Is there an anti-gay endorsement in a Guilford County LGBT voter guide?


Earlier, I posted about some of the more major endorsements made by the Replacements, Ltd. PAC for their Guilford County LGBT Voter Guide.

The good folks at Replacements, Ltd. only recently formed the PAC. Owner Bob Page thought it would be a great way to educate voters on which candidates are best suited on LGBT issues. I thank Mr. Page profusely for what he has done for the LGBT community in Greensboro, across the State of North Carolina and around the country. I also thank all of the good people who work with Mr. Page, like his Associate VP of Community Affairs Gary Palmer and Legal Counsel Andrew Spainhour.

I think the Guilford County LGBT Voter Guide was a great thing. Although I’m registered to vote in Forsyth County and I cannot vote for Guilford County candidates, I have offered my support to Guilford County candidates through my blog, through talking with friends and (soon) through my opinions column at The Carolinian (UNCG). I will also be using Replacements, Ltd.’s Voter Guide to help inform me on my votes for the state-wide judicial candidates.

BUT… I do want to address one of the candidates endorsed in the Guide (although there is another candidate I could address but I’m just not going to because she is, in all practical terms, the very best candidate in comparison to her rabidly anti-gay, radical right opponent):

In the Replacements, Ltd. PAC 2006 LGBT Voter Guide, NC State Senator Stan Bingham (Republican, District 33) received an endorsement.

I emailed Mr. Palmer last night inquiring as to why Senator Bingham was endorsed. I mentioned my concern over the endorsement because Senator Bingham was one of the co-sponsors of the state anti-gay marriage Constitutional amendment.

Even knowing that, however, the Replacements, Ltd. PAC gave Senator Bingham the endorsement, noting him as a “respected moderate.”

Why did they give him the endorsement? There’s actually a very good reason… because he sponsored one piece of legislation (Senate Bill 1113) which (if it would have passed) would have expanded the General Assembly’s employment non-discrimination code for legislative personnel to include sexual orientation.

There is no doubt in my mind that Senator Bingham took a courageous stand (as a Republican in North Carolina) in sponsoring Senate Bill 1113. Senator Bingham was noted as saying “I will not budge…” on the issue of non-discrimination toward people due to sexual orientation.

There were originally four Republican sponsors of Senate Bill 1113. Three of them dropped out due to the extreme backlash they felt from not only their constituents but also from the leadership of the state GOP. Senator Bingham, however, “stayed the course” and didn’t back down.

Senator Bingham truly felt that Senate Bill 1113 was worth his sponsorship and time. He truly felt that sexual orientation has nothing to do with how well you can perform at your job. He was quoted as saying, “…I hire people all the time for my business, and it [sexual orientation] just doesn’t matter.”

Senator Bingham took a huge stand putting himself at risk with the leadership of the state GOP, his consituents and in the Republican primary (he is not being challenged in the General Election).

When I first read of Senator Bingham’s endorsement I was upset. I admit it. Personally, I believe the harm which would have been caused by the anti-gay marriage amendment would have far outweighed any good which could have come from Senate Bill 1113.

However, after a short discussion this morning with Ed Farthing from EqualityNC and through email exchanges with Gary Palmer at Replacements, Ltd., I’ve realized that we just can’t punch Senator Bingham for his sponsorship of the marriage amendment. I accept and support his endorsement, albeit reluctanlty.

More than likely, Senator Bingham signed on to the marriage amendment because he had to… because he had absolutely no other choice. As Ed told me, sometimes you have to do things you just do not want to do when you are involved in politics. Sometimes you just have to suck it up and go. Maybe Senator Bingham knew the anti-gay marriage amendment would fail when he signed on to it. Maybe because he knew that, he thought he could safely sign on to the amendment and keep his job at the same time (which serves to only further help LGBT North Carolinians if he continues to support pro-active pieces of legislation like Senate Bill 1113).

So… Is there an anti-gay endorsement in the LGBT Voter Guide? ABSOLUTELY NOT, but I do think people deserve to know that Senator Bingham did sponsor the anti-gay marriage amendment. They also deserve to know that he was the first North Carolina Republican to sponsor a piece of pro-active legislation in the North Carolina Senate. That makes him a good candidate, despite however much you may disagree with his sponsorship of the anti-gay marriage amendment (which was bound to fail in 2006 just as it had in 2004 and 2005).

Senator Bingham is not anti-gay. He’s just a politician… trying to stay loyal to his Party, loyal to his beliefs and, at the same time, balancing loads of people and loads of commitment in being loyal to keeping his job.

