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
The Charlotte Observer last week noted their slate of 36 different awards and honors from the N.C. Press Association. Among them was columnist Peter St. Onge, who was honored with awards for three columns on LGBT issues — two in the serious columns category and one in the lighter columns category.
The first serious column honor included one on his gay brother and his impending marriage in New York. A snippet:
This week, N.C. legislators dug in harder on keeping the wedding day away from gays, approving a constitutional amendment outlawing homosexual marriage that will go before voters next May. Our state already has a law against gay marriage, of course, but a consititutional amendment is harder to change than a simple law. Gay marriage opponents know it’s their best chance at defending an institution they believe is under attack.
That’s a word – attack – that sneaks often into this gay marriage debate. And also this word: agenda. It’s how those who fear homosexuality separate gays from the rest of us, by painting them as “others,” as an occupying force that wants to diminish the things we hold important.
St. Onge was also honored for his serious column on the Mecklenburg County Commission’s inadequate response to Commissioner Bill James’ “sexual predator” comments. The kicker:
What did politeness accomplish Tuesday night? We got a thoughtfully worded resolution that opposed, in principle, speech that could hurt others. We also saw several members of Charlotte’s gay community speak eloquently on the issue and remind everyone, with their presence, that there’s pain at the other end of the arrows people fling.
Lastly, St. Onge’s lighter column on Wells Fargo’s rainbow lights show on its Uptown Duke Energy Building on National Coming Out Day in October 2010 also received a nod. In it, St. Onge recounted Wells Fargo’s fumbling over questions about who requested and decided to “light the Southern city’s evening sky with a 48-story stamp of approval for a gay and lesbian event.”
Congratulations, Peter! And, thank you. Charlotte is much better place because of your outspokenness and word wizardry.
Today, MeckPAC, the Mecklenburg Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Political Action Committee, of which I am a member, released the following statement. It is, in part, a response to comments made this morning by Mecklenburg County Commissioner Bill James, as reported by The Charlotte Observer.
Charlotte City Council and Mecklenburg County Commission need to take stand against constitutional amendment
Local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy group encourages elected officials to pass resolutions opposing Amendment One
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — MeckPAC, the Mecklenburg Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Political Action Committee, is calling on the Charlotte City Council and Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners to take a strong stand against discrimination by passing resolutions opposing Amendment One, the anti-LGBT, anti-family and anti-business constitutional amendment slated for the May 8, 2012, primary ballot.
Amendment One would require that the state recognize opposite-sex marriage as the “only domestic legal union” in the state. Legal professionals and scholars have said the vague and overly-broad language of the amendment would ban marriage, civil unions and domestic partnership benefits for both unmarried same-sex couples and unmarried opposite-sex couples.
The amendment would also ban domestic partner benefits currently offered to public employees by local governments like Mecklenburg County. It is vitally important for the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners to defend their LGBT employees who depend on county domestic partner benefits in order to provide healthcare and other needs for their families and children. The amendment would also prevent governments like Charlotte, which has been debating domestic partner benefits, from extending such measures to employees in the future.
Several local elected leaders have spoken out personally against the amendment, including Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx. Speaking at the Human Rights Campaign Carolina Gala on Saturday, Feb. 25, Foxx said: “When I go into the ballot box in May … I’m going to be voting against Amendment One.” Last fall, Mecklenburg County Commissioner and then-Chairman Jennifer Roberts signed on to a letter with six other municipal government leaders from across the state urging legislators not to place the amendment on the ballot, noting that the amendment would “threaten important protections for contributing North Carolina citizens, and will significantly harm the future of our state.”
On June 1, 2004, the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution in support of the then-proposed anti-LGBT constitutional amendment. At the time, local LGBT leaders called on the county to reverse its decision and David Moore, then-editor of QNotes, Charlotte’s local LGBT community newspaper, called the resolution a “shameful, embarrassing blot on the face of the Queen City” showing “contempt and prejudice sanctioned by the government.”
The 2004 resolution has never been reversed and remains just as shameful and embarrassing today as it did eight years ago.
MeckPAC calls on the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners to reverse their 2004 position and, with the City of Charlotte, join with leaders like Mayor Foxx and Commissioner Roberts in passing a resolution opposing Amendment One and its many potential harms to North Carolina families and children, residents, citizens and businesses.
Similar resolutions and official statements opposing the anti-LGBT Amendment One have already been approved by the elected bodies of Carrboro, Chapel Hill, Durham, Greensboro and Raleigh.
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