HICKORY, N.C. — The North Carolina-based national education group Faith in America warned state lawmakers today that they would be held accountable for their votes on anti-LGBT pieces of legislation.
On Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning, several news reports indicated that legislators could bring up consideration of several state constitutional amendments this week. That idea was scrapped late Wednesday, with legislative leaders reverting to their original plan to hear constitutional amendments at a special session in September. Both the House and Senate are considering an anti-LGBT constitutional amendment that could ban recognition of same-sex marriages, civil unions, domestic partnerships and other public and private arrangements between same-sex couples.
Brent Childers, Faith in America executive director, said his group would begin a statewide awareness campaign to bring attention to the actions of legislators who support the anti-LGBT constitutional amendments.
“The constituents of every legislator who votes to proceed with the anti-gay marriage initiative are going to learn how these elected officials are promoting a social and religious climate of hostility and violence toward innocent people and children,” Childers said in a release. “We plan to reveal to parents, business owners, church-goers and the kids in these legislators hometowns the heinous and immensely harmful form of bigotry and prejudice that these legislators are embracing.”
Childers and Faith in America are hopeful that calmer minds will ultimately prevail in the amendment debate.
“We hope a majority of legislators will decide in favor of human dignity and equality rather than using their vote to bring harm to others for potential political gain or favor,” he said. “If they come down on the side of causing harm to LGBT youth and families, they will not do so with impunity.”
Childers also pointed to two studies by the American Psychological Association and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention documenting the effects of anti-gay legislation and government-sanctioned discrimination on the LGBT community. In particular, APA researcher Sharon Scales Rostosky said emotional and psychological harm was “a direct result of the negative images and messages associated with” anti-gay ballot campaigns and passage of anti-gay constitutional amendments.
“These studies only document what common sense tells us,” Childers said. “Placing a moral and religious stamp of disapproval on someone’s very being causes immense and lasting harm to individuals and society. Women, African Americans, Native Americans and interracial couples have all been targets of this vile form of bigotry in the past when religious teaching was misused to justify prejudice and discrimination. Those historical precedents of religion-based bigotry all have been judged as immoral. Yet, a group of ill-intentioned lawmakers want North Carolina to embrace that same form of bigotry today.”