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There are some men who, perhaps, will want to come out of the closet in throngs now because they see aspiration, hope and security in Pugh’s candidacy.

For those who might be reading this commentary and are mad at me for the audacity to pen such an issue, I want to remind you that your freedom is no freedom if another person’s freedom is threatened by your prejudice and intolerance.

Detroit has to realize that explosive issues such as gay rights cannot be swept under the rug any longer.

The reason the AIDS pandemic is eating so much of our community — with Black women claiming the highest rate — is we have treated HIV/AIDS as a taboo while conservative theologians and churches have turned the other way.

But on Sunday, our pews are filled with members who might be suffering silently because of these ills, but no help comes from the pulpit because we have decreed that such issues must not be addressed openly in the church.

Pugh’s presence in the race elevates the conversation of gay rights and increases its credibility, whether he wants to deal with it now or later.

If political advisers suggest that he skips the issue until his election, it would even be more troubll if he becomes council president. Then he would be forced to address the issue through ordinance or some form of city policy.

Why wait until later?

Watch Bankole Thompson’s weekly show, “Center Stage,” on WADL-TV 38 Saturdays at 1 p.m. This Saturday, Oct. 31, “Center Stage” will feature a special election panel and also examine the counsel-by- district proposal.

He is the host of “Climate Change: Is Detroit Open For Business?” — a weekly roundtable discussion about business in Detroit on WDET-101.9 FM, Detroit Public Radio, Wednesdays at noon.

On Sunday, Nov. 1, he will join “Spotlight” on WXYZ-Channel 7, at 9:30 a.m. for an election roundtable. At 10 a.m. he will join “Flashpoint” on WDIV-Channel 4 to analyze Tuesday’s elections.

E-mail him at bthompson@michronicle.com.

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