The leader of GetEqual’s North Carolina chapter has spoken out against Rep. Heath Shuler in an article at Religion Dispatches exploring progressive candidate Cecil Bothwell’s potential primary challenge to the 11th District Democratic incumbent.
According to reporter Sarah Jaffe:
And GetEQUAL NC, the North Carolina branch of the national organization advocating for (and taking direct action in support of) equality for gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender people, has had run-ins with Shuler over his opposition to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and marriage equality.
Angel Chandler, an organizer with GetEQUAL NC, says, “During a meeting GetEQUAL NC had with him in May of this year, Rep. Shuler clearly stated that he would not support any legislation that ‘classified’ the LGBT population as a class of citizens with protected rights. When asked what reason he had for not wanting to give LGBT citizens protections under the law he answered, ‘My beliefs.’”
She continues, “North Carolina deserves to have someone in Washington who does not discriminate against a segment of the population he or she represents due to his or her religious ‘beliefs.’ Rep. Shuler has shown his inability to separate his own beliefs from the work at hand on behalf of all North Carolinians; it is time to look elsewhere.”
Bothwell, currently a member on Asheville City Council, says he is a “nontheist” and that his beliefs will “not to be of any import in holding public office.”
In the past, Shuler, as well as Eastern North Carolina Democrat Mike McIntyre, have been connected to “The Family,” a far rightwing group with ties to Ugandan leaders pushing a harsh, anti-gay law in that country.