I’ve had great respect for Billy Graham in my life thus far. That ends today. According to the Vote For Marriage NC coalition and The Charlotte Observer, Rev. Billy Graham has endorsed the anti-LGBT, anti-children, anti-family and anti-business constitutional amendment on the North Carolina May 8 ballot.
“At 93, I never thought we would have to debate the definition of marriage,” the national religious leader says. “The Bible is clear — God’s definition of marriage is between a man and a woman. I want to urge my fellow North Carolinians to vote FOR the marriage amendment on Tuesday, May 8.”
The flier is below.
It’s all too bad really. For such a respected man at the end of his life, this is how he decides to take a bow? More than likely, he’ll not live long enough to see his name drug through the mud as history turns its eye back on his bigotry with shameful judgment. Unlike George Wallace, Billy Graham will be able to offer no retraction or apology. Perhaps, he’ll be able to explain his support of a hateful and discriminatory measure attacking the “least of these” to God.
Independent filmmaker Eric Preston compiled the video and titled it “LIES About Amendment One.” The video contains with excerpts from an April 1, 2012, sermon by Pleasant Garden Baptist Church Senior Pastor Michael Barrett entitled, “Marriage: God’s Design.” Preston says Barrett lied to his congregants about the details and impact of Amendment One, the anti-LGBT, anti-family and anti-business state constitutional amendment on the May 8, 2012, primary ballot.
Preston should be commended for countering the lies and even more so for bringing to light the utterly outrageous anti-gay rhetoric used by Barrett.
A “nuclear holocaust”? Really? I had no idea us gay folk were (a) so dangerous, (b) in possession of nuclear armaments and (c) willing to nuke mommies and daddies taking their kids out to stroll in the park on a sunny Sunday afternoon. News to me.
Preston’s video is just the tip of the iceberg. If you’re the kind that actually can bear to listen to complete nonsense, hate and bigotry, then download the full sermon by Barrett here or use the player below.
Video below; relevant “holocaust” comments at 3:59.
The Coalition to Protect All N.C. Families, those who are working overtime to defeat North Carolina’s anti-LGBT, anti-family, anti-business constitutional amendment on the May 8, 2012, primary ballot, have released new TV commercials detailing some of the potential harms of the measure.
In one ad, a mother speaks about her fear that Amendment One could strip health insurance from her daughter. More than 222,000 unmarried couples currently live in the state. Thousands of them have children. Domestic partner benefits covering unmarried partners and children — like those offered to both opposite-sex and same-sex couples in Greensboro — could be on the chopping block if the amendment passes.
But what has the rabidly anti-gay Amendment One proponents so worked up this week is the Coalition’s TV ad warning women about the consequences the amendment could have on current domestic violence protections.
The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) is just completely beside itself, writing on its blog:
New ads in North Carolina are claiming NC’s Marriage Amendment will somehow interfere with domestic violence prosecutions for unmarried women. They know this is a lie. They have claimed the same thing before about, for example, Virginia’s similarly worded Marriage Amendment.
In Ohio a silly judge ruled that the marriage amendment had this effect, but he was swiftly overruled by Ohio courts. 30 states have marriage amendments. In none of them were women deprived of domestic violence protection.
More evidence that our opponents know they cannot win this vote on the main question: “should marriage remain a union of husband and wife?”
A “silly judge”? “Swiftly overruled”?
Groups like NOM and the North Carolina’s Vote For Marriage NC aren’t being completely honest with the public. The anti-amendment Coalition isn’t lying: Ohio courts had, indeed, interpreted their amendment to mean that domestic violence protections for unmarried couples were invalid. And, there was no “swift” action overruling such cases. It took nearly three years for the Ohio Supreme Court to finally settle the matter — three years that domestic violence victims and their children were forced to wait in fear and uncertainty.
In case you missed it back in March, you should catch this in-depth summary of the domestic violence debate by The News & Observer‘s Craig Jarvis.
The question here isn’t whether North Carolina’s amendment will have a definite impact on such protections. Rather, it is whether the amendment could. The uncertainty of Amendment One and its potential harms is what is so devastating.
No one — not NOM or Vote For Marriage NC or the anti-amendment Coalition — can see into the future. No one can say whether the amendment will have a definite impact one way or the other. NOM cannot know that the amendment will have no negative effects. That Amendment One could have these impacts is, by far, the most truthful and accurate statement thus far made in this debate — a warning the Coalition to Protect All N.C. Families has been sounding since the campaign’s inception.
Anti-gay opponents in North Carolina don’t want to face the facts about Amendment One. Just like their Ohio counterparts who argued in favor of stripping away domestic violence protections in order to protect their discriminatory amendment, NOM and Vote For Marriage NC are, above all other considerations, ideologues first and foremost, unwilling to deal with reality and the possible ramifications of their efforts to experiment with our guiding and foundational governing documents.
