Being punished for thought crimes in Oakland, California

A Mormon in Oakland who is seeking re-appointment to a city-run board is being turned away because he supported Prop. 8.  There’s no indication that he is homophobic.  Like me, he favors civil unions for gays, which would extend to them the full panoply of legal rights available under the law.  (I also favor civil unions for all couples, thinking that we should, once and for all, leave marriage to the marketplace of religions, and let the states figure out what unions they wants to promote for society’s overall benefit.)  For supporting marriage, Lorenzo Hoopes is being banned from civic participation on a matter entirely unrelated to redefining marriage in California:

A $26,000 contribution to the initiative that banned same-sex marriage in California appears to have cost a 96-year-old former Mormon temple president his seat on the board that oversees Oakland’s historic Paramount Theatre.

Amid rising criticism from the gay community, Mayor Ron Dellums said Tuesday that he was putting on hold the reappointment of Lorenzo Hoopes, most likely signaling an end to Hoopes’ 30-plus years on the Paramount board.

“The community is asking us to reconsider, and that is what we are going to do,” mayoral spokesman Paul Rose said.

Hoopes, a past president of the Mormon temple in Oakland as well as a former Safeway executive, has been on the Paramount board since before the downtown theater was restored in the early 1970s.

Even if Dellums had gone forward with Hoopes’ renomination, there was little chance the City Council would have approved it, council President Jane Brunner said.

“A lot of us don’t think that he represents our thinking in Oakland,” Brunner said.

Maybe, but from what we hear, some council members were nervous about even having to vote on the matter and were happy to see the mayor take them off the hook.

Mormon church members contributed an estimated $20 million to the Proposition 8 campaign. Hoopes, who supports civil unions for gays but not marriage, said his support for the 2008 initiative – and the contribution he made – was a personal matter.

“I don’t know if it’s fair or unfair,” Hoopes said of his imminent bouncing from the Paramount board. “I happen to think that they are wrong, but that’s just my opinion.”

Hoopes, as you can see, is handling the situation gracefully.

(Welcome, Linkiest readers!  Take a minute to look around, and see if there’s anything else you like here.)

Be Sociable, Share!
  • excathedra

    Just imagine a reverse scenario, where someone got kicked off a community institution’s board for opposing Prop 8. You can hear the screams from here to Tijuana.
    I assume that Hoopes is white. What if a black pastor did something similar? In Oakland. (Black voters overwhelmingly supported Prop 8, crucially contributing to its passage.)  What’s the likelihood of his being booted?
    Inside every victim is a potential tyrant. Every group of victims is a potential mob.

  • Charles Martel

    “A lot of us don’t think that he represents our thinking in Oakland,” Brunner said.

    So that’s what they’re calling knee-jerk, reactionary ostracism these days: thinking.

    It’s also useful to note that Ron Dellums, a classic Marxist exploiter who has slurped at the public trough for decades without ever giving anything back in return, needs this diversion to keep people from thinking about just how bad–and absentee–a mayor he has been.

    The Paramount, by the way, is a glorious Art Deco theater from the 1920s, lovingly restored and maintained. It’s one of the few bright spots in a city that can be stunningly beautiful but prefers to pull an Amy Winehouse instead and commit self-mutilation and slow suicide.

  • pst314

    This is the way the left has always behaved. Long before Tailgunner Joe had his 15 minutes of fame, leftists were doing everything they could to exclude political opponents from any organization of which they had sufficient control. So much for liberals’ much-advertised love of free speech.

  • Doug

    Well, that’s too bad.  I had enjoyed the Paramount – almost the only place I ever went to in Oakland.

