No Home In North Carolina: LGBT Group Warns "We Will No Longer Accept Hate Crimes at Ballot Box"
RALEIGH, NC - Today, GetEQUAL - a national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization primarily using non-violent civil disobedience to stand up to bigotry and hate - responded to yesterday's vote by the North Carolina State Senate to send a homophobic state constitutional amendment to the voters in May 2012, by issuing lawmakers and state leaders a blunt warning: "We will no longer accept state-sponsored hatred."
GetEQUAL NC, along with GetEQUAL (the organization responsible for last year's White House fence arrests that helped spur the passage of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal) and other various local North Carolina equality advocates, announced publicly today that they have already begun the organizing and planning for acts of civil disobedience in the lead-up to the marriage vote in May 2012 and the Democratic National Convention in September 2012 in Charlotte.
"Yesterday, the politicians of this state - my state -- cemented their future legacies alongside those of George Wallace, Bull Connor, and the other most notorious bigots in America's history," said Angel Chandler, GetEQUAL's North Carolina Lead State Organizer.
"Today, we have a very clear message for them -- the days when North Carolina's LGBT population sat silently in their closets, too ashamed to stand up and fight this act of state-sponsored bigotry and hatred, are over. We are no longer willing to work within the confines of discrimination and hate displayed yesterday by North Carolina's politicians. We are standing up, our voices will be heard, and we will work to disarm opponents of progress in this country by calling them out publicly for the nation to see their bigotry."
Later this morning, President Obama will be in Raleigh, where he will be speaking to voters in the state. The White House released a statement yesterday stating the President's long opposition to "divisive and discriminatory efforts to deny rights and benefits to same-sex couples." The entire statement can be found here: http://www.washingtonblade.com/2011/09/13/white-house-responds-to-n-c-marriage-amendment/.
However, President Obama's refusal to publicly state his own, personal support for marriage equality -- and directly address the solely political decision by the State legislators that removes the rights of LGBT Americans and their families -- has sparked a new wave of actions in support of full federal equality.
GetEQUAL NC is leading the charge, demanding the President speak out publicly in support of marriage equality and specifically condemn yesterday's vote by the North Carolina legislature to deny dignity and respect to this minority group of Americans.
President Obama's public endorsement of marriage equality is important, as he will be spending a lot of time in North Carolina over the next year. In addition to today's appearance in Raleigh to push his jobs bill, the fact that that Democratic National Convention will take place in Charlotte will make the state a political centerpiece in the general election.
The President's recent refusal to "evolve already" and return to his prior support for marriage equality as a State Senator in Illinois -- coupled with the Convention taking place just months after the rights of a minority group will be put to a popular vote -- will undoubtedly continue to set both the President and the Democratic Party up for very public tests of the Party's commitment to LGBT "equal federal rights," part of the Democratic Party platform (link: http://www.democrats.org/issues/civil_rights).
"President Obama should listen to the whispers of past civil rights heroes in his ear and come out publicly for marriage equality -- and direct his party to publicly fight for and defend the dignity of some of their staunchest supporters," said Robin McGehee, co-founder and director of GetEQUAL. "It isn't simply coincidence that the President held his largest LGBT re-election fundraiser in New York City the day before that state's legislature voted in favor of marriage equality.
It isn't simply coincidence the President's trip brings him to North Carolina at this pivotal moment in the lives of that state's LGBT residents. It isn't simply coincidence that the DNC convention will roll into Charlotte next year and could find the LGBT community in the state devastated by a hateful, destructive, and anti-family constitutional amendment. None of this is coincidence -- it is the arc of the moral universe begging the President to bend it toward justice."
GetEQUAL is a national direct action lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization. Emphasizing direct action and people power, the mission of GetEQUAL is to empower the LGBT community and its allies to take action to demand full legal and social equality, and to hold accountable those who stand in the way. For more information on GetEQUAL, please visit www.getequal.org