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.