  • MaxAllstadt

    Your words: “There’s no indication that he is homophobic.”
    Really?  Spending $26,000 in order to prevent gays and lesbians from achieving equal marriage rights sure seems like a pretty good indication to me.
    Mr. Hoopes has a right to his views.  The people of Oakland have a right to be represented by someone who represents their views.  Mr. Hoopes’ views are wildly out of sync with the majority of Oaklanders’ views.  Therefore, we have a right to demand someone more tolerant in his place on the Board.
    Whether or not you believe Mr. Hoopes is a homophobe, consider his priorities.  He lives in a city with a massive youth violence problem, struggling schools, and rampant poverty.   I can think of quite a few more pressing causes for him give $26,000.  He also raised an additional $100,000 for prop 8.  He could have raised that money for something far more important than maintaining inequality for gays and lesbians.

  • Bookworm


    Mr. Hoopes might believe, as I do, that the best way to help Oakland’s problems is to focus on the traditional family unit.  Believing in Western style marriage, once that marches nicely with human’s “insert tab A into slot B” biology, is a far cry from being homophobic.  If you read my blog regularly, you’d know that there are significant constitutional problems that will inevitably follow from making gay marriage legal.  How much better to get the state out of the marriage business, into which it wandered thanks to our British Church of England legacy, and to focus on civil unions instead.

    Most people are more than willing to extend to gays all the legal rights of marriage.  But to them, marriage as much as anything is a religious construct — as Mr. Hoopes demonstrates — and the state should not be involved in making decisions that will irrevocably clash with religion (as has already happened in England).

  • MaxAllstadt

    Believing in western style heterosexual monogamous marriage isn’t homophobic.  Believing that no other forms of partnership should be recognized is homophobic.
    Please explain what “significant constitutional problems” “inevitably follow(ed” in Massachusetts, which has recognized Gay Marriage since 2004.  Since legalizing Gay Marriage, Massachusetts’ divorce rate is down, marriage rate is up.  Massachusetts hasn’t crumbled.
    There are absolutely no statistics anywhere indicating calamities befalling any state or nation after legalizing Gay Marriage.  Today, in federal court, Ted Olson shredded an attempt to argue that the Netherlands had negative consequences following the legalization of Gay Marriage.
    As far as civil unions go, I would support a ban on legally recognizing heterosexual marriage.  It would be appropriate and equitable for all unions, gay and straight, to be legally recognized as “civil unions”.  It’s a civil contract and “marriage” is a religious word that should stay in the church.  Civil unions for all would indeed be fair, and it would honor the separation of church and state.
    Lastly, can take your “tab B into slot B” argument and put it in a location that for decency’s sake I will simply refer to as “C”.


    Lastly, can take your “tab B into slot B” argument and put it in a location that for decency’s sake I will simply refer to as “C”.
    Obviously confused about the slots, that would be A into B. I think B into B suggest more than your “C” reference.

  • Bookworm

    Your arguments, Max, are drab and unexceptional, and I don’t mind having them here, although they drag down the tone of conversation.  Your crude insult to me, however, earns you being permanently banned from this blog.  Bye-bye.

  • Charles Martel

    Poor Max. He’s just like that scorpion that kills the frog who who’s doing him a favor. No matter how hard he or the scorpion try to behave, they simply can’t resist reverting to their terminal nastiness.

  • Mike Devx

    Poor Max, he was doing OK with the quite usual points in his leftist argument til he couldn’t resist the insult at the end: “You can take your slot B into tab B argument and shove it into your slot C”.   Awwwwwww.
    Most here recognize that I’m gay and I oppose the current push for homosexual marriage.  Does that make me homophobic.  Puh-leeze.   I oppose it because most of its adherents view such a win as just a step on a broader agenda, and they do not have any reverence for the institution of marriage.  In fact, most of them sneer at it.  And they want to win it via judicial activism against the will of the people, a strategy which I am adamantly opposed to.   Short-term thinking, and quite typical.  Not willing to do all of the hard work necessary.
    I do feel bad for those gays who want to join in to the tradition of marriage and revere it.  I’m sure they’re out there.  If THEY were what gay marriage was about, I’d support it.  But when gay marriage is about “winning a notch” on the civil rights belt, and is merely another step on the road toward a whole other set of defined rights, and nothing else,  the argument is so misguided.
    And when a man and woman have to sign onto a certificate as “Person A” and “Person B”… certificates of a form I’ve seen…   what, we can have certificates in a variety of languages, but you can’t have certificates that preserve the dignity of a man and a woman, and pull out an alternate certificate for two men or two women where such civil unions or marriages are allowed?   *I* wouldn’t want to sign a certificate where I’m Person A or Person B either!
    Dignity and the worth of tradition.  Honor it, or lose the argument.

