In the August 28th edition of the Greensboro News & Record newspaper, Tami Fitzgerald, Executive Director of the newly formed political organization "NC Values Coalition," "bristle(d) at the idea that the marriage amendment is a civil rights issue," saying "It’s not about civil rights, and it’s an insult to the civil rights movement to say so.”
Concerning Ms. Fitzgerald’s statements, N.C. State Representative Larry Hall (D-29) fired back, “Tami Fitzgerald does not speak for the civil rights movement, it's advocates or it's organizations. She and the groups for which she's worked for have consistently fought against human and civil rights issues that disproportionately affect poor minority citizens, who even now endure greater suffering due to her efforts. This so-called "marriage amendment" is just such a discriminatory attack on a minority of our fellow citizens. I oppose this amendment because it is morally wrong, totally unnecessary and damaging to our economy at the worst possible time.” Hall, a former 1st Vice President and Executive Committee Member of the Durham Chapter of the NAACP, as well as life member of the NAACP is also a decorated veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He also served for two terms as Chairman of the NC Black Leadership Caucus.
Fitzgerald’s comments come just as lawmakers are about to return for a special session beginning September 12, to consider House Bill 777/Senate Bill 106, an anti-gay constitutional amendment. If passed, the amendment would head to a public referendum on the November 2012 ballot.
Bishop Tonyia Rawls of Charlotte’s Unity Fellowship Church, also addressed the Civil Rights issue: “I am the beneficiary of liberties hard won through the Civil Rights Movement. I am here because reasonable people took a stand and said no to unjust laws that wanted to rob me, and people like me, of our liberties. We all stand today against the current efforts to legislate discrimination and harassment.”
Far from finding insult in the comparison of gay rights and civil rights, figureheads of the Civil Rights Movement have long declared parity in the causes, including the following leaders of the modern-day effort:
· "I believe that gay rights are civil rights." - Julian Bond, NAACP Chairman
· "Homophobia is like racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in that it seeks to dehumanize a large group of people, to deny their humanity, their dignity, and their personhood." - Coretta Scott King
· "The NAACP has been supportive of a broad civil human rights agenda in this country, including rights for gay and lesbian people, for a long time."
- Ben Jealous, NAACP President and CEO
· "I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry.”
- Mildred Loving, Loving v. Virginia
· “The NAACP shall pursue all legal and constitutional means to support non-discriminatory policies and practices against persons based on race, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, or cultural background.”
- NAACP Official Resolution (unanimous)
And even this month, when Jesse Jackson was asked by MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts whether “LGBT equality” would be a fixture of Martin Luther King’s Civil Rights focus today, he responded, “of course it would be.”
“Ms. Fitzgerald’s inflammatory statements misrepresent the reality of support from leaders in the Civil Rights community in a broader effort to mislead lawmakers and divide the public,” said Alex Miller, interim Executive Director of Equality NC.
Speaking of, the Christian Action League, one of only ten state affiliates of the certified hate group American Family Association, is now also courting interest along racial lines, recently releasing data from the conservative Civitas Institute claiming “strong support” for an anti-LGBT amendment by North Carolina’s African-American voters.
Nevertheless, a recent poll from non-partisan Elon University revealed the opposite of “strong support” for discriminatory legislation from African-American voters. The February 2011 poll revealed that 61% of African-American North Carolinians oppose or strongly oppose an amendment that would ban same-sex marriage (with only 39% in support). The Elon poll also showed that a strong majority (
58.4%) of the state’s African American population actually supports some form of legal relationship recognition for same-sex couples (“marriages or civil unions.”)
These results show that African-Americans living in the Tar Heel State join their fellow North Carolinians in opposing a proposed constitutional ban of same-sex marriage, much less an amendment that would also outlaw civil unions and strip families of domestic partnership benefits, as does the Senate version of the amendment currently being considered by the state legislature.
Equality NC is a statewide organization working to secure equal rights and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender North Carolinians.Read the full article