U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) released a statement to mainstream and LGBT media and bloggers this week outlining her opposition to the state’s proposed anti-LGBT constitutional amendment.
From Hagan’s office:
In today’s hyperpartisan political environment, I view any attempt to alter our state constitution with a critical eye. Amendment One has far-reaching negative consequences for our families, our children and our communities. North Carolina is one of the most business-friendly states in the nation, and this amendment would harm our state’s ability to recruit the innovators and businesses that are driving our economic recovery. Jobs are my number one priority, and we cannot afford totake our eye off the ball and give businesses a reason to grow and expand elsewhere. The people I hear from everyday – the families that make up the fabric of the Old North State – tell me they are sick and tired of watching their jobs and their livelihoods fall victim to divisive partisan posturing. In North Carolina we say our state is “Where the weak grow strong and the strong grow great.” Amendment One harms our state’s resolve to make all people and all families great, and as a proud daughter of North Carolina, I urge all North Carolinians to join me in opposing it.
The statement comes as the Human Rights Campaign is set to hold its Carolina Gala in Charlotte on Saturday, Feb. 25.
Local leaders, too, have taken a stab at speaking out, saying they are “on board for equality” in a “Welcome to Charlotte” video released by HRC this week. The video includes Mayor Anthony Foxx, Mecklenburg County Commissioners Jennifer Roberts and Dumont Clarke, City Councilmembers Patsy Kinsey and LaWana Mayfield and state Rep. Becky Carney. There’s still no word on how “on board for equality” some local leaders are, and if such rhetoric extends to using their offices and votes to take a greater stand for equality (see my commentary last week in Creative Loafing, “Queen City? She’s no reigning monarch when it comes to LGBT equality”),
Owen Sutkowski will officially kick off his campaign for Charlotte City Council on May 28. He might just be Charlotte’s first openly gay man on a ballot for city election.
But a couple Q-Notes readers say a man named Robert Sheets ran as an openly gay man on the ballot in 1989. In the 1990s, an open lesbian ran as a write-in candidate.
FOX Charlotte reports that the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections doesn’t keep records as far back as 1989, so they weren’t able to confirm. My job today: a search through the newspaper’s archives. It is a painstaking task; something I’m not looking forward to. But duty calls.
What is truly amazing, though, is that Sutkowski is also the youngest candidate for city election ever. At only 26, he’s embarking on a run to defeat a Democratic incumbent and win a seat on council for the largest city in the Carolinas.