DIXON (CBS13) — Backlash continues to mount over a newspaper column written by the vice mayor of Dixon, Ted Hickman.
The column celebrated straight pride and many say it spewed intolerance toward the LGBTQ community.
As the calls for Hickman’s resignation continue to grow, people are also taking aim at the local paper that published it, while its owner is defending the content, citing freedom of speech.
It’s been publishing news for more than 25 years, but Dixon’s Independent Voice is now making headlines of its own. On page 7 in an uncensored column authored by Hickman, this week’s subject called for a celebration of “Straight Pride American Month.”
It also referred to gay men as faries (sic). Many argue the article highlights hateful and homophobic rhetoric, but others say it’s simply free speech.
“They can write what they want,” said Independent Voice Publisher Dave Scholl.
Scholl says his and his columnist’s constitutional rights are under attack.
“Having a free press is absolutely required for a free society. I will not tolerate attempts to silence a newspaper.”
Since the news broke on Friday, Scholl says he’s lost some advertisers but has gained new ones as well. He also says he’s received several threatening phone calls.
“I could not repeat it because you could not put it on the air,” said Scholl.
“When you see somebody different from you, do you say mean things?” Dixon mother Lindsey Dourous explain to her 4-year-old daughter.
Dourous says free speech or not, an elected official should know better. She’s one of many now calling on Hickman’s resignation.
“I don’t feel like a public figure should ever, ever say the things that he did. You do have a right to free speech, but you also need to realize that with free speech comes consequences.”
In a statement, Dixon’s Mayor Thom Bogue said he was concerned by the column saying, “Vice Mayor Hickman should have realized as a public servant he represents all segments of people regardless if they are LGBTQ, straight or otherwise.”
CBS13 was able to contact Hickman, who declined to comment for now.
Equality California, a gay rights group, along with some residents of Dixon are still calling on his resignation and are planning to protest a city council meeting, July 10.