Chronicle columnist Chip Johnson argues today that gay rights activists have crossed the line in their attempt to oust Prop. 8 backer Lorenzo Hoopes from the Paramount Theatre board of directors. Johnson says that although he disagrees with Hoopes’ opposition to gay marriage, the campaign against him has been “mean-spirited.” But Johnson’s argument is nothing more than defending bigotry.
Hoopes was one of the largest donors to the Prop. 8 campaign, which stripped a minority population of a basic human right. Sure, Hoopes is allowed to have his own opinion. But it’s not okay to allow his bigotry to go unchallenged. What if someone who funded a campaign to outlaw interracial marriage had been nominated? Would Johnson have defended that person’s right to serve on a public board as well, even if he had a long track record of civic engagement much like Hoopes? Unlikely.
Unfortunately, Johnson’s sympathy for people who funded state-sanctioned discrimination toward gays and lesbians is not out of the ordinary. But that doesn’t make it right. In the end, bigotry is bigotry. And it’s wrong —whether it’s directed toward gays and lesbians, or blacks, or any other minority group.