Yes, as expected the professional anti-gays, in this case Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, rev up the cash machine, purchasing time on 20 NC radio stations to encourage legislators to support the toxic anti-gay marriage amendment.

The ads, which will run from today through Monday, ask voters to call their state legislators and urge them to vote for adding a marriage amendment to the ballot next year.  The ad also encourages listeners to attend a rally at 11 a.m. Eastern on Monday, September 12 outside of the statehouse.

Two versions of the ad are running, including one voiced by Pastor Patrick L. Wooden, Sr., of the Upper Room Church of God in Christ in Raleigh, NC. The ads will run in the districts of State Reps. Chuck McGrady, Michael Wray, Winkie Wilkins, Annie Mobley, Garland Pierce, Elmer Floyd, Larry Bell, Charles Graham, Earline Parmon, Jim Crawford, Glen Bradley and State Sen. Eric Mansfield.

The ad script says:

“Marriage is at risk in our state. Our laws defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman could be overturned. Marriage between one man and one woman benefits families in society so we must preserve the marriage laws in our state Constitution.

“On September 12, the North Carolina legislature will vote on putting a marriage amendment to a vote of the people. Powerful voices in our state capitol are threatening your right to vote on marriage. Take a stand for marriage. Call [your representative] and ask [them] to vote yes to the marriage amendment. It’s not about party, it’s about marriage.

“And on September 12, join us for a rally supporting marriage at 11 a.m. in front of the legislative building in Raleigh. Bring a sign and take a stand for marriage.”

To listen to the ads, visit

Of the ad campaign, FRC Action President Tony Perkins said:

Marriage is the fundamental building block of our society. Children grow up with the greatest emotional stability in households with a loving and committed mother and father. Married couples rely less on government programs, and contribute to society rather than depending on the welfare state.

“North Carolina invests in itself when it allows its citizens to vote on protecting and defending marriage. We urge the legislature to take this important step for their state, and join the majority of states nationwide in approving a ballot vote on marriage.”

So how would allowing gay and lesbian couples marry not benefit society if  “married couples rely less on government programs, and contribute to society rather than depending on the welfare state”?

I see that Earline Parmon (D-Forsyth) is one of the legislators targeted. I had the displeasure of witnessing Parmon in 2009 try to explain her support for a marriage amendment. I’ve heard that she has since changed her view on the matter, but these ads from the FRC will no doubt put pressure on her and others in similar positions to support the amendment. From my NC Pride keynote speech that year, the epic problem of conflating church and state that still exists in our General Assembly:

It was equally eye-opening when longtime social justice activist Mandy Carter and I, along with several black gay and lesbian attendees, visited two members of the NC legislative black caucus during Equality NC’s Day of action earlier this year. I will preface this by saying that these members are strongly there for us on other pro-LGBT issues, but the matter of the state marriage amendment bill by some members of the black caucus is clearly a land mine. To our faces we were told by respected chair Rep. Alma Adams that LGBT issues are not “the caucus’s issues” — as in social justice issues — and another Rep. Earline Parmon, who supports the marriage amendment bill, justified it by saying she is a minister.

That last statement sucked the air out of the room. To have an elected official answer a constituent’s question by indicating she doesn’t understand the separation of church and state; well, that’s tragic. When I blogged about this, many asked how did we maintain our composure in the face of answers like this.

Honestly, when we left and sat down to talk about what we experienced, the shared feeling was how hurtful it was to be rendered “less-than” to our faces. I think the day taught us all a valuable lesson that spending “face time” with lawmakers to share our stories is essential, and for black LGBTs it’s critical — it’s not an option to be rendered silent and invisible.

Affirming religion

Religion itself is not to blame for this; I want to note that it is wonderful to see so many houses of worship represented here today at the booths and in the parade — give them a hand — it’s a beautiful sight to see so many affirming allies of faith here to counter the image of religious “bigotry by bullhorn” and “turn or burn” crowds who believe that hell and damnation await us.

The presence of these open and affirming houses of worship is proof that our side will win this fight for equality. The problem these anti-gay churches have is their myopic worldview — they believe that there is only one Christian POV that should govern how all of us should live (never mind any other faiths, they don’t think that far).

And that comes back to the vitriol of Pastor Patrick L. Wooden, Sr., of the Upper Room Church of God in Christ, one of the voices in these Family Research Council radio ads. I’ve blogged about this purported man of faith before. He’s a rent-a-rev who never fails to get face time with the professional bigot brigade. Look at this nonsense.

At a Wake school board hearing in October, they booed anyone who disagreed with the board’s abstinence-only policy. At a Raleigh City Council meeting in April, they cheered when homosexuality was described as “evil.” Church members were glad the school board backed away from teaching tolerance for homosexuality. They weren’t so pleased when the City Council voted to allow one of its commissions to add a sexual orientation nondiscrimination clause to its mission statement.

When the Rev. Julie Denny-Hughes got up at a school hearing to speak in defense of a broader sex education curriculum, members of the Upper Room stomped noisily. … “I believe they have every right to hold fast to their religious beliefs,” said Denny-Hughes of Raleigh’s Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. “But they don’t have the right to shut down open, democratic public debate. That’s wrong — really wrong.”

If we’re labeled as being fanatical Christians, we embrace it,” [Rev. Patrick Wooden] said. His church has one of Raleigh’s largest black congregations, with about 3,000 members. “We’re not afraid of labels. We will speak the truth in love and make our positions known as a Christian church.” .. .At a recent church luncheon devoted to homosexuality, about 200 participants were handed booklets printed by the church titled, “Disarming and Defeating the Homosexual Theology.” Wooden told the group it was time to “get our hands dirty.” “We have to block the use of euphemisms when we talk about homosexuals,” he said. “They are not gay. We’ve got to use terms like ‘deviant’ and ‘abomination.’ “

He’s not only anti-gay, but he’s a religious supremacist who believes his POV is the only path to salvation (and secular governance). He actually spent $7600 on a “put the Christ in Christmas” ad several years ago. How many homeless people could that money have fed?

“There is a revival taking place in our nation that is causing Christian and right-minded people to say, `Wait a minute. We’ve gone too far,'” says the Rev. Patrick Wooden Sr., pastor of the Raleigh church. “We’re not going to allow the country to continue this downward spiral to the left.”

But to many, the threats and demands that stores put up “Merry Christmas” signs are no laughing matter.

Why not simply require stores owned by Jews to put a gold star in their ads and on their storefronts?” the Rev. Jim Melnyk, associate rector of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Raleigh, wrote in a letter to the editor.

* Make this viral: anti-gay pastor Johnny “two locks” Hunter on the biology of protecting marriage
* The right’s persistent obsession with sex (NC Policy Watch)
* Pastor Donald “Faggot!” Fozard and Herald-Sun columnist rail about Council’s marriage equality vote
* The institutionalized homophobia that some lawmakers in NC want to see expanded
* NC: The Truth About the Discriminatory, Job-Killing, Harmful, Family-Unfriendly, Divisive, Anti-LGBT Marriage Amendment

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding