Removal of photo causes furor

Gaston County Manager Kim Eagle has had a photo removed from an exhibit entitled “Into The Darkroom: Photography as History and Artform” at the Gaston County Museum.  The photo was taken by Charlotte freelance journalist
Grant Baldwin, and depicts two males kissing. The occasion was the 2019 Charlotte Pride Festival and Parade, moments after a gay couple had just gotten engaged. They have since married.

According to Gaston County Government, County Manager Kim Eagle asked the photographer to submit an alternate picture “that would be more considerate of differing viewpoints in the community.”  In a county statement, Eagle said: “The museum is government-funded, and as such, it is important for the items it shares to be informational without championing political issues.  As a public administrator, there is a delicate balance between the effort to foster an inclusive workplace and community, while avoiding political advocacy.”

The move was condemned by Charlotte Pride, The Gaston County Democratic Party, and others. The incident was also publicized on all Charlotte Metro television stations, The New York Daily News and Yahoo News. Same sex marriage has been legal in North Carolina since 2014.

Editorial note: The photo has gotten far more exposure after the County’s move, than it ever would have otherwise.