Billboard Raising Eyebrows In Gatesville
Posted in Local News on Tuesday, July 21st, 2009
A Central Texas minister thinks the notion of civil rights has been diluted.
Oen Dollins is the man behind a sign that reads “Gay Rights are Not Civil Rights” on Main Street in Gatesville
The sign is causing some confusion amongst residents, but Dollins says the message is crystal clear.
“It’s very poor taste for the gays to use, to try to infringe in on somebody else’s hurt and a group of people that were really hurt for years and are still being hurt.”
Dollins got the message from an article in Charisma magazine. It says gays are hijacking a legacy by comparing their agenda to legalize gay marriage to civil rights.
Darien Partee, who works in Gatesville, agrees.
“As a Black woman, because I have been through, I’m 50-something okay, so I know what it feels like and it’s totally different.”
But other residents say the message is just too much.
“It’s somebody’s opinion and they want to make a statement to get across to somebody, but I don’t think this is the way they should be handling it,” says Rose Wibbenmeyer who was born and raised in Gatesville.
Gay marriage opinions aside, residents say this is America, and that means freedom of speech.
“Everyone has a right to freedom of speech and this is no different; however, I think that taste, social etiquette comes into play when you’re doing these things,” says resident Cathy Barlow.
“If you want to pay to put that up there, if you believe in that, go for it,” says Lorretta Braucci.
City Manager, Roger Mumby said “It’s freedom of speech. We [the city] don’t rent the sign and we don’t control the content of the sign. And if we did, that would be censorship.”
The man who owns the board says he carefully screens messages and uses discretion before posting them. He also read the article and felt it was a valid argument.
And the man behind the sign says to him, what’s right is right.
“It’s nothing to compare with the civil rights movement. No gays are having to ride on the back of the bus. No gays are being enslaved. No gays are being prosecuted in any way,” says Dollin.
The message was on contract to be on the billboard for three days. It will be taken down Tuesday night.
I've never posted here before so if something is wrong, please tell me. My brother told me he saw something about this on the local news. It was on the "Morning Buzz" where they go and talk to local people. Surprisingly, everyone they talked to was supportive of the billboard. Yay, Central Texas. :(