Gay Activists Seek to Boot 96-year-old Prop. 8 Supporter Off Theater Board

Oakland, CA – Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) activists are seeking to oust an elderly Prop. 8 supporter from a theater board whose eleven members must be approved by the City Council. The Oakland City Council is expected to vote tonight on the issue.

Lorenzo Hoopes, 96, has volunteered for decades with Paramount Theatre of the Arts and has been a member of its board of directors for twenty years.. Hoopes has a long career in public service and civic involvement, having served on the Oakland school board for 17 years and as the president of Oakland’s Latter Day Saints temple for many years.

Ordinarily, Hoopes’ reappointment to the theater board would be routine. But these are not normal circumstances, according to LGBT leaders, because Hoopes donated $26,000 to the Prop. 8 campaign to preserve traditional marriage. In a statement to the Oakland Tribune, LGBT activist Michael Colbruno said that, in light of the ongoing federal Prop. 8 trial across the bay, Hoopes’ reappointment is “so insulting. It’s so typical that the gay community in Oakland is being run over by a bus. If this were San Francisco, there would be 300 people in the streets.”

LGBT activists may get their wish. Because of the intense opposition, City Council President Jane Brunner expressed doubts that the Council would re-appoint Hoopes. One Councilmember, Larry Reid, disagrees with Hoopes on Prop. 8 but felt he should be reappointed, stating, “This is America. No matter how controversial the issue is, someone like him should be appointed based on his ability to serve and based on his past contributions to the city.” Fellow Paramount board members also expressed support of Hoopes, but only on condition of anonymity for fear of the backlash from LGBT activists.

Brad Dacus, President of Pacific Justice Institute, commented, “The intolerance and hate of gay activists seems to know no bounds. Persecuting a 96-year-old philanthropist and civic leader, simply because he supports traditional marriage, is outrageous. We’ve heard and seen a lot of abuse and harassment directed at Prop. 8 supporters over the last two years, but this is beyond the pale.”

Pacific Justice Institute expects to have an affiliate attorney on hand to speak in Hoopes’ defense at the City Council meeting tonight.