Week three of the North Carolina General Assembly’s 2011 session is coming to a close. Though GOP leadership has allowed plenty of attacks on the poor, communities of color and immigrant communities, they’ve not yet touched the LGBT community.

GOP legislators were ushered into the General Assembly last November with the promise of creating new jobs and balancing the budget. So far, no jobs and it seems the only person doing much of anything to solve our $3.7 $2.7 billion budget shortfall is Gov. Perdue.

By all means, I’m not happy about the GOP’s unfulfilled promises on jobs (I just wonder how many of those voters who chose them are even paying attention), but I’m phenomenally thankful we haven’t yet been forced to deal with any anti-LGBT legislation. That doesn’t mean it’s not coming, and we have only the good and hard work of groups like Equality North Carolina and their allies to thank.

We’ll see what next week brings.

P.S. — Have you signed up to attend Equality North Carolina’s Day of Action? If not, unfortunately, the registration deadline has already passed. But, I’m sure they wouldn’t mind if you still decided to show up. Learn more: equalitync.org/events2/day-of-action-2011

On Monday, both the North Carolina House and Senate adopted resolutions honoring the Boy Scouts of America in recognition of their 101st anniversary yesterday.

Unsurprisingly, neither resolution (House, Senate) mentions the Scouts’ anti-gay and religious discrimination against youth members and adult leaders. And, unsurprisingly yet again, not a single member of the legislature had the courage or conviction to vote against the resolution.

Dear state lawmakers, do you actually care about children — all children — or just the straight and religious ones?

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N.C. GOP, is this the week for jobs?

Despite all the high-minded, feel-good rhetoric last fall about creating new jobs and saving the state from a budget crisis, one would be hard-pressed to find any evidence last week that GOP leaders in the North Carolina House and Senate were gung-ho about tackling what they’ve described as the number one legislative agenda item.

Newly-elected House Speaker Thom Tillis even wore and passed out to other legislators rubber bracelets that read, “Think Jobs” on the opening day of the new legislation session last week. He told his colleagues to snap themselves with it if they found themselves thinking about anything other than the economy.

From the list of introduced bills in both the House and Senate last week, the North Carolina taxpayer is left wondering: Exactly who’s paying for the doctor visits resulting from the bruises and lacerations from too much bracelet-snapping?

Out of 26 bills introduced last week, not a single piece of House or Senate legislation dealt with jobs, the economy or the state budget, which, by the way, faces a $3.7 billion shortfall this year. What GOP leaders did have time to do, apparently, was start in earnest their attacks on the poor, undocumented young people, community college students and public education.

Republicans’ election into the majority was clearly prompted by economic issues; the people spoke firmly. Voters want legislators to deal with pressing issues like job creation, the reversal of a downtrodden economy and the creation of a state budget that solves gaps while maintaining much-needed human services.

For all their usual talk about “mandates” from voters, Republicans sure did prove themselves uncaring last week. Legislators return to Raleigh this evening and tomorrow to start a new week doing the people’s business. Perhaps this week will be their turn-around: Lay off the social agenda and get to work for the people.

Update (01/31/2011, 8:14 a.m.): Why even get my hopes up? Carolina Journal: “NCGA Preview: Week of January 31. Health care, property rights, and charter schools top agenda.”

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Back when Democrat Heath Shuler was running for U.S. House there was an awful lot of talk about how having any Democrat would be better than any Republican. Of course, it really doesn’t matter when the Democrat being elected is just as conservative as the Republican he replaced.

Shuler’s 11th District covers the western-most tip of North Carolina. It is a conservative district, no doubt, and he has to answer to the constituents who put him in office. But his anti-LGBT and other conservative stances make him more foe than a friend, something the Democratic Party doesn’t need as more and more LGBT people find the party distrustful and slow to tackle our civil rights.

Continue reading this post…

All is not calm on the American Family Association front. Their “news” website, OneNewsNow.com, published a “story” (read: horrible piece of journalism) on the issue of comprehensive or abstinence-only sex education in North Carolina.

While the writer, Charlie Butts, gives plenty of speaking time for the N.C. Policy Research Council’s Jere Royall (nice guy, by the way) to spout out some talking points, Butts fails to mention why the story is even a story: The N.C. General Assembly is currently hearing a bill called the Healthy Youth Act. It has already passed through some preliminary committee hearings. If it becomes law it will replace North Carolina’s abstinence-only education with abstinence-based comprehensive sex education.

