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NC – Tami Fitzgerald and Amendment One: earning a paycheck cultivating bigotry

I almost feel sorry for people like Tami Fitzgerald (@tamifitzgerald), Executive Director of the bible-beating, womb-controlling, LGBT-hating North Carolina Values Coalition. Its pro-Amendment One arm led by Fitzgerald is called, and it was recently caught crowing about fomenting its message of hate via the “Values Bus” to small children with candy and gifts.

Actually, I can’t feel sorry for someone who earns a pay day trying to deny other North Carolinians basic civil rights. And certainly not someone who is political bedmates with the tiresome, fact-challenged, anus-obsessed, anti-gay rent-a-pastor PatrickGlory Holes Wooden of Raleigh’s Upper Room Church of Christ in God, whose school hosted that Values Bus this week.

Fitzgerald can try to spin the Elon poll released on Friday that most North Carolinians oppose the Amendment, which is on the ballot on May 8, but she — and other people who think NC is just full of fundie — are sorely mistaken if they think the matter of “saving marriage” is a high priority for voters. From News14Carolina, it’s the economy, stupid:

Most important issue facing North Carolina

– Economy (Jobs, Unemployment, etc.): 52.8 percent
– Elementary and secondary education: 15.8 percent
– Energy and gas prices: 4.2 percent
– Taxes: 3.4 percent
– Health Care: 2.1 percent
– Family values and morals: 1.3 percent
– Crime and drugs: 1.2 percent
– Others: 13.1 percent

But Tami forges on, with the fear and smear tactics — including the preposterous angle that without this amendment barring gays and lesbians from marrying (and any legal recognition) there will be an escalating attack on “religious freedom.” Blend contributor Scott Rose, who notes a bit later that Fitzgerald has a law degree, tried mightily to receive reality-based information from Fitzgerald about her organization’s notion that Christians will be under fire, but she refused to engage. That’s no surprise. From “Tami Fitzgerald Of N.C. Values Coalition Could Be Endangering Children“:

Recently on its Facebook page, the North Carolina Values Coalition posted this statement; “legalizing gay marriage would take away the right of Christian psychologists to refuse treatment on the basis of their religious beliefs.”

What exactly does that mean?

I e-mailed Tami Fitzgerald, explaining that I was working on an article about this and wanted to be able to include quotes from her.

I asked 1) Which rights of Christian psychologists to refuse treatment was your organization referencing in the post?  2) In a general way, which rights for Christian psychologist does your organization most strongly want to see permanently protected?  3) Are you able to recommend any Christian psychologists in North Carolina that I might interview to gain an understanding of their viewpoint?  4) Can you refer me to any particularly good articles on that topic?

Fitzgerald refused to answer those questions.

Fitzgerald’s organization’s web site includes a video by Focus on the Family’s Glenn Stanton in which he alleges that everything professional modern medical associations say about sexual orientation is ‘wrong.” It defies belief that anybody could listen to Glenn Stanton for fifteen seconds without having the thought that he is a closet case. For reader reference, here is an article “Assessing Internalized Sexual Stigma (“internalized Homophobia”) in Sexual Minority Adults.”

Putting this all together now, we have Tami Fitzgerald as head of an organization that 1) challenges psychology on non-scientific grounds; 2) promotes a perhaps paranoid notion that “Christian psychologists” are going to have their rights taken away, if same sex marriage is legalized and 3) refuses to answer simple questions about her and her group’s understanding of “Christian psychology.” Elsewhere on the site one learns that NCVC is devoted to prayer and to “religious liberty.”  They obviously are not devoted to the “religious liberty” of pastors that wish to officiate at same sex marriages.

United States medical licensing boards license all mental health practitioners according to their medical credentials, not according to their religious beliefs.  What is more is that there are plenty of psychologists of Christian faith who are not anti-gay and do not consider that homosexuality is a state in need of a “cure.”

Tami Fitzgerald earned a Juris Doctor at the University of Oklahoma College of Law. She is not an idiot, and she is intellectually capable of understanding the basics of scientific method. But she has aimed for and achieved the leadership position of NCVC, is encouraging those donating the money to pay her salary to remain ignorant of many vital aspects of modern mental health treatment, and she refuses to explain herself and her organization vis-a-vis their comprehension of modern mental health care when offered an opportunity to do so.

Fitzgerald, like most of her professional, educated anti-LGBT peers, doesn’t take an intellectual approach when selling their positions. They have to dig deep into people’s faith-based fears and lack of information to ignore little matters like civil liberties — and the separation of church and state. Facts do not matter. Science doesn’t matter.

What Tami Fitzgerald does have is knowledge that religion-based fear helps get-out-the-vote (GOTV) — people following a fire-breathing pastor like Wooden appeals to their fears and interpretation of the bible — that’s a powerful thing.

Anti-amendment forces almost always ignore the impact that this has on GOTV — we literally have to get every vote possible out during early voting and on May 8. The fundies just have to start up the church bus and shuttle the willing masses to the polls. That’s the big gap we face.

So keep in mind that Fitzgerald and her buffoon buddy Patrick Wooden are two peas in the same pod and keep tying them together. Allies and advocates — can we allow people to win the day who actually believe effective advocacy for the amendment is based on saying garbage like :1)  I need to find Jesus and a man to breed with to ‘rock my world’ (?), and 2) that gay men molest gerbils, baseball bats, and cell phones?

The Harms of Amendment One
Latest Elon poll: Majority of North Carolinians Oppose Anti-Gay Constitutional Amendment
* Vote for Marriage NC lauds ‘Values Bus’ for pimping hate – plying kids with candy

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding