RALEIGH, N.C. — Statewide advocacy group Equality North Carolina this evening distributed a letter from Hickory, N.C.-native and Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes outlining his reasons for opposing the anti-LGBT state constitutional amendment that would ban marriage, civil unions and domestic partner benefits for same-sex couples.
Hughes, who is gay, said the proposed amendment would hurt business and the ability to attract high-quality talent. His letter has been distributed to media and to all 170 members of the North Carolina General Assembly.
“As the co-founder of Facebook, I have some experience with the challenges of attracting the kind of driven, dynamic and diverse employees it takes to build a fledgling start-up into a fullfledged economic success story,” Hughes wrote. “Companies like Facebook, Google and Apple are the future of our global economy. But the proposed anti-gay constitutional amendment signals to these and other major employers, as well as their mobile, educated employees, that North Carolina does not welcome the diverse workforce that any state needs to compete in the international marketplace.”
Hughes also wrote about his own experience growing up gay in North Carolina, saying a negative business impact won’t be the only harm perpetuated by the amendment.
“Growing up in a conservative atmosphere in Hickory, North Carolina, I felt first-hand the stigma of being different in a Southern state—a feeling that made it clear to me that I was not welcome in North Carolina,” he said.
Hughes concluded his letter with a stark warning: “The next Facebook or Apple or Google could be created by another North Carolinian. Be mindful of how you treat them and their families.”
The proposed anti-LGBT constitutional amendment could come up for debate and a vote when the legislature returns to Raleigh on Monday. Lawmakers will be considering several measures, though the primary purpose of the special fall session will be debate on constitutional amendments. Equality North Carolina has planned a series of hometown vigils across the state and a rally at the legislature’s Halifax Mall at noon on Tuesday, Sept. 13. Chely Wright, the first openly gay or lesbian Country singer, is slated to highlight the rally.
more: Keep up with the latest from Raleigh in the Legislative Watch at goqnotes.com/in/ncga/.
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