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N.C. gay rights profit from Senator’s wife
Wife of anti-gay marriage amendment supporter writes op-ed, EqualityNC cashes in

by Will Billings . Contributing Writer

Has Sen. Jim Forrester used his wife to do his anti-gay biddings?
RALEIGH — At the end of February, an anti-gay opinion piece was published on the website of the Christian Action League. Written by Mary Frances Forrester, the piece purported to detail the supposed aims of the “real homosexual agenda.” Rife with factual inaccuracies, Forrester’s piece failed to properly reproduce statistical information and capitalized on distortions of history and science.

The woman’s words might have gone unnoticed if not for her husband, N.C. state Sen. Jim Forrester (R-Gaston), a sponsor of the anti-LGBT, anti-family marriage amendment. Q-Notes Editor Matt Comer picked up on the spousal connection and wrote a detailed piece on his personal blog, debunking Forrester’s inaccuracies and falsehoods.

The opinion piece grabbed national attention in LGBT news and political blogs. Still today, Forrester has refused to speak to the gay press and continues to deny the public an open and transparent view of her sources.

Now, Equality North Carolina (ENC) is cashing in on Forrester’s dishonesty and extremism. “Oklahama Rep. Sally Kern outed for calling LGBT people a bigger threat than terrorists. Mary Frances Forrester, wife of North Carolina Sen. Jim Forrester, accusing us of using tolerance as an insidious tool to take over the world (oh if only we could!)…These crazy right-wingers are scared because we’re fighters, scared because we’re succeeding in spite of their best efforts,” read a recent action alert.

At press time, the statewide LGBT advocacy organization’s political action committee had raised more than half the funds needed to reach their $22,000 goal. “Don’t let sickos like [Kern] and Forrester win,” the group exhorted, urging supporters to continue contributing.

Some dedicated supporters have pledged to match, dollar-by-dollar, the amount raised, if the organization can meet their goal by the Mar. 31 deadline.

The challenge is unprecedented — one of the largest matching gift offers the organization has ever had. Its total will be added to the PAC’s growing political and financial clout. With a goal of spending up to $85,000 or more during the 2008 election, ENC is hoping their hard work will pay off with the election of new, LGBT-friendly faces in the state legislature and other offices.

Begun in the early 1990s, ENC has continued to grow and is influencing state legislative leaders on issues that matter most to LGBT North Carolinians. For three years in a row, the organization has successfully stopped the passage of the state’s pending marriage amendment.

Their victory on the marriage issue hasn’t gone unnoticed by right-wing groups. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, recently sent out a “call to prayer” and action alert begging supporters to “dial 911 in prayer.” His implication of a secret political takeover of the state seems eerily similar to Kern and Forrester’s opinions.

“The advancement of homosexual rights is certainly an issue of major consideration in the coming election,” Creech wrote. “On the state-level, the situation is also bleak and foreboding. Gay and lesbian organizations have been actively funding candidates in North Carolina that are sympathetic with their goals. A number of gay and lesbian politicians (both Republican and Democrat) have already been elected to public office. Moreover, such candidates are running for office now as never before.”

Creech told Q-Notes to expect a written statement addressing the opinion piece penned by Forrester. However, it was not available by press time and Forrester’s original post remained uncorrected on the organization’s website.

During the legislature’s 2008 short session, ENC hopes to secure passage of a bill protecting LGBT students, among others, in K-12 public education. The Christian Action League and other conservative groups have fought bitterly against the legislation.

Last May, ENC worked closely with several legislative allies to pass the House version of the bill. Prospects for its full passage in the Senate are hopeful. The “short session” begins May 13 — six days after North Carolina’s primary.

info: www.equalitync.org . www.christianactionleague.org

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