Following the announcement by Andy Lavarre that he would be running for Newport City Council, there has been an abundance of feedback in the community and online regarding his comments he made in his announcement towards the LGBT community.

Christopher Rondina, a Rogers High School graduate and Newport resident, provided the following response and open letter this weekend;

An open letter to Andy Lavarre, Newport Town Council candidate.


Mr. Lavarre,

In your official announcement of candidacy on Friday, June 24th, you had a lot to say, but one paragraph stood out:

“LGBT sexual perversion, fornication, predation, violence, globalism, socialism, and all the other leftist elite “isms” are not the norm and are not acceptable in any civilized society. I shall not tolerate them.”

“Shall not tolerate”?

How DARE you profane the heritage of our beautiful city with your Puritan morality and cherry-picked fanaticism. Newport was chartered three-hundred and seventy-seven years ago as a secular democracy, a shining example to the fledgling nation – founded by men and women who risked everything to escape the kind of narrow-minded moral absolutism you are so anxious to impose once more. It takes staggering hubris to invoke the Constitution while brazenly plotting to trample the protections it guarantees us all. The very suggestion that you “shall not tolerate” your fellow Newporters if they think or act differently from you is not the “rule of law”, it is an affront to it. Who are you to decide what is or isn’t “tolerated” by the citizens of this free city? Our forefathers believed every man, woman and child had a right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”, and wisely sought to protect us from people like you by establishing a separation of church and state. Perverts? Fornicators? Perhaps you’ve misread the calendar Mr. Lavarre, but it’s 2016, not 1620. Please tell us how the daily lives of gay or lesbian Americans violate the laws of this proud nation? I understand how the “culture of political correctness” can be a hardship for some. It can’t be easy to be expected to treat others with common decency, even when their skin color or culture differs from your own. I understand that you miss the good old days of being able to casually spread bigotry and xenophobia without consequence – but the world has grown, even if you have not. I take great comfort in knowing that your last campaign for this seat produced the lowest vote by a wide margin, but even if a groundswell of intolerance should turn the tide in your favor, I’m gladdened by the knowledge of something you seem to have missed – The City Council of Newport is not in the business of mandating public morality for our free citizens.

Christopher Rondina

To give you an idea of what others are saying, check out the comments on our Facebook Page.

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Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

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