Equality NC has learned that Sen. Jim Forrester, Rep. Paul Stam and others plan to file a marriage amendment bill AGAIN. These are the same good old boy fossils who do this every year, and for the last five years we've successfully killed the bill. They have failed to get this bill out of committee, and this year, the right wing and professional "Christian" set are stepping up their efforts. Stam and Forrester have until mid-day tomorrow to get other legislators to sign on as co-sponsors. Forrester was bleating about the all powerful Homosexual Agenda in this article in the Gaston Gazette:
"I think it has a better chance (of passing) this year than it ever has," he said of his bill, which he planned to introduce again Monday night.
...In prior years, the state's Democratic leadership has refused to hear the bill, leaving it to die in committee, Forrester said. That's proof of the strong influence that gay and lesbian groups and their "lavender lobbyists" have on many Democrats, he said. "We're supposed to be a conservative state, but it doesn't look like it," he said.
Forrester doesn't see his bill as promoting injustice. Churches and other groups are gearing up to promote the legislation in the coming weeks, including during a rally Tuesday afternoon at the Legislative Building in Raleigh.
"It's not discrimination against gay and lesbian people," he said. "I just think marriage should be between one man and one woman, as it has always been stated in the Bible."
A reader who lives in Brevard, NC sent me an email today. County commissions are passing resolutions in support of an amendment; just last week the Rowan County Board approved such a resolution. Of course these are non-binding, but the point is to activate anti-gay constituents to contact their state reps and senators to get on the record. This terrifies plenty of Dems in the lege, because they have had the luxury of this bill dying without any floor debate, so they haven't had to take a stand. It's highly likely that many, worried about getting re-elected in conservative districts, would choose if cornered to support a hate amendment. Here's what Mary R. said:
Can I cry on someone's shoulder? I am so upset I can hardly contain myself.
Monday night (February 23), I and about 75 other gay or gay-supportive people attended a meeting of the North Carolina Transylvania County Commissioners because ENC (Equality North Carolina) had notified us that approval of a resolution to support putting a discriminatory Marriage Amendment to the North Carolina Constitution to a statewide vote (a la Prop 8) was on the agenda. Evidently the word didn't get out to the other side because only 3-4 anti-gay people showed up. North Carolina is the only state in the southeast not to have an anti-gay marriage amendment added to the state constitution and apparently, many counties are being asked to support this (never mind that marriage rights are not county business at all).
The letter continues below the fold.
About 18-20 people spoke up enthusiastically and emotionally against the proposed amendment, including a number of college students, two college professors, two members of the clergy, a legally married lesbian couple, straight parents (like me), and others who had no family relationship with LGBT people, except for a wish for equality. Only one person who claimed to be a minister railed against it.
Of the five county commissioners, a wonderful moderate Republican voted against the ugly amendment, and took considerable time to explain why, but the four others, including one Democrat, automatically voted for it (a pre-ordained vote, I'm sure, irregardless of who in the audience spoke against it). I was later told that the purpose of this vote for the amendment was the hope that it would get on the ballot and therefore, many people would turn out to vote for it, and subsequently aid the Republicans in redistricting in 2010.
One commissioner with whom I spoke later kept referring to his non-acceptance of someone who "chose the gay lifestyle." Three or four times I stopped him and said, "No, you don't 'choose' a 'gay lifestyle'" but he was unable to not repeat those words which seemed ingrained in his head, no matter what I said. It was scary. He said he would love his child if the child came out as gay, but couldn't approve the "gay lifestyle," and the child couldn't bring a partner home with him. What kind of double talk is this? What kind of parental love is this? I was going mad with this incomprehensible conversation and I came home thoroughly disillusioned. ....but at the same time, so pleased with the considerable turnout of college students and Unitarian Universalist congregation members whom I hadn't expected.
I think it gets down to the younger generation. We are not going to see significant progress until more of them get activated to vote. And I bet the religious right is damned scared of them; they must see the handwriting on the wall.
The fundies plan to bus in supporters to Raleigh to demonstrate in support of a marriage amendment on March 3.
North Carolinians, ask your legislators to oppose the amendment. You can do it through the Equality NC web site, and help us stop these well-funded bible beaters who no doubt, will outgun us. If you're not in NC, please donate to EqualityNC.
Side note: I managed to make it onto the front page of the WaPo's Style section today.