Kicking A Lion

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Boulder theater protest set by activists for gay rights

A Boulder movie house whose CEO backed a same-sex-union ban in California is targeted.

Gay-rights activists plan to protest a Boulder theater that will show a movie about a gay-rights pioneer because, despite the movie, the theater’s chief executive supported a California ban on same-sex marriages.

Among those expected to attend Sunday’s protest at Century Boulder Theatre is Congressman-elect Jared Polis, the first openly gay congressional candidate from Colorado.

Cinemark-Century CEO Alan Stock donated $9,999 to the Yes on 8 Campaign, approved by California voters this month. The proposition prohibits same-sex marriage and has sparked other protests by gay-rights activists.

Most of their ire has been directed at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which also contributed heavily to the pro-Proposition 8 camp.

But Cinemark-Century — which owns Century Boulder Theatre — is being targeted because in December it will begin showing the film “Milk,” the story of San Francisco’s Harvey Milk, a pioneer in the gay-rights movement.

It’s ironic that a film honoring Milk will enrich the man who contributed to the downfall of equal rights for gays in California, said Johann Moonesinghe, a Boulder resident and organizer of Sunday’s protest.

“We are not going to support a theater whose owner took away a large portion of our rights,” Moonesinghe said.

Protesters want supporters to see “Milk” at another theater. Stock has every right to contribute to any campaign he likes and Cinemark has every right to show the movie, Moonesinghe said. But gays also “have a right to take our money elsewhere as well,” he said.

Polis and his partner, Marlon Reis, are expected to join 100 or so other protesters at the Century Boulder Theatre between 3 and 4:30 p.m. The complex is at 28th Street and Canyon Boulevard.

“I think it’s great people are voting with their wallets and hopefully going to see this movie elsewhere,” Polis said. “Seeing it here (Century Boulder Theatre) contradicts everything Harvey Milk stood for.”

Polis said he will ask Stock to make an equal contribution to a gay-rights cause.

“I think the company should make at least a good-faith effort and if they are willing to do that, I think they have an opportunity to regain the loyalty of the gay and lesbian community,” Polis said.

Stock couldn’t be reached for comment. But in a statement released this week, the Dallas-based Cinemark sought to separate Stock’s contribution from the company.

“Cinemark did not make any financial contribution to either side on the Proposition 8 vote in California,” said James Meredith, vice president of marketing and communications for Cinemark USA Inc. “The company does not take a formal position on political issues that do not directly affect our business.”

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Written by kickingalion

November 28, 2008 at 5:08 pm

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