Shelby County Trustee David Lenoir – the Republican Party candidate for Shelby County mayor – started a mutual fund in 2007 that screened out investors affiliated with the “gay and lesbian agenda,” officials with the Shelby County Democratic Party asserted in a news release on Wednesday
The release references the Centurion Christian Values fund, which is described as catering exclusively to anti-gay investors. In it, local Democrats also say that Lenoir himself said he founded the fund to undercut the “gay and lesbian agenda.”
In a counter release on Wednesday evening, Lenoir said, “The Centurion Fund was set up to allow Christian investors to align their values with their investments”
The fund was not an attack on any individual or group,” Lenoir continued.
“I have zero tolerance for discrimination against any individual or group including race, gender or sexual orientation. My actions and my administration over the eight years as your trustee is a reflection of how I will lead as your county mayor – open and inclusive.”
Corey Strong, who chairs the Shelby County Democratic Party, said it was troubling that Lenoir would decide to open a business that Strong said catered to anti-gay investors.
“Our next county mayor cannot encourage discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, race, or any other suspect classification, he said in released statement. “He also cannot dog whistle to his base that he supports such views and not be held to account for them publicly…
“His decision to start a business, like the Centurion Christian Values fund, indicates that he is against inclusion, diversity and tolerance and he should be called to account for it.”
Strong said the Shelby County Democratic Party would ask Lenoir and his supporters to recant negative, discriminatory views and language and to close down the Centurion Christian Values fund, if it is still open for business in any form.
“We would ask David Lenoir to pledge that, if he is elected county mayor, he will not support discrimination against individuals on the basis of sexual orientation,” the Democrats say in the statement released Wednesday.
“We would ask that David Lenoir promise to oppose legislative efforts to give businesses protections to reject gay customers and/or only cater to anti-gay clientele. If David Lenoir is unable to reject discrimination and pledge to embrace all parts of our community, he should immediately drop out of the race.”
The New Tri-State Defender sought a comment from State Sen. Lee Harris, the Democratic Party nominee opposing Lenoir in the mayor’s race, but had not received a comment by TSD Wednesday night print deadline.
The fund was opened in 2007 and at that time had $2 million in assets and shares of 48 companies, according to the Scripps Howard News Service. It was described as a mutual fund that screened companies based on Christian values.
Besides rejecting firms affiliated with the “gay agenda,” the fund eliminated from consideration firms that made money from or condoned abortions and those affiliated with pornography.