But, the real story of the OneNewsNow.com piece lies in the comments. It seems all the blind sheep at AFA’s propaganda machine aren’t all blind:

Preaching abstinence is not education, it is preaching. And it does not work. All the information that is available needs to be supplied to children. The role of the parent and educator is to supply information and teach them to make good decisions, not to withhold information.

More sticking their heads in the sand as states with abstinence only educations have the highest teen pregnancy rates.

In Gaston County, North Carolina, 500 teens became pregnant 2007. Gaston County students are only exposed to abstinence education, and contraception options are not added to the curriculum. Even the Gaston County Health Director, Colleen Bridger, admits that without better sex education, teen pregnancy numbers in the county will not drop. Bridger goes on to say: “Counties in North Carolina that teach comprehensive sex education have lower teen pregnancy rates than Gaston County. Research shows abstinence-only education doesn’t work, and I think it is time for Gaston County to try what the research shows works.”

Oddly enough, 9 out of the top 10 states with the highest teen pregnancy rates were red states which leaned heavily on abstinance-only education. They also were southern “Bible-belt” states.

There’s really no way to know if these are conservative folks making comments or progressive folks. I’m just suprised they haven’t been censored away yet.

The radically conservative Christian Action League continues to foam at the mouth, lying through their teeth in order to scare the jeepers out of their blind followers.

In a “news” piece on their website, the League claims that the North Carolina School Violence Prevention Act (a.k.a. “the anti-bullying bill”) will require schools to teach that homosexuality is normal:

The bill requires local school boards to amend their existing bullying policies to include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity or expression.” The measure would not only create a protected status in North Carolina’s public schools for homosexuality, bisexuality, cross dressing and other alternative sexual behaviors, but would also require schools to teach that these behaviors are normal and acceptable.

Although I’d certainly have no problem with such a bill, the cold, hard truth is none like that exists. The School Violence Prevention Act in no way mentions anything about teaching students about homosexuality or LGBT issues. Read the bill for yourself.

On the Healthy Youth Act, a bill that would implement comprehensive sex ed in schools, the Christian Action League claims, erroneously, that the bill would require students to learn about homosexuality. Why on earth are us queer folks always the punching bag for these blowhards?

It’s sad, really, that groups like the “Christian” Action League have to resort to lies in order to prove their case. I’m pretty sure that lying was one of those commandments from God Moses delivered to the people. Maybe the Christian Action League got an abridged version.

Equality North Carolina Executive Director Ian Palmquist blasts N.C. state Rep. Paul “Skip” Stam for taking too much time to worry about marriage when there are so many other pressing issues on the table:

The 2009 legislative session has just begun and our state faces huge challenges: rising unemployment, a growing budget shortfall, crumbling infrastructure, and a broken mental health system, to name a few.

So what does NC House Republican Leader Paul Stam spend his time worrying about? Creating jobs? Repairing bridges? Helping those who’ve lost everything in the downturn?

Nope. He’s too busy making sure that my partner and I don’t have-and will never have-any rights or recognition in this state.

Yep, within the first hours of the session, Stam made clear that writing anti-gay discrimination into North Carolina’s constitution was a top priority for him this session.

He doesn’t have real ideas or solutions for dealing with the huge problems we’ve got, but he has a plan to “save” marriage. (He hasn’t managed to explain how letting more loving, committed couples participate in the institution of marriage will damage it in any way, but never mind that.)

What Stam and his cronies don’t like to talk about is that their proposal isn’t just about denying equal access to marriage for same-sex couples. It’s about denying absolutely any sort of recognition or protection for those couples.

No civil union. No domestic partnership. No joint health insurance.

Read the rest at NC Policy Watch.

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Is Planned Parenthood crazy?

A N.C. House committee has given their tentative approval to a new specialty license plate. A portion of the new “Choose Life” (as in “pro-life,” anti-abortion) tag’s proceeds would be donated to crisis pregnancy (i.e. anti-abortion) care centers.

Planned Parenthood speaks (h/t CapBlog):

Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina spokeswoman Paige Johnson said her group opposes the bill and believes legislative leaders won’t support allocating money for centers that fail to provide information to women about all of their options if they are pregnant.

If Planned Parenthood really believes that, then they are out of their minds.

One sizable constituency and voting bloc
+ One bill that voting bloc loves
Instant Political Capital

Yeah. Planned Parenthood has barely a chance. Maybe they should work on a “Defend Choice” tag. Let’s see how much the Right goes stark-raving mad then. Actually… that would be kind of funny to watch.