Those who braved the rain-soaked streets of South Florida over the weekend and ventured along the manicured suburbs of Alton Road no doubt saw it: At 30-feet long by four-feet high, it was hard to miss the banner slapped across the front of 4760 Alton: “God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.”
The banner is the work of self-procalimed Miami Beach mayoral hopeful Bill Smatt.
Smatt did not return two messages New Times left at his home seeking comment, but he told WSVN on Sunday he was simply expressing his religious views: “Morality in the Bible, what God has meant to be, that is what is going to be.”
For those who may be unfamiliar with Smatt, he’s the white Jamaican dude with long white hair and a fluffy white beard. He looks like a bible-bashing Santa Clause.
According to Carol Hoffman-Guzman of the Alton Road Homeowners Association, her organization has “has not taken any official position on the banner.”
Gay rights groups professed outrage, saying the giant sign was outlandishly homophobic. “It’s surprising in this day and age, a city as progressive as Miami Beach could still have this type of homophobia,” scoffed Kirk Arthur, spokesperson for SAVE Dade.
“This illustrates that no matter how far the city and its residents have evolved,” writes Frank J. Kruszewski, a Miami Beach City Commissioner candidate, in a chastizing email, “that hate and prejudice are unfortunately alive and still a political tool for some.”
Smatt has said he is simply exercising his right to free speech. That and the fact that “Miami Beach has become communist Russia.”
According to City of Miami Beach Public Information Officer Nannette Rodriguez, Code Compliance officers issued Smatt six violations beginning this past Thursday. “It’s because of the sign,” explains Rodriguez, “it’s got absolutely nothing to do with what’s written on it.”
Smatt, Rodriguez adds, appealed the citations. A hearing has been tentatively set for July 12.
In the meantime, Adam and Steve, stay put. --Joanne Green
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