Part of me would love to think that this month’s earlier mishap with an open mic in a closed-door North Carolina House Republican caucus meeting was intentional — a smart political ploy to bring attention to some GOP initiative or send a sneaky message to the governor and other Democratic foes. (See last issue’s “Open mic broadcasts GOP closed-door talks on anti-gay amendment,”

Unfortunately, I just don’t think this state’s Republican legislative leadership is that intelligent.

Why, you might be asking, would Matt say such mean things about people with whom he should simply and civilly disagree? Republicans in the state and I have more than just a simple divergence in political philosophy. After all, it is they who are proposing an anti-LGBT constitutional amendment that would enshrine my own second-class citizenship into our state’s most sacred public document. Because of that mistakenly broadcast strategy session, the public at least knows now the true reasons behind their push to harm Tar Heel LGBTs. Are you surprised to learn that it has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the sanctity of marriage?

Since their introduction as fodder for political wedging, marriage amendments have had one, clear effect; their placement on ballots drives out conservative voters by the masses and results in Republican electoral gains. These political maneuvers have nothing to do with so-called family values — simply put, marriage amendments are nothing more than fear-driven get-out-the-vote efforts. Republicans know exactly what they want and state Rep. Mark Hilton couldn’t have made it any clearer.

“It’s important to the conservative groups that we get this passed this year because they need that to be able to get their ground game working to get the maximum effect to get out the vote,” he said during the caucus.

Once you start to see marriage amendments for what they truly are, it’s easier to pin down exactly the type of underhanded agenda that currently drives the Republican Party. Their efforts serve to further just one goal: the destruction of our great republic’s democratic principles, ideals and practices.

After their historic 2010 sweep into legislative power in states across the nation, Republicans have been pursuing any and all measures to give them a bump at the polls.North Carolina’s proposed marriage amendment is just one example of many of their efforts to strip power away from the many and concentrate it in the hands of the privileged and wealthy few.

The right so often accuses the left of starting “class warfare.” If truth be known, the Republicans started it a long time ago. Their attacks on the poor, the elderly, all people of color, immigrants, LGBTs, women, Muslims, students and others are all forms of class warfare. Just because it’s done in a suit and with a smile on their face doesn’t make the very real and very drastic effects of such actions any less damaging to those on the receiving end.

At the very least, Republicans could be honest about their intentions. That’d be halfway respectable. Instead, they wrap their hateful political goals in the flag and propagate them in the name of God. North Carolinians deserve so much better than what the current crop of GOP leaders and state lawmakers are offering.

Baptist meeting bittersweet

In mid-June, a coalition of LGBT advocacy organizations and other groups committed to education, faith work and activism launched a campaign to collect petition signatures and request an apology to LGBT people from the Southern Baptist Convention. The coalition, including North Carolina-based Faith in America, successfully gathered 10,000 names, an honorable feat overshadowed only by their ability to sit down and speak with Southern Baptist Convention President Bryant Wright. (See news notes on page 6.)

The meeting with Bryant was bittersweet — a victory and a loss rolled into one, single event. One day, however, there will be an apology to LGBTs from Southern Baptists just as the group has apologized for slavery and to other minorities. I only pray such an action comes sooner rather than later. The spiritual, emotional and civic health and well-being of entire generations of LGBT young people depends on it. : :

Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.