Grand Divisions

Tennessee Equality Project seeks to advance and protect the civil rights of our State’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons and their families in each Grand Division.

Friday, August 28, 2009

LGBT issues addressed in Memphis Mayoral Forum

WMCTV5 and the League of Women Voters held an informative and entertaining forum at Opera Memphis featuring candidates for Mayor of Memphis last night. I say forum, because the event was not structured for debate. A debate would have been difficult to moderate with 9 candidates. I was lucky to be a member of the live audience. There was not a great deal else going on behind the scenes (unless you count Prince Mongo's bare feet and rubber chicken), if you weren't present. Television viewers who watched now have a glimpse of the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate on the issues and on style.

In the end, it's the issues in this contest that should most concern us, and the LGBT community and their allies can be pleased that relevant questions affecting our community were posed to the candidates.

In a round of viewer questions in which candidates were asked to respond with a "yes" or "no," ALL candidates said they supported non-discrimination policies for Memphis city employees similar to those pursued with Shelby County government last spring. That's outstanding news and a tribute to the work that citizens of Memphis and Shelby County have done to move the political conversation into new territory. The unanimous response gives a boost to the campaign to pass a non-discrimination ordinance in the Memphis City Council.

While the non-discrimination question was a high point, the low point came when Jackson Baker of the Memphis Flyer asked Dr. Kenneth T. Whalum if he would explain what happened to the two women who visited his church last Sunday. Whalum began by saying "absolutely nothing." He said everyone knows what happened and asked people to "come over and find out." Whalum's response only heightens the mystery of what really happened at New Olivet Baptist Church and casts a shadow of doubt over his affirmative answer to the non-discrimination policy question posed earlier in the forum.

Check TDN Blog, Vibinc, Jackson Baker, Wendi Thomas, and Memphis Liberal for further reactions to the forum.

Watch the video here.


Julia said...

From TN Guerilla WOMEN blog:

The Family Action Council of Tennessee (FACT) and their friends over at Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum are beating the bushes and sending out e-mails urging folks to show up at the September 15th council meeting and express opposition. FACT is a state chapter of James Dobson's Family Action Council. From their e-mail (some of it is here):

IT IS CRITICAL THAT CHRISTIANS AND BELIEVERS IN THE TRADITIONAL FAMILY SHOW UP ON THIS ISSUE! The church I mentioned created lapel stickers that had a red heart saying “God knows best” and “Vote No on BL-2009-502.” We will bring stickers on the 15th that have a simple stick figure of a man + a woman if you would like to wear one of those. We do not have the staff to call all the churches in Metro-Davidson County, so it is incumbent upon all of you to help us spread the word.


H.G. Stovall said...

Thanks for sharing this Julia.

It looks like once again intolerance and hate is being championed under the banner of God's love.

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