Iowa city removes rainbow following complaints from antigay resident
July 17 2003 12:00 AM ET
The city of Nevada, Iowa, has yanked pictures of a rainbow off signs at local parks after an angry resident claimed it promotes homosexuality and immorality. The signs, placed in seven city parks, were intended to promote a local character-development program and its six rainbow-colored pillars depicting respect, responsibility, trustworthiness, fairness, caring, and citizenship. The CharACTer Nevada program is a local chapter of the Los Angeles-based Character Counts! program.
In a letter presented at a city council meeting, Don Juhl had a different interpretation of the rainbow. "The thought that our city was being asked to endorse homosexuality and prominently display this public badge of the homosexual community makes a mockery of the word 'character,' " Juhl said. He submitted copies of gay pride advertisements featuring rainbows and information on how the rainbow relates to the gays and lesbians. Because of the opposition, the board that oversees CharACTer Nevada has removed the signs.
Mark Frideres, chairman of the local program, said the last thing the group wanted to do was create discord in the community. But he said the rainbow symbol used in the group's signs doesn't promote homosexuality. "The rainbow colors of Character Counts! are no more promotional of homosexuality than the rainbow peacock of NBC or the rainbow apple of Apple Computers or the rainbow and hands of United Way," Frideres said. "Rainbows continue to symbolize hope and peace and is universally recognized as such by children and adults throughout the world." An alternative symbol for the signs is being worked up, he said.