  • Ymarsakar

    <B>Please explain what “significant constitutional problems” “inevitably follow(ed” in Massachusetts, which has recognized Gay Marriage since 2004.  Since legalizing Gay Marriage, Massachusetts’ divorce rate is down, marriage rate is up.  Massachusetts hasn’t crumbled.</b>
    That’s like saying the atomic bomb didn’t destroy human civilization so there’s no problem whatsoever to people’s lives. That’s not an excuse to go nuke happy and kill millions of women and children, Max. Even you should know that by now.


    Have to applaud Book’s quick response. Mad Max went off topic and certainly off color.
    This is her salon and she get’s to say (although she never would) don’t let the door hit you in the a@@ on your way out.
    Book, weren’t you just a few days ago asking the question, who is here and where are you politically. Who would have guessed it would have been such a loaded question.

  • excathedra

    Like Mike Devx, I’m also a man-loving man. And I do know same-sex couples who take their commitments to each other with great seriousness and do live spousal lives. But as moving as that is, I resist further deconstructing an already challenged and troubled but deeply fundamental institution like marriage for their sakes. We don’t make law for our friends, but for our whole society.
    And as for the apparent lack of catastrophic consequences in places where marriage has been redefined to make gender irrelevant, what do people expect? Overnight Armageddon? How long did it take between the first welfare check to a single black mother and the destruction of black family life in America? How long did it take for the income tax amendment to the constitution (which NO ONE back then thought would ever be more than 10%) to become a tyrannical tool of fiscal serfdom. Social consequences take time to show, especially the unintended ones.
    As for Max, his attitude is all too common. The arguments were unimpressive, but the insult did indeed merit expulsion. Yet another caring open-minded liberal activist.

  • Ymarsakar

    <B>Therefore, we have a right to demand someone more tolerant in his place on the Board.</b>
    In a democracy, eventually the advantaged few come to rule over the disadvantaged many. One single excuse the power mongers always favor: to demand of others what they themselves lack.

    <B>He lives in a city with a massive youth violence problem, struggling schools, and rampant poverty.</b>
    Being ruled by Democrat aristocrats does that to people. Voting them in and declaring yourself the defender of the innocent for doing so, is beyond hypocrisy.
    <B>I can think of quite a few more pressing causes for him give $26,000.</b>
    As a supporter of Oakland’s socialist mayor, of course you would be in the business of allocating where other people’s money needs to be. Is that not the definition of socialism: a tick on the public production.

  • Bookworm

    I don’t usually ask such smart questions, Sadie.  That must have been DQ.

    As for banning Max, y’all can see that I have zero tolerance for crude personal insults.  I let people waffle on forever with arguments, before finally pulling the plug, but I don’t like to be attacked directly in a way that’s irrelevant to the point at issue.  In that way, I differ greatly from Michelle Malkin, who recognizes those attacks for what they are:  proof that she’s left people who have poor arguments without anything else to say.

    On the subject of gay marriage, I do think that the people of a state ought to have a say in this whole thing.  The beauty of our system is that we have 50 little labs to try social and economic experiments.  The danger of an all-powerful federal government is that it tries its  experiments on all of us simultaneously, usually to our cost.

    As for gay marriage, the fact that, in state after state, when people get the vote, they vote against gay marriage, may tell us that the cause needs to wait longer, until either the cause or the voters have evolved differently.

  • Ymarsakar

    <B> Book, weren’t you just a few days ago asking the question, who is here and where are you politically.</b>
    That was Don. Book doesn’t need to hear any more bs from fake liberals. She can do that just by going outside her house.

