Last edited: November 01, 2003


An Open Letter to Mayor Humphreys

July 12, 2001

Mayor Kirk Humphreys
City Hall
200 N. Walker
Oklahoma City, OK 73102

Mr. Humphreys:

In regards to an article in the July 11, 2001, Deadly Joke-lahoman where you equate civil rights for gays/lesbians with the racist tactics of the Ku Klux Klan, I shall assume you were quoted or paraphrased accurately.

You are reported as saying religious messages would not be allowed on the utility poles because of separation of church and state issues. Proclaiming a need for equal rights as the Cimarron banners do is not a religious message—it is a civil need and has nothing to do with religion. It would seem you are unable to tell the difference between sacred and secular.

Let me give you one word substitutes: "sacred" means "religious" while "secular" means "civil."

You go on to say that only "positive" community messages should be allowed on the utility poles. Since you enjoy the unalloyed pleasure of "positive" civil rights with no question of suffering the indignities of discrimination, it will be hard for you to understand that the Cimarron banners _are_ a positive community message for gays/lesbians who experience daily the open, sometimes veiled, stigma for discrimination due to homophobia—that word means fear of gay people.

Again, the meaning of words seems to escape you since you are quoted as saying you don’t understand the argument between the secular idea of equal rights and any sacred message. This is because you have used the Mayor’s office to make a pitch like a hired huckster for the Scott Dawson revival operation in Oklahoma City. This is a clear mixing of religious advertising and the aura of an elected office. Would you do the same public performance for a Jewish or Hindu conference?

Your city manager, Jim Couch, says that the policies of other cities will be examined in regards to banners on public property. May I suggest you look at Tampa, FL, and Skookie, IL.

Both of these cities have had experience with the negative consequences of attempted censorship. Or will you only adopt the policies that fit with your religiously blinkered point-of-view?

You suggest that some aspects of gay life are illegal. Are you referring to the outdated, discriminately-enforced sodomy law still in effect in Oklahoma? Are you going to revoke any future Pride Parade permits assuming that all participants and onlookers engage in illegal activity? Are you going to re-institute police raids in carefully selected bars known to have gay clientele, also assuming that customers are un-indicted felons? Will these actions, including stepped-up park surveillance and the modification of the banner guidelines, be taken as revenge since you and your homophobic friends got caught unaware by the Cimarron banners, with your pants down, so-to-speak? With your help fanning the flames of discrimination, this attempt at censoring gay/lesbian messages could well become Oklahoma City’s equivalent of New York City’s Stonewall Riots.

For someone of your political education and ambition for higher office, the meaning of words conveniently slips your grasp. You equate civil rights for gays/lesbians with the racism of the KKK. You describe equality and respect for diversity as a controversial message. I find it very odd, but convincing, that you would seem to be adverse to human rights. You disingenuously confuse "irreligious" with "secular." The secular idea of equal rights is superior to and independent of the "irreligious" actions of bigots and homophobes such as yourself. If your ambition for higher office is to be attained you will need to be elected by a majority of the people voting. A majority of people believe in equal rights for all citizens, unlike the racist minority with which you associate.

Your divisive words trap you in the white religious and social supremacy of the past—the past of George Wallace and Bull Connor. Your words suspend you in the memories of the hatred of the Tulsa/Greenwood Massacre of 1921, and the inaugural Oklahoma Legislature of 1907, whose first enactment was that of segregation. Your position as mayor of Oklahoma City is not the forum for you to exercise your social and psychological deficiencies with civil rights. Your have sworn before your god with your hand on a bible to uphold the laws and make Oklahoma City a better place for all its citizens.

Your attempted linkings of the quest for civil rights for gays/lesbians with the odious, terrorist actions of the KKK do you no honor.

Most sincerely,

James Nimmo
Oklahoma City, OK

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