"I'm glad that you are proud and secure," Lopez replied.
"It just came out," he said. "There was no gay 'agenda.' On stage, you just get excited, and you want to thank your parents, your kids, your husband, your wife, whatever. . . . I thought we lived in an open-minded, loving community here."
Initially reluctant to comment for this article, he said he just wants to move on.
There are too many positive developments in Atwater Village, he said, to stay mired in this.
"I have tried to take the high road," he said. "That is all I can do."
The tree-lighting ceremony was, by all accounts, a success. The Explorers presented the flag and led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance.
"The tree is beautiful this year," Bartlotta said. "I'll be the first to admit it."
Last month, the chamber voted to eject Solis. She remains unrepentant, and says she was only standing up for the flag. She is now running for Glendale City Council.
Gardner, the former chamber president, distributed a synopsis of the dispute around town charging that "spectacular accusations" were actually a "cover up" for the funding dispute over Christmas lights. To label this gay-bashing, he wrote, "is to seriously devalue the problems of people really experiencing discrimination."
Solis said she and Gardner are pushing to have Lopez, who distributed the tape, thrown off the council for making "unsupported allegations" and "agitating tensions."
"No matter who you are, you're able to present your ideas," Solis said. "I guess that's what this country is all about."
Gold is a Times staff writer.