  • Ymarsakar

    <B>until either the cause or the voters have evolved differently.</b>
    According to Alinsky, such compromises reduces social tension and division, reducing the power of a community organizer. This is viewed as unfavorable by the activists.

  • Bookworm


    You made an extremely important point.  There are always going to be people in a minority situation who do not benefit from the legal status quo.  Their hard luck stories — and the stories are real and the hard luck moving — cannot override societal needs.

    But you’ve really touched on something larger, which is what happens when you have a perpetually moving moral touchstone.  I’m reading Paul Johnson’s masterful History of the Jews right now, and found interesting his discussion about the Jewish belief in a single all-powerful God who articulates huge moral precepts (and a bunch of very specific rules), as opposed to the Pagan gods, who were completely random.  They were not fixed in name, location, principles, or anything.  Morality, such as it was, was always decided by the whim of the moment of the God of the moment.  There were rules, but there was no justice, at least as we understand it.

    The same holds true with Leftist positions, which emanate from feelings, not from fixed principles.  Whoever feels most strongly wins.  Sometimes those strong feelings march with morality, justice, common sense, and societal needs; and sometimes they don’t.  But they’re so seldom grounded in anything more than “I feel your pain.”

    By the way, I’m not arguing that beliefs grounded in traditional Judeo-Christian principles can’t and shouldn’t change.  The Jews themselves are a perfect example of moral and doctrinal development over the centuries.  I’m just arguing for fixed points other than “I feel your pain,” at least when we’re contemplating remaking society.

    Long-time readers know that I do feel the pain of a gay couple who can’t get married in the eyes of California law.  Nevertheless, life simply isn’t always fair.  If it was fair, I’d be 5’8″ tall, weigh 125 pounds, and look exactly like Grace Kelly.  😉

  • Bookworm

    Re my “feelings, nothing more than feelings” comment, at #19, above, William Kristol makes the same point when he notes Obama saying that he and Scott Brown are birds of a feather, because “mood” was responsible for both of their victories.  Obama can’t seem to comprehend that Americans are interested in substantive issues.

  • excathedra

    You’re correct, Book, that most Leftist “ethics” derive from feelings, and not only that, but from the feelings of specific groups which are designated as victims. The feelings of non-victims are of no account or are even pathologized.
    Even though people have made rational arguments that making the gender of marriage partners irrelevant (samesex marriage) does not logically lead to making the number of partners irrelevant (polygamy or polyandry), I fail to see how a feelings-based value system could resist the pleas of weeping Muslim women who ask “only” that their families and marriages be recognized, protected from the contempt of narrow Western society, etc.
    At that point, “man and wife” mean nothing close to what they have meant in the West for two millennia. And that does not strike me as progress toward anything but cultural and moral anarchy.

  • suek

    I visited Cynthia Yockey’s blog the other day –  since it was linked – and read her blog of the day on same sex marriage,  why it should be legal and why it wouldn’t be a problem with the Christian religion.
    Her basic premise seemed to be that simple justice demanded that those of the same sex who loved one another should gain the same benefits granted to opposite sex marriage partners.  I’m not exactly certain what those benefits are, but it seems to me that by demanding those benefits, we would end up with two groups of people – the married and the unmarried, and only the married get the goodies.
    So single adults are to be penalized?
    Once again, the question arises as to why the state has any voice or any right to regulate marriage.  Specifically,  what is the state’s interest, and does it apply equally to homosexual and heterosexual marriages.  My own opinion is that it is in the state’s interest to have a stable society in which children are raised in two parent families, and those two parents should be one male and one female – at least according to some psychologists.  I’m not familiar with how many studies have been done – I’m sure those who disagree can come up with other studies I haven’t seen.  If that’s correct, then the state has an interest in stable heterosexual marriages.  I’ve heard it said that “gay couples can and do raise children too”.  Ok…what numbers or percentages are we talking about here?  There must be studies done on this as well – but to be honest, I’m just not aware of them.