Brother LaKendrick Coburn El is a man who believes “Homosexuality is an abomination to the Human Race” and that transgender people suffer from a “mental illness.” That’s according to Facebook posts made earlier this week that are no longer accessible to the public.
The reason that matters is because Coburn El is a member of the Virginia Beach City Council’s Human Rights Commission, a 19-member board that advises council members on pertinent issues. He’s been on the commission since May.
Why is a raging bigot allowed on such a committee? That’s what Hampton Roads Pride wants to know. The group sent a letter to Mayor Bobby Dyer on Tuesday expressing their frustration with Coburn El’s statements and his continued association with the city:
These statements inflict a deep betrayal of trust to the relationship between the Human Rights Commission and citizens of Virginia Beach who are members of the LGBT and allied communities.
It is reasonable and proper that the citizens of Virginia Beach should expect those who serve on the City’s Human Rights Commission to understand the tenets of universal Human Rights and conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the purpose of the Commission and which reflect the mission and values of the City of Virginia Beach.
We are disappointed, saddened and disheartened by these remarks since until now, Hampton Roads Pride has asserted the vision and work of the HRC as vital to the equality of all people. Any failure to address this unacceptable behavior, threatens to diminish the credibility of the Commission.
For his part, Coburn El hasn’t said anything in response to the outcry. He certainly hasn’t resigned. The chair of the commission said only that “each commissioner has individual beliefs, and we do not always agree.” Which is a weird statement… It’s not like a committee advising the city on matters of race relations would just “agree to disagree” with a member who also happened to be part of the KKK. You don’t need bigots on a commission dedicated to human rights.
The irony is that Coburn El recently voted (again, only in an advisory capacity) to end the practice of conversion therapy in the state, correctly calling it “inhumane.” That vote doesn’t make sense given what he posted on Facebook. So it’s unclear what his views actually are. Maybe he’s just confused? Who knows.
I also can’t seem to find any information about what church he belongs to or what they believe. But he was apparently nominated for the commission because he advocated for many issues in front of the city council and spoke out against a local school official said to be racist. All of that makes for a good nominee.
But his views on LGBTQ people are abhorrent. Surely there are better people in the city who can provide useful advice without the baggage of bigotry. This guy, whatever he thinks, is a liability who doesn’t deserve the honor.
(Thanks to Shea for the link)