Coming out of the ally closet: former U.S. Senate candidate Cal Cunningham’s video against Amendment One
It’s great to see the transformation of an ally over time, and the path Cal Cunningham, who ran for the U.S. Senate in the Dem primary in 2010 (the race where eventual victor Elaine Marshall lost to incumbent Republican Richard Burr). I was determined to get all of the Democratic candidates on the record about their LGBT views, and candidates Elaine Marshall, Ken Lewis, hopped on to the chance to participate in a liveblog and answer questions, and share how they featured LGBT positions on their campaign web sites.
Cal Cunningham’s team for the longest time stayed away from even answering my invitation, until I put their candidate’s face on a milk carton. I was quite aware that Cunningham was, at heart, an ally — after all, he was the only Senate candidate to show up to schmooze at the HRC Carolina’s dinner that year — but whether it was bad advice from those Yankee DSCC consultants or what, he didn’t respond or agree until it was too late.
That’s the story of a lot of allies — they are afraid, whether it’s political homophobia (it will cost them votes), or just personal defensiveness (not knowing how to address homophobic friends/relatives/colleagues) when LGBT issues come up. They just need to gather the strength to “come out of the closet” as allies.
And that’s what Cal Cunningham has done, with the threat of Amendment One to add discrimination to our state’s constitution. He and his wife Elizabeth sat down and made this video, posted on his blog in support of Protect All NC Families:
Amendment One won’t solve a single one of the challenges facing our State. And on May 8th, we have a chance to vote NO.
Rather than educating our children, repairing our economy or preparing our State to compete in a 21st Century workforce, this is radical attempt to amend our State Constitution.
They say it is about protecting marriage – but that’s not true. In their haste to write discrimination into the North Carolina Constitution, Amendment One has real, unintended consequences for families.
Amendment One undermines health care and prescription benefits for children and committed couples. It undermines domestic violence laws. And, it makes it harder to recruit jobs to our State.
That’s why diverse groups ranging from the faith community, to business leaders, to advocates for victims of domestic violence, to the NAACP are speaking out against Amendment One. Please join this effort.
It is OK to wrestle in your heart and with your faith about issues of marriage, civil unions and partnerships.
But writing discrimination into our State Constitution is just plain wrong.
North Carolina has a proud history of overcoming these divisive debates. We never shut our schools during the Civil Rights Era. Growing up in North Carolina, we were taught not to discriminate against our fellow citizens.
Then, on May 8th, vote to Protect ALL North Carolina families. Vote NO on Amendment One.
Thank you, Cal and Elizabeth — may this spur more allies to make public statements like this.
Also coming out against Amendment is Bob Etheridge, former US Congressman from the 2nd District:
“We actually have a statute on the books that says a marriage is between a man and a woman, which I agree with.” Etheridge said. “There is no need to have a constitutional amendment that is broader than what we have and it is not something I can support. It’s too much. It’s not good for our state. We’ve already heard from our business community. It also impacts cities and towns that are already providing benefits.”