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NC: Marriage amendment sponsor State Sen. James Forrester passes away

UPDATE – 2:25 PM ET: The Greensboro News & Record reports that Forrester has died at the age of 74. Reaction from NC GOP site:

“Jim was a dear friend who I respected and admired. He had a long and distinguished career serving the people of North Carolina. The thoughts and prayers of everyone at the North Carolina Republican Party are with Mary Frances and the Forrester family tonight.”

It’s tragic that the man didn’t leave this earth with a more compassionate view of humanity. Even in this terrible, emotional situation for Forrester’s family, his anti-gay wife, Mary Frances, made it publicly and politically clear with the “go out with his boots on and support the causes in which he believed to his last breath” comment that she was ensuring the public that there would be no deathbed conversion regarding the discrimination amendment or his views of the civil rights of LGBT North Carolinians.

I’m not sure why Mrs. Forrester felt the need to politicize her husband’s health decline and passing like this; it would certainly not be foremost on my mind in this kind of situation, but there you have it. It’s quite sad.

The primary sponsor in the NC Senate who pushed for years to get an amendment to discriminate against LGBT families in North Carolina on the ballot — and succeeded this year — is gravely ill. WRAL:

State Senator Jim Forrester, R-Gaston, is in intensive care this morning, according to his family. Reports from a local news site said the senator had suffered cranial bleeding and is on life support.

Reached at the Forrester home, the senator’s sister-in-law, Sally Beach, could not confirm those details. She could only say that he’s in ICU and that the family has been called in. “”They’re scattered all over the place – they’re trying to gather,” she said.

The 11-term senator, who called Asheville “a cesspool of sin” and has had his professional credentials challenged for misrepresentation (see Blend coverage), has been ill for some time, but he continued focusing on his efforts in the Senate in support of the marriage amendment, even going on the Mike Signorile Show to (poorly) explain his rationale for supporting adding discrimination into the Constitution.

There is notable additional information reported by News@Norman.Com (Lake Norman, NC’s newspaper; Forrester’s district includes Lake Norman):

“We all know how ill he has been, but he continued to work in the Senate. He told Mary Frances (his wife) that he wanted to go out with his boots on and support the causes in which he believed to his last breath,” the friend stated.


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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding