adoption," said James Newport at the Nov. 18 hearing. "I hope so. I hope we respect individual's rights to live the lives they want to lead, to lead good lives."
Michael Slaymaker, who has worked on the amendment for two and a half years, said activists are not ready to take the issue to county government and beyond. "We're a small committee of eight people," he said. "We're tired."