WFAE 90.7 FM will host a public conversation and forum tonight on Amendment One. Entitled “Defining Marriage,” the radio station says it hopes to host a “very meaningful dialogue” on the proposed constitutional amendment that would strip marriage rights from same-sex couples and prohibit civil unions and domestic partnerships for both opposite-sex and same-sex couples.
That “meaningful dialogue,” bit? Likely not possible, especially since they’ve invited extremist and anti-gay bully Frank Turek to represent the anti-gay side of the debate.
Turek is associated with radicals like Charlotte street preacher and convicted stalker Flip Benham and Dr. Michael Brown, whose use of violent and militant religious rhetoric I’ve well-documented. In fact, my first introduction to Turek was during a forum sponsored by Brown back in 2007 (there’s an in-depth review and commentary of that event, as well).
Turek and Brown recently debated North Carolina philanthropist and activist Mitchell Gold on Brown’s radio show. I commented on the debate and documented some of the conversation, which left me with the distinct impression that Turek is more bully than academic.
It’s quite disappointing that WFAE would bring in such a radical voice to represent the opposing viewpoint. Couldn’t they find a more appropriate and respectful voice? In reality, perhaps not. How “appropriate” and “respectful” can pro-amendment voices be when each seem to be connected to people like Brown, genocide-enabling radicals like Lou Engle and hate group leaders and white supremacists like Tony Perkins?
Update (March 27, 2012, 11:13 a.m.): The fundraising campaign hit $1.1 million this morning! But don’t quit giving! Keep up the momentum — it’s working. North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis told students at N.C. State, “It’s a generational issue. The data shows right now that you are a generation away from that issue,” and “If it passes, I think it will be repealed within 20 years.” The right-wing conservative base arguing for this amendment is crumbling with each passing day.
“I think amending North Carolina’s constitution to forbid gay and lesbian couples from receiving any future legal recognition, including civil unions, is unwise and unfair. In my opinion the real threat to marriage is not the prospect of gay people getting hitched. It is the reality of straight people too quickly resorting to divorce, or never getting hitched in the first place.”
– John Hood, president, John Lock Foundation, “No Defense for the Offense”
If you’ve been looking for proof that the momentum in North Carolina was decidedly on the side of fairness and equality, look no further than the quote above.
John Hood, president of the John Locke Foundation, would have been among my last guesses if someone asked me to pick out leading conservative leaders I thought might oppose Amendment One, the discriminatory, anti-LGBT constitutional amendment on which North Carolinians will vote come May 8. Sure, the foundation’s main focus might be on fiscal policy, but I certainly would never have put them in the gay “ally” camp.
The Coalition to Protect All N.C. Families is doing great work. Their campaign is astounding. They’re reaching thousands upon thousands of Tar Heels with their message of equality. Most important, they are stressing just how dangerous and far-reaching this amendment is. While the anti-gay religious right, funded and supported by hate groups, becomes increasingly more outward with their bigotry and hate, Protect N.C. grows increasingly more relevant. Tar Heel voters are naive and they aren’t suckers. They won’t fall for a loosing game. Hood is proof.
Yesterday, Protect N.C. launched a nationwide fundraising effort to increase awareness and use the awesome power of the blogosphere to raise much-needed funds for the campaign. At the start, the campaign was $50,000 away from reaching its $1 million fundraising mark. And, after just one day, that gap has been decreased to just $29,000, and I hear that gap is decreasing quickly! (You can read updates about the fundraising effort and the transcript of an online chat with campaign leaders at Pam’s House Blend.)
I’ll be planning to give to Protect All N.C. Families. If you’re like me, it might not be much, but even the smallest contribution can go a long, long way. You and I might have only $5, $10, $20 or $40 we can contribute toward the fight for equality, but when combined, donations like yours and mine can become a powerhouse.
The campaign’s fundraising theme this week has been “First in Flight.” North Carolina made history over a 100 years ago. We can make history again, as we reach higher toward a greater good and a better existence for each of our citizens — for a state that says, “We will not tolerate bigotry and discrimination. We will not redefine our constitution and the freedoms and liberties it protects.”
Join me today and give what you can. On May 8, we’ll celebrate like never before. Click here to join in the this week’s fundraising campaign today.
There’s been quite a bit of controversy this week after Freedom to Marry, the nation’s leading marriage equality organization, announced its “Win More States Fund” but excluded North Carolina (and Maryland), which faces an anti-LGBT constitutional amendment on May 8, 2012.
