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NC city councilman calls for state marriage amendment

Here in the Tar Heel state we’ve halted efforts to pass a marriage amendment bill — it’s been killed in committee three times now. This irks a Thomasville city councilman to no end. He wants the civil rights of a segment of taxpaying citizens determined by popular vote, so on Monday he’s encouraging the city council to pass a resolution on the matter to alert the legislature to “protect marriage.”

Dwight Cornelison says he could accept it if voters turned an amendment away at the ballot box. It’s actually not a particularly courageous statement to make, since it’s likely that a measure would succeed if put to a public vote. (News14Carolina):

“I think it is an issue that should be decided by our culture, by our society,” said Thomasville City Council member Dwight Cornelison.

On Monday night, the council will vote on a resolution that, if passed, would encourage state lawmakers to allow North Carolina residents to decide on the definition of marriage.

“I favor marriage being defined between one man and one woman, however if the citizens of North Carolina voted a different way, I would not like it, but I could live with it knowing we the people decided it,” Cornelison said.

He’s worried about those activist judges, you know.

Matt Hill Comer of the NC Advocacy Coalition is on the case. NCAC also announced that Matt and will be appearing at a community forum at the The Triad Business and Professional Guild’s October meeting on the 19th, co-sponsored by Equality NC ( and the Guilford Green Foundation (

The subject sounds like it will generate a lot of discussion — Is it OK to be gay? And Republican? Participants: Patrick Sammon (Executive Vice President of the national Log Cabin Republicans and The Liberty Education Forum), Rollin Kibbe (President of Triangle Log Cabin Republicans), Matt Hill Comer (student at UNCG and member of UNCG PRIDE as well as Executive Director of the NC Advocacy Coalition) and Andrew Spainhour (Board Member Equality NC and Legal Counsel Replacements LTD). Also invited to attend is Guilford County Republican Chair Marcus Kindley.

It will be held at the Greensboro/High Point Marriott. More details at the EqualityNC site.

I’d like to know how any gay person could be Republican in this state. Look at the party platform:

We believe homosexual behavior is not normal and should not be established as an acceptable “alternative” lifestyle either in public education or in public policy. We do not believe public schools should be used to teach children that homosexual behavior is normal. We do not believe that taxpayers should fund benefit plans for unmarried partners. We oppose special treatment by law based on nothing other than homosexual behavior or identity. We support federal and state constitutional amendments to ensure that marriage is limited to the union of one man and one woman. We oppose attempts to legitimize homosexual relationships by placing such relationships on an equal footing with marriage. We oppose the adoption of children by same sex couples.

So, to answer the question those at the community forum will be debating, being gay and Republican is an unbelievably tough sell in this state if you actually believe in equality.

At last year’s NCPride, I stepped over to the Triangle Log Cabin Republicans table to honestly ask one of them what kind of progress they are making since the NC GOP is beyond hostile. Here’s a snippet of what I posted then.

I went up to Jami Taylor, secretary of the LCR chapter. She’s on Equality NC’s board of directors, and a PhD student at North Carolina State University, her research focused on transgender related public policy. I asked her what kind of progress they are making, given the hostility with which the party hierarchy despises homos. We’re talking about a party that wouldn’t even allow the LCR to set up a table at the state convention last year or this year. N.C. GOP Chairman Ferrell Blount was famously quoted as saying:

“I reviewed what the Log Cabin national Web site was advocating and promoting and in my opinion, it is diametrically opposed to the values of the North Carolina Republican Party… As state party chairman, I support the definition of marriage as being a union sanctioned by God between a man and a woman. That is what the Republican Party talks about in its platform and will talk about this weekend.”

Jami did manage to find a positive note on the slight by saying that the LCR aired a 30-second response commercial in Asheville where the convention was held this year to spur discussion by challenging the party not to “follow Jerry Falwell, Pat Buchanan and Rick Santorum’s lead by dividing the GOP with an intolerant social agenda based on fear and exclusion.”

…I told her that the LCRs have a LOT of work to do in NC, since there are zero prospective GOP candidates worth backing in 2006 that aren’t good-old-boy homophobes. Her last attempt to convince me of any meager progress to bring the party from the twilight zone of wingnuttery is that Republican Senator Stan Bingham of Denton signed on to a bill in March which would add sexual orientation to the protection from discrimination employees of the North Carolina General Assembly would receive. The LCR site notes that two other Republican senators signed on that day, but later withdrew their support.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding