Friday, October 19, 2012
Durham's People Alliance fails the fact check
Durham’s People’s Alliance is tragically misinforming local voters on the position of two candidates for the Board of County Commissioners. Their endorsement sheet and website indicates that Michael Page, Brenda Howerton and Omar Beasley can’t be trusted in protecting the rights of gays and lesbians. The attack against Beasley lacks any clear evidence to support the PA’s view, and their stance on Howerton fails to consider what she has stated.
Beasley was a strong opponent of Amendment One, and supports his sister who is a lesbian involved in a domestic partnership. “How could I do anything that would go against my own sister,” Beasley says.
Beasley’s sister is Melody Wilkerson. She and her partner Kifu Faruq co-founded Greenspace Initiatives. Faruq is known around Durham as the owner of Kukia’s Cookies, those wonderful vegan/organic treats, and recently became a columnist for The Durham News. Wilkerson and Faruq are strong supporters of Beasley and are leading the charge for gay rights awareness in the black community.
The PA has unfairly lumped Beasley in the same camp as Page and Howerton. They assume a pro-751 agenda, something that Beasley has not stated, and his being weak in supporting gay rights. Beasley’s position on 751 is to give him the chance to do what those on the commission were granted, a chance to explore all angles. Beasley shouldn’t be blamed for a project he didn’t create. His role, if elected, will be to maneuver around what has been decided. He shouldn’t be expected to campaign on a record that isn’t his to own; thi]us, the PA is unfair in forcing candidate to take that position.
Taking a position against Beasely based on 751 is one thing, making assumptions on his stance on gay rights is offensive. It’s simply a lie
The same can be said about Howerton. The truth is Howerton took a strong position against Amendment One. “It hits too close to home when you start discriminating against any people,” Howerton was quoted in the Herald-Sun.
The PA’s attack against Michael Page may be warranted, but should be understood within the complex context Page brings to the Board of County Commissioners. As a pastor, Amendment One presented Page a dilemma that is hard for those standing on the outside of the black church to understand.
Page never supported the amendment to define marriage as a bond between a man and a woman, but he didn’t stand in opposition. To his credit, Page did bring a symbolic resolution before the board to reflect the group’s opposition. That resolution was strapped when GOP activist Dick Ford challenged the legality of the resolution.
The antics displayed by the PA have caused significant damage to race relations in Durham, NC. At the heart of the matter are assumptions made devoid of clear dialogue with those who seek public office. The recent actions of the PA are insulting to those running for the Board of County Commissioners. It’s the type of maneuvering one can expect among candidates, but political action committees should avoid comments rooted in assumptions.
Omar Beasley deserves an apology for being labeled one who can’t be trusted for protecting gay rights. It’s a lie that must be corrected.
If you don’t believe me, ask his sister.