Durham, N.C.-native and blogger Pam Spaulding wrote about the Freedom to Marry decision, saying:
I’ll definitely remember this when I’m hit up for cash, promotion or Tweets by Freedom To Marry, an organization I supported because of its work fighting for marriage equality. Apparently the feeling is not mutual. Only certain battles are willing to be fought, and it’s willing to leave LGBTs here behind.
Bil Browning of Bilerico.com added:
Bluntly put, this is a big “Fuck you” out of the usually respectful Freedom to Marry gang that’s straight out of the HRC handbook. They don’t think they can win in those states, so they’re only attaching their names to the battles they think will win.
Marc Solomon, Freedom to Marry’s national campaign director, appeared this weekend at the third annual National LGBT Editor/Blogger Convening in Houston, Texas, and spoke briefly about North Carolina and their decision not to get involved. His answer was substantively no different than that given to Bilerico.com by Freedom to Marry Executive Director Evan Wolfson: The group is focusing their limited funds in states and in campaigns where they can win.
It’s a line that’s been repeated too often, and one that leaves North Carolinians like me and Pam Spaulding wondering, “Does Freedom to Marry believe that a loss in North Carolina is a foregone conclusion?” And, if that’s true, why haven’t they just said so directly?
I asked Solomon that question today, and followed up: Does Freedom to Marry believe losing in North Carolina is a foregone conclusion, and if that is the case why, considering that North Carolina has been far more progressive than any other southern state in its entire history?
I would never say that losing in North Carolina is a foregone conclusion. Never. And, I want us to win badly in North Carolina, so I would never ever say that. I’m just saying that as a capacity matter for Freedom to Marry, we feel like we need to really, really focus when we get in — if we’re really going to go in and invest in a state we’re going to be there. On the Maine campaign, for example, i’m talking to their campaign manager five time a day now, getting text mesages. We’re a relatively small organization we can’t take on everything. If we do, we will dilute ourselves too much and won’t be as effective an organization as we want to be. We want North Carolina to win badly. I would never rule out a win in North Carolina. Never. That doesn’t mean that it’s not okay for others to take the lead in other places.
Audio below, with follow-up question from Browning and answer from Solomon.
But, it was his point-on observation of the marginalization of of already-oppressed voices that caught my attention, as well (emphasis added):
But there’s a place in the political sphere for direct speech and, in the past few years in the U.S., there has been a chilling effect on a certain kind of direct speech pertaining to rights. The president is wary of being seen as the “angry black man.” People of color, women, and gays — who now have greater access to the centers of influence that ever before — are under pressure to be well-behaved when talking about their struggles. There is an expectation that we can talk about sins but no one must be identified as a sinner: newspapers love to describe words or deeds as “racially charged” even in those cases when it would be more honest to say “racist”; we agree that there is rampant misogyny, but misogynists are nowhere to be found; homophobia is a problem but no one is homophobic. One cumulative effect of this policed language is that when someone dares to point out something as obvious as white privilege, it is seen as unduly provocative. Marginalized voices in America have fewer and fewer avenues to speak plainly about what they suffer; the effect of this enforced civility is that those voices are falsified or blocked entirely from the discourse.
The marginalization against those minority leaders or community members — racial, ethnic, religious, sexual, what-have-you — who dare to speak out plainly and directly about their experiences in an oppressive system designed to exploit and harm them isn’t just something that comes from the oppressors. Unfortunately, the oppressed are doing it to themselves; Cole’s observed “pressure to be well-behaved” is often self-imposed. And, it’s a shame.
I’m becoming increasingly more convinced that some of the more mainstreamed leaders among various minorities — who consistently stand up to defend their “friends” in high places instead of the rights of those people in their own communities — suffer less from the blindness of privilege and more from Stockholm syndrome.
Eric Preston has re-released his video on Wake County Commission Chairman Paul Coble, which I featured earlier this week in my post, “Video: ‘King Paul’ Coble’s politics of division.”
The video is below, along with a transcript of his letter at the opening.
A couple of days ago I released the original version of this video with a quote from me at the beginning that incorrectly implied that all North Carolina Republicans agreed with GOP politicians like Wake County Commission Chairman Paul Coble.
In the last 48 hours the video received over 1,300 views, and I received many emails and comments from Republicans who wanted to make it clear that they do not associate themselves with the likes of Chairman Coble, his methods, manners or agendas.
These same respectable Republicans also told me, in no uncertain terms, that they are AGAINST the proposed North Carolina state Constitutional Amendment and will be voting as such on May 8th, 2012.
It is to these people that I extend my most humble apologies and dedicate this re-release with a more appropriate opening quote.