So… if you live in NC Senate District 33 and Senator Stan Bingham represents you in the North Carolina Senate, please support him. You have the right to disagree with something he has done but please remember that maybe, if he keeps his job, he might just be able to help us out more in the future. Maybe next year he will have some more options when the state GOP comes knocking at his door for a signature to the marriage amendment. Maybe next year, he’ll be able to take the stand he took on Senate Bill 1113.

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Comments
8 Responses to “Is there an anti-gay endorsement in a Guilford County LGBT voter guide?”
  1. Roch101 says:

    Where does Bingham’s opponent stand on the state anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment and expanding the GA’s non-discrimination policy to sexual orientation?

  2. Matt says:

    Bingham doesn’t have an opponent.

  3. Matt says:

    Oh… and here is the info you wanted on the Replacements, Ltd. PAC:

    The REPLACEMENTS LTD PAC was established with the FEC in August of 2006. It is also registered with the NC Board of Elections and can support candidates in federal, state and local elections.

    Bob Page and Dale Frederiksen are the primary drivers of the PAC. The treasurer is Gary Palmer.

    Information concerning candidate’s views are acquired in a variety of ways, including media and other research, public forums, telephone conversations, surveys and personal meetings with candidates.

    Candidates are evaluated based on their background, experience, and their demonstrated and/or stated commitment to LGBT equality. Particular areas of focus include a candidate’s position on non-discrimination in employment, the provision of domestic partner benefits, safe school policies, adoption issues, and opposition to anti-gay legislation. Because of the North Carolina Republican Party’s strong platform opposition to LGBT equality, party registration is a factor for consideration.

    Consideration is also given to incumbency and the expressed request of the candidate to be endorsed. In addition, the PAC considers the overall impact of electing a particular candidate. While the PAC and a candidate may not agree on all issues, the PAC works to select the best candidate to advance a public policy of fairness and LGBT equality.

  4. Roch101 says:

    Thanks. So it’s the opinions of two, maybe three guys?

  5. Matt says:

    That is pretty much what the blurb above says, but I would caution you on that. As far as I know every Community Affairs decision is made by a group of folks (more than two or three) during meetings with Mr. Page, Gary Palmer (Assoc. VP of Community Affairs), Andrew Spainhour (Legal Counsel) and other company folks. They know what they’re doing, but your concerns are valid I think.

    Replacements doesn’t expect not to be challenged or that people will disagree with their endorsements (that was made clear to me today with emails back and forth between Gary Palmer and I). They understand that the LGBT and straight allied community is large and varied.

    By the way… I know some of these folks well, some of them not so well… but well enough that I’d probably defend them if I had to. I’m not afraid to respectfully challenge them though and I did with this Senator Bingham endorsement. In the end, however, I relunctantly went along with the endorsement, although I still think that the Replacements, Ltd. PAC should have made voters aware of his status as a co-sponsor of the anti-gay marriage amendment (while also praising him for his courageous stance on Senate Bill 1113).

  6. Roch101 says:

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not challenging their endorsements or even their criteria, I’m commenting on the foundation of an on-going interest in transparency among political influences, especially PACs. I’ve joined Joe Guarino in his quest to understand the influences of other PACs on local elections and my questions about this PAC are a continuation of the fundamental desire to know who is attempting to exert influence.

    The question also goes to the weight one should give to a PACs endorsements. If they are, in fact, the opinions of two guys, that’s one thing. If they are a consensus opinion of a larger group, that says something different.

  7. Matt says:

    Roch… I encourage you to check out the endorsements from EqualityNC, our premier state-wide advocacy group: http://www.equalitync.org/news/pac/2006general/

    You’ll see that in Guilford County NC House and Senate races the endorsements from EqualityNC and the Replacements, Ltd PAC pretty much line up.

    Roch said: The question also goes to the weight one should give to a PACs endorsements. If they are, in fact, the opinions of two guys, that’s one thing. If they are a consensus opinion of a larger group, that says something different.

    I totally agree and that is why my PAC will not be making endorsements this year. We are still a small group and we are growing. By 2008 (or Greensboro City Council elections in 2007), I’m sure we will have a bigger base to work with and I hope that endorsement decisions can be made by our (by then, full) Board of Directors and with input from members and supporters.

    As for my personal opinions on the elections this year, see my Q-vote 2006 page (In the next few days, I’ll be updating and writing more substantially on my election thoughts).

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  1. […] I’ve posted twice already (here and here) on the Replacements, Ltd. PAC 2006 Guilford County LGBT Voter Guide. Below you will find the full voter guide. Please note that some editing has been done by me, including text color, emphasis and asides (noted as [Note: …] within the Guide). […]



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