Pasadena has suspended Dr. Eric Walsh, the director of its Public Health Department, while the city investigates derogatory statements he has made about gay people and assesses the impact of those and other statements on his ability to run the health department.
Pasadena City Manager Michael Beck announced the paid suspension this afternoon after a flurry of publicity about Walsh’s comments. In a sermon, Walsh, a Seventh Day Adventist, criticized schools for promoting tolerance of LGBT students, saying “that is doctrine from the pits of hell.” He also said supporters of the American Psychiatric Association’s 1973 decision to remove homosexuality from its list of mental disorders were “raised up by the (devil).”
Walsh has also said those who believe in evolution are doing “the devil’s handiwork.”
The San Gabriel Valley Tribune has called for Walsh’s resignation as public health chief.
Beck said Dr. Vivian Yeh will serve as Pasadena’s acting health officer. “The Pasadena Public Health Department remains a strong and vital part of the city of Pasadena organization and remains dedicated to protecting the health and wellness of our entire community,” Beck said in a statement announcing Walsh’s suspension. “The city organization is made up of many different people from all backgrounds, races, faiths, family makeup, gender orientation and political beliefs. The city holds diversity and inclusiveness as an important value in the workplace and in our community.”