This editorial cartoon is going to need some background for all my non-Cincinnati readers and those who are from Cincinnati who don’t know what is going on. I apologize for the length.
*** The short explanation ***
If you don’t want to read it all the simple background is the white guy in front (named Chris Finney) said some anti-gay things in the past and the guy on the right just appointed him to leadership role in the NAACP. When asked why sexual behavior should affect who can eat in a restaurant back in the early 90’s, he supposedly said “Because there may be some who don’t want their family dining next to a homosexual couple whose actions they find offensive.” Understanding this quote helps you understand the gist of the cartoon.
*** The Long Explanation ***
The Cincinnati Chapter of the NAACP is headed by its President Christopher Smitherman (shown on the far right), a former city councilman. Christopher Finney is a local lawyer who is a member of a group called COAST which fights against what they deem as unnecessary government spending and taxation. Finney has been a member of the local NAACP for three years as COAST and the NAACP teamed to prevent a sales tax increase to build a new jail locally.
This article from CityBeat (the local alt paper) has the best recap so I’ll quote from there.
Before voters repealed it in 2004, Article 12 prohibited Cincinnati City Council or any other city entity from enacting or enforcing measures to give “minority or preferential status” to homosexuals, in effect preventing gays from seeking protection against discrimination or hate crimes.
The amendment, pushed by people affiliated with Citizens for Community Values (CCV), including Finney, was unique: No other city in the nation had enacted such a measure. Article 12 opponents called the law unfair because no other category of citizen was specifically prohibited from seeking redress from their government.
After the amendment created a public relations nightmare for the city nationwide and caused $45 million in lost convention business, a coalition of city officials, business CEOs and Cincinnati’s Catholic archbishop led a successful repeal campaign.
Article 12 was CCV’s response to the city’s human rights ordinance after an earlier court challenge failed. During testimony in a 1994 court hearing, Finney was asked why sexual behavior should affect who can eat in a restaurant or be employed by a company.
Finney replied, “Because there may be some who don’t want their family dining next to a homosexual couple whose actions they find offensive.”
So now Finney who has been volunteering his lawyering skills to the local NAACP has been appointed to their Board (in a non paying job)
Of course the local gay community is upset that a civil rights organization would appoint someone who is so anti-gay. Smitherman is upset with the local gay community because he feels they have never stepped up to support civil rights when its about issues that are important to African Americans. So who is right? IMO, both of them.
I have my opinions on hot topics such as abortion, gay marriage, global warming. I am open to other’s views as they remain open to mine. However, the statement Finney made was intolerant and the least he could do is comment on whether he still agrees with the statement he made so long ago and if not be able to renounce it so the NAACP and the local gay community could move forward in joint initiatives.
The Cincinnati Beacon has an exchange of emails between Finney and when given an opportunity to address it, the Beacon was told by Smitherman that he was the official NAACP spokesman and he had said all he was going to say on the matter.