CARRBORO, N.C. — For the second time in two years, members of the Carrboro Board of Alderman have passed a resolution calling on the state and nation to stand up for equal rights for LGBT families.
The resolution was passed unanimously on Dec. 2 by those board members present; two members, John Herrera and Joal Hall Broun, were absent or excused.
The resolution states, in part, that “gay men and lesbians posses the same potential and desire for sustained loving and lasting relationships as heterosexuals” and that “same-sex couples and their children are adversely affected by [existing] discriminatory marriage laws.”
The board resolved to endorse and support “the rights of samesex couples to share fully and equally in the rights, responsibilities and commitments of civil marriage and encourages our state and national legislative delegations and President-Elect Obama to support these rights.”
Ian Palmquist, executive director of EqualityNC, told Q-Notes he’s proud “to see local leaders taking a stand for equality for all their citizens.”
Online Extra: Read the Resolution (PDF)
Alderwoman Jacquelyn Gist introduced the resolution. The board’s only openly gay or lesbian member, Alderwoman Lydia Lavelle, seconded the motion.
Palmquist added, “I’m also particularly encouraged that the resolution was brought forth by allies and not by the openly gay member of the board of alderman.”
The debate over same-sex marriage and civil rights for LGBT people and families have taken center stage in civil rights discussion after the recent passage of anti-LGBT ballot initiatives in four states. California’s 52 percent approval of the anti-family Prop. 8 — which banned all recognition of marriage between same-sex couples — ignited a firestorm of national, grassroots advocacy, including more than 300 protests across the country on Nov. 15. On Dec. 10, the same organization responsible for the Nov. 15 “Join the Impact” actions is organizing a “Day without a gay” boycott.
Palmquist stressed that local voices are important, even though the debate seems like a national one. “I think Carrboro’s voice is more important here in North Carolina,” he said. “It’s just one more signal from Carrboro that they want our state and country to be a place that treats LGBT people and our families fairly.”
Not all North Carolinians expressed joy over Carrboro’s decision. The N.C. Family Policy Council, a state affiliate of the national Family Research Council run by fundamentalist leader Tony Perkins, issued a statement on their website.
“Those who assert that same-sex ‘marriage’ is not a legitimate threat to North Carolina need to wake up,” the group’s staff attorney Tami Fitzgerald said. “Carrboro’s action underscores the urgent need for a constitutional amendment in North Carolina as the strongest protection for traditional marriage against attacks from those who want to radically redefine marriage to include same-sex couples.”
Carrboro made North Carolina history in 1995 when it elected Mike Nelson, the state’s first openly gay mayor; Nelson now serves on the Orange County Board of Commissioners. The town also later granted domestic partner benefits to same-sex couples. The town, located minutes outside Chapel Hill, continues to maintain very progressive ideals.