Gay rights activists condemn Mark Harris hate-group endorsement

Equality NC: Harris' and Concerned Women for America's positions represent 'unprecedented agenda of hate'

by Matt Comer  Editor  editor@goqnotes.com
Published: January 10, 2014 in News

Rev. Mark Harris. Courtesy First Baptist Church.

Rev. Mark Harris. Courtesy First Baptist Church.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A statewide LGBT equality group has responded to news, originally reported by qnotes on Wednesday, of Republican U.S. Senate primary candidate Mark Harris’ endorsement by an anti-LGBT hate group.

Harris said he was “honored” to receive an endorsement from Concerned Women for America, a national group with a long history of extremist anti-LGBT propaganda.

Raleigh-based Equality North Carolina today condemned the endorsement and Harris’ reaction.

“The endorsement of Republican Senate candidate Mark Harris by the virulently anti-LGBT Concerned Women for American, as well as his praise for this certified hate group, should give all fair-minded North Carolinians pause as they head to the polls this year,” Equality NC Executive Director Chris Sgro said in a release.

Sgro continued, “The CWA has consistently attacked North Carolina’s LGBT and allied communities using outright lies and outrageous vitriol, and is representative of the extreme positions Mr. Harris has also taken in his support for the anti-family Amendment One. This unprecedented agenda of hate has no place in our state as we continue to push for equality for all North Carolinians.”

Harris is pastor of Charlotte’s First Baptist Church and recently served as president of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. Concerned Women for America is listed as a hate group by the Montgomery, Ala.-based Southern Poverty Law Center. Concerned Women’s leaders and spokespeople have often attempted to tie gay men to pedophilia, and several of its former spokespeople have gone on to lead other radical organizations.

Concerned Women for America’s North Carolina chapter has also landed in hot water for wildly inaccurate and radical propaganda. In 2008, state chapter president Mary Frances Forrester, the now-widow of the late, anti-gay state Sen. James Forrester, penned an op-ed full of inaccuracies and radical claims. In the piece, Forrester wholly mischaracterized a 1987 gay rights satire, using it to claim seriously that gay men wanted to “sodomize your sons.” In the same op-ed, Forrester claimed the “average life span of a homosexual is 39 years,” quoting the same discredited research often used by Knight. The inaccuracies and mischaracterizations by Forrester ultimately resulted in a correction, of sorts, from the organization which published her commentary.

Harris, who was also a leading proponent of North Carolina’s 2012 constitutional amendment on gay marriage, is running against several candidates to take the 2014 Senate primary nomination. His chief rival is North Carolina Speaker of the House Thom Tillis, who said nearly two months before it was approved that the state’s anti-gay marriage ban would likely be repealed within 20 years.