Berkley City Councilman Dennis Hennen has raised the ire of his fellow councilpersons and, apparently, a large portion of the city he represents. Hennen was the only councilperson to vote no on the Downtown Development Authority’s request to approve the inaugural Berkley Pride Block Party on June 26. Now, there is a movement calling for his resignation and, if he doesn’t give it, community members are already planning a recall campaign.
“It’s my deeply held religious conviction that homosexuality is wrong,” Hennen said just before casting his vote at the June 6 council meeting. “And to be clear, this is not some sort of homophobia. For example, I feel equally about all kinds of sin.”
Hennen went on to say that while he “supports [the] respect and equal treatment of the LGBTQ+ community there are many things that come before council that I personally find objectionable. And I can accept those when the source is private. But I must draw the line at a city-run event that requires my personal endorsement.”
Jess Dubya and Christine Gale have created a Facebook event page calling for Hannen’s resignation and asking people to come out to Berkley’s June 20 City Council to tell him to go. Facebook user Lisa Howard posted on the page that Hennen’s “all kinds of sin” remark was a “vile statement,” adding, “I would love to vote to recall Mr. Hennen. In this country, church and state are supposed to be separate.”
Christopher Petrat agreed. He posted: “Religious or otherwise, bias is bias. It has no place when the individual is obligated to serve the whole community.” Petrat said the traditional “hate the sin not the sinner” rhetoric “is the reason for separation of church and state.”
Petrat went on to say that Hennen was weaponizing religion and that leads to marginalization and then discrimination. “If you cannot serve your community as a whole, then you cannot serve us at all.”
The Berkley City Council meeting will take place Monday, June 20 at 7 p.m. at Berkley City Hall, located at 3338 Coolidge Hwy.