March 15th, 2012
“In one divisive act, not only has Paul Coble embarrassed both Republicans and Democrats, but insulted all North Carolina citizens as well.” — Eric Preston, writer, director
Update (March 15, 2012, 5:25 p.m.): The Durham City Council voted unanimously, 6-0, today to oppose Amendment One. Charlotte, on the other hand, remains silent. The details from Protect NC…
Just like the video above states, the momentum against Amendment One, the proposed anti-LGBT, anti-family, anti-children, anti-business amendment to the North Carolina Constitution is growing. With each passing day, more and more North Carolinians — elected officials, business leaders and voters — are standing up against the amendment and the harms it will cause to the citizens and residents of the Tar Heel State.
Such was the case this week when the Town of Chapel Hill passed a resolution opposing the amendment, following in the footsteps of Greensboro and other municipalities. And, believe or not, Bank of America has spoken out, too…Activists in Charlotte have already spoken out and asked the Charlotte City Council and Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners to take similar steps and pass resolutions speaking out against Amendment One. Conversations are happening behind the scenes, but real action and real political courage have yet to take a firm hold in Charlotte.
Now, more pressure is being brought to bear as citizens asktheir elected representatives in Charlotte to, finally, take a stand that should have been taken a long, long time ago.
John Michael Watkins is a Charlotte native, a resident of Chapel Hill and a student at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He’s taken to the premier progressive grassroots action site, Change.org, to encourage Charlotte’s city council and Mecklenburg County’s board of commissioners to take a stand against Amendment One.
I’ve signed the petitions asking Charlotte and Mecklenburg County to pass resolutions opposing Amendment One, and I encourage you to do the same. When citizens speak out, their elected representatives will listen. Click the links below to be taken to the two different petitions, affix your name and signature and ask Charlotte and Mecklenburg County to take a stand for what is right and what is just. If speaking out against Amendment One is good enough for Bank of America — one of Charlotte’s largest employers and most significant, national namesakes — then it is should be good enough for our elected representatives…
In addition to signing the petitions, you might be interested in sending a personal note to your elected representatives. Their contact information is below, and be sure to check out this past post for a sample letter you can adapt when contacting them. As noted in that sample letter, be sure you ask the Charlotte City Council to also consider a public vote on an LGBT-inclusive employment non-discrimination ordinance, a measure that has yet to be taken up by the council despite repeated requests from citizens, city employees and activists over the years.
Charlotte City Council
Mayor Anthony R. Foxx
Mayor Pro Tem Patrick D. Cannon, At-Large
Council Member Claire Green Fallon, At-Large
Council Member David Howard, At-Large
Council Member Beth Pickering, At-Large
Council Member Patsy B. Kinsey, District 1
704-336-3432 or 704-376-5367
Council Member James E. Mitchell, Jr., District 2
Council Member LaWana Mayfield, District 3
Council Member Michael D. Barnes, District 4
Council Member John N. Autry, District 5
Council Member Andy Dulin, District 6
Council Member Warren Cooksey, District 7
Mecklenburg County Commission
Harold Cogdell, Jr., Chairman
Jim Pendergraph, Vice Chairman
Jennifer Roberts, At-Large
Karen Bentley, District 1
Vilma Leake, District 2
George Dunlap, District 3
Dumont Clark, District 4
Neil Cooksey, District 5
Bill James, District 6
[Note: Video above is a March 15, 2012, re-release of the original March 13, 2012, video shared in this post.]
Filmographer Eric Preston has released a lengthy video recounting the day back in February when Republican Wake County Board of Commissioners Chairman Paul Coble brought forth a resolution in support of North Carolina’s anti-LGBT constitutional amendment.
Coble, a nephew of the late, great hater U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms (R), is also running for the Republican nomination in North Carolina’s 13th Congressional District.
Three takeaways from the video:
- Embarrassing: “King Paul” Coble’s knowledge (or lack thereof) of the law, of the harms of the amendment he supports and his inability to run an orderly public meeting is an embarrassment and disgrace to the citizens of Wake County and North Carolina.
- Arrogant: “King Paul” Coble’s treatment of his fellow commissioners and his Wake County constituents is nothing short of arrogant. His attempts to silence public comment and his fellow commissioners, his continual ignoring of citizens’ remarks and his refusal to allow a roll-call vote on the amendment speak to his Coble’s character — one that is willing to push his and only his agenda at the expense of all other people and considerations.
- Dangerous: His inability to run an orderly meeting and his refusal to allow a roll-call vote are sure signs of how “King Paul” Coble views his place in government. He is not a representative of the people. He is not a custodian of the law. He is not a public servant in representative democratic government. No. No. He is a monarch whose will must be obeyed. Such a mindset is dangerous to citizens and to the very fabric of our republic.