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Rally to protest LGBT workplace discrimination in NC

Blender Ann in Asheville has been following and covering the saga of photographer Laurel Scherer of All Terrain Images, who had a business relationship with Wolf Laurel Ski Area as an independent business taking pictures of skiers and slopes. After marrying her partner in Massachusetts and returning to NC, the Asheville Citizen-Times printed their wedding announcement, and the owners of the resort area, Orville English and Rick Bussey promptly dropped Laurel (but continued to use her work). See my original Blend post on this, Bigotry in NC ski country.

Ann wrote to tell me about yesterday’s rally against workplace discrimination, which was spurred on by the Wolf Laurel incident:

Folks are actively pulling their individual and group ski trips from Wolf Laurel Resort because of their bigotry. But then again, in an article in today’s local paper, they report that Wolf Laurel was so busy yesterday they had to turn people away. I hope that will change soon. Pam, it was inspiring to see so many enthusiastic supporters stand for two hours in freezing temperatures while being whipped about by the wind, snow and sleet.

Here’s Ann’s report, along with pictures:

Yesterday here in the Land O’ the Sky, the weather was horrid! The temperature hovered between 32-33 degrees along with driving snow and sleet accompanying ten mile an hour winds. Brrrrrrrrrrr!! However, it didn’t stop a crowd of over one hundred peaceful protesters from attending a local rally against workplace discrimination for GLBT employees. The rally was sponsored by the North Carolina and Asheville chapters of the National Organization for Women (NOW).

The protest was planned after the much publicized discrimination experienced by All Terrain Images at the Wolf Laurel ski resort and was focused on ending workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Along with Laurel Scherer, owner of All Terrain Images, the agenda included speakers from NOW, Equality NC, supportive local clergy, and many others. In addition, a new Asheville based employment equality group, People for Employment Equality for Gays and Lesbians, was formally introduced at the rally. This group was formed by citizens who are concerned that sexual orientation is not covered under N.C.’s anti-discrimination legislation.

There were many speakers, but one definitely stood out. Rev. Lane Calloway, former state NOW president, urged the men and women of the cloth to take the bold step of ceasing all marriage services, “I ask the fellow clergy present at the rally today to stop and think about the possibility of no longer performing marriage services. You can bless our brothers and sisters that want to marry but stop acting as an agent of the state. It is the only time that the church acts as an agent of the state, no other time. So why the heck are we doing this?” The remark brought cheers and thunderous applause from the rally supporters.

Along with local GLBT publication, Out In Asheville, the protest rally was covered by the national GLBT-focused LOGO channel for an upcoming documentary that focuses on coming out in the workplace and its consequences.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding