BRANDON (FBW)—The recent appointment of a pro-family, Christian community leader to the Hillsborough County Human Relations Board angered members of the homosexual community, who spearheaded a letter-writing campaign aimed at county commissioners, demanding his removal from the position.
In a 5-2 vote, with one of the dissenting votes being from an openly homosexual commissioner, the Hillsborough County Board of Commissioners awarded the vacant board position to Terry Kemple, president of the Christian-based Community Issues Council (CIC) and a 25-year member of Bell Shoals Baptist Church in Brandon.
Kemple said four of the five commissioners that voted in his favor have worked with him in the past and are familiar with his level-headedness in handling issues.
“These were not people who were voting in a vacuum. They know, although I do have definite opinions, I am very rational in the way that I approach things,” Kemple said. “I am not a ‘bigot.’ I am just a person who is interested in the best things for the community.”
Kemple expects to serve a three-year term on the 13-member board that, according to its website, “encourages equality among all people by reviewing complaints filed under Hillsborough County’s Human Rights Ordinance which promotes fair treatment and equal opportunity for people regardless of race, religion, color, sex, national origin, age, disability or marital status.”
The board’s website explains that board members are selected to assure representation inclusive of minorities and “for all ages races, religious beliefs, and conditions of employment.”
A vocal opponent of Kemple’s appointment is Nadine Smith, executive director of Equality Florida. According to a report published on www.tbo.com, Smith said that Kemple “stands in direct opposition to everything this [Human Relations] board is supposed to represent” and that “Kemple has consistently opposed equal protection under the law for gay people.”
Equality Florida, a homosexual and transgender activist organization, boasts a member/ support database of 136,000 households statewide, according to its website.
Kemple told Florida Baptist Witness the county’s human rights ordinance does not address issues of sexual orientation or gender identity. Kemple said the uproar is a moot point, as any complaint regarding these issues would never come before this particular board.
What appears to trouble Smith and Equality Florida is Kemple’s six-year involvement with the CIC, a group whose mission is to “promote and protect Judeo-Christian values by educating and uniting the Church to be able to engage our community in the issues of the day.”
CIC’s website highlights the importance of protecting the traditional family, an assertion that threatens Equality Florida’s push to secure full equality for Florida’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.
When news of the controversy surrounding Kemple’s appointment broke last week, Bill Bunkley, Florida Baptist Convention legislative consultant and host of “Drive Time with Bill Bunkley” on WTBN-AM, invited Kemple to be a guest on his radio show.
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