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Marching past the Queen City

On February 9, the Asheville City Council voted 4-2 to begin a study of the costs and implementation of domestic partner benefits for LGBT city employees and their partners. Their move last week is quite similar to Mecklenburg County Commissioners’ strategy when first looking into the same issue back in January 2009. After a year of research, Mecklenburg officials voted in December to extend domestic partner benefits.

Of course, Mecklenburg’s decision didn’t come without the obligatory controversy from resident board conservative, Bill James. His “homo” remarks to fellow Commissioner Vilma Leake spawned calls for some sort of disciplinary action. Regardless, the benefits succeeded and will be offered starting in 2011.

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Public prayer losing ground in North Carolina?

buncombecountysealCounty commissioners in the sleepy, liberal town of Asheville, N.C., have made a “consensus” decision to end public prayer at their meetings.

The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners are set to bring the topic up for official discussion on Jan. 5. They’ll likely vote to stop opening board meetings with prayer. The move comes after a federal magistrate recommended a similar public prayer policy in Winston-Salem, N.C., violated the the First Amendment.

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That’s right. I feel honored.

Not only is InterstateQ.com featured in this month’s OutInAsheville Spotlight, we are also featured right along side such well-known sites as my friends at Pam’s House Blend and PageOneQ, as well as 365gay.com and Chris Crain.

Here’s what writer Maxwell Powell says about us:

InterstateQ.com serves as both a an internet community for the masses and a personal website for Matt Hill Comer, one of SoulForce’s Equality Riders and an NC native. Matt is a student at UNC-Greensboro and is the Executive Director/Co-Founder of the NC Advocacy Coalition. Most recently he has been blogging about his experience as an Equality Rider. InterstateQ.com is devoted to LGBT news, events, and opinions through a youth and activist perspective. Matt’s writings have been featured or included in numerous media outlets. Since coming out at age 14, he has worked with various organizations to create social awareness on LGBT issues and make his community, state and nation a more accepting and equal place for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. He longs for “the day when our beloved nation will live up to its ideals of equality, liberty and justice for all by full heartedly treating, respecting, accepting and valuing LGBT Americans as equally and as fairly as straight Americans.”

Check out the full Spotlight here

You should also check out Ann Paige’s OutInAsheville article on the Soulforce Equality Ride visit to Montreat College in Montreat, NC, which is just outside Asheville, NC.

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A closet homosexual who hates gay people

Charles TaylorThis has got to be the most hilarious and creative and just downright hilarious (did I say that already?) political ad I have ever heard in my entire life (yeah, I know… all 20 years of it).

Charles Taylor has got to be livid.

Here’s the full version and here is the radio-edit.

Compliments of TaylorSucks.org.

You know… I laughed pretty hard when I heard those radio and television ads by Vernon Robinson. I mean those were funny. What else could make you laugh besides something straight from the mind of an insanely right-wing nutcase? This ad beats them all though. I’m hoping it gets real air-time.

PS – Representative Charles Taylor represents the 11th Congressional District. If you’ll remember back to my Republican Marriage Hypocrisy post and my list of North Carolina Congressional Delegation votes on the House Marriage Protection Amendment, Taylor was one of the folks who voted, of course, for institutionalized, Constitutionalized, government-endorsed and sanctioned discrimination against LGBT Americans.

Oh and by the way… some colleagues and friends of mine just might be thinking of throwing a fiesta when (not “if”) Vernon Robinson loses in November. An election night fiesta for Triad and Triangle area homosexuals? Sounds like a party to me!

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Asheville UMC paster quits in opposition

A United Methodist Church minister in Asheville, NC, is stepping down and resigning from his ordination in the UMC in protest to the church’s opposition to recognizing marriages for same-sex couples.

According to an article in the Asheville Citizen-Times, the Reverend Howard Hanger, pastor of the Jubilee! Community, is resigning from his UMC ordination, although he will continue to be the “spiritual leader” of the congregation.

For more see the Citizen-Times article.