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The Dracula of Free Speech, Kirk Humpreys, Rises From the Political Grave

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Message James Nimmo

(OKLAHOMA CITY) Just as the mythic Dracula of Transylvania came back from the dead to spread horror among the peasants, so has the flesh-and-blood Kirk Humphreys come back from the politically dead to fling his homophobic horror in the halls of Oklahoma City's public schools.

Reborn in the blood of his religion and bred in the dessicated dessert of intolerance, Kirk Humphreys was recently appointed by the Oklahoma City School Board to fill the position of chair until an election is held in February, 2009.

Coming above ground with his first public election to the Putnam City school board in 1987, he rose to bigger things as mayor of OKC in 1998. He resigned during his second term to run for U. S. Senate which he lost to Dr. Tom Coburn, 25% to 61%.

Settling back into his businessman's grave of multiple real estate dealings, one would have thought that we had heard the last of Mr. Humphreys.

So why the concern regarding his reappearance?

During his time as mayor of OKC, he was the driving force behind the 2001 attempt to prevent Cimarron Alliance, a GLBT advocacy group, from exercising its First Amendment right to free speech with the display of banners promoting gay/lesbian equality.

However, the shining light of Federal District Court Judge Robin Cauthron
exorcised the demon of Humphreys and she ruled in favor of Cimarron Alliance and enjoined the City Council from interfering with Cimarron's banner display on the utility poles. Hitherto the sacred utility poles had been the exclusive marketplace for hetero organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce, rodeos, and other civic clubs.

Did I mention the earlier "Tin Drum" video law suit?

In 1997, a fundamentalist censorship group ponied up with an Oklahoma County judge willing to make an informal ruling that the "Tin Drum" was child pornography and that copies of it could be seized in Oklahoma County wherever it could be found whether in private homes or public libraries.

Despite the facts that the film had been released in 1979, received major film awards, and not anyone prior to Humphreys had made a legal claim of obscenity against the film, Humphreys again smelled blood and was hot on the trail of what he thought would surely be a victory for fundamentalist decency. Thinking that the cross of his religion would trump all blasphemers and dissolve the First and Fourth Amendments he encouraged the court case to proceed.

Federal District Court Judge Ralph Thompson, however, found that the film is not child pornography, and went on to criticize that the County Judge, Richard Freeman, had made a serious error in judgment pertaining to what constitutes pornography and allowing the OKC police, carte blanche, to search homes and businesses without a warrant.

Both of the lost lawsuits backed by Kirk Humphreys cost hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars in expenses and attorney fees which resulted in higher property taxes. 
Though the "Tin Drum" adventure was publicly lead by former District Attorney Bob Macy, as mayor and the boss of the OKC police chief,  I feel that Humphreys was certainly in the loop and should have had more sense and better advise in calling off the figurative police dogs.

If the past is prologue, I think we can expect some more Humphreys hauntings at the expense of the Oklahoma City taxpayers. It's been shown that the Constitution, its Bill of Rights, and especially the First Amendment --if applied in time--can counter the poisonous vapors that waft from Humphreys.



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James Nimmo is active in progressive issues and believes no one should be denied their equality because of the accidents of birth and circumstances.
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