CHARLOTTE — It was a packed house tonight at a special candlelight prayer vigil hosted at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. Hundreds of community members opposed to a proposed anti-LGBT constitutional amendment gathered just an hour after the North Carolina House of Representatives approved the discriminatory measure by a vote of 75-42.
The event was one of several planned across the state in advance of a statewide anti-amendment rally at the legislative building in Raleigh on Tuesday. Statewide advocacy group Equality North Carolina will gather supporters at the legislature’s Halifax Mall at noon as the anti-LGBT amendment comes up for consideration in the Senate. (See our calendar for more event details.)
Gay Men’s Chorus of Charlotte sang at the service and present were several representatives of many Queen City LGBT groups. Local LGBT and affirming faith leaders participated in the service, including Holy Trinity Pastor Nancy Kraft, Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte Pastor James Leach and Piedmont Unitairan Universalist Church Pastor Robin Tanner. Other participating religious leaders included Unity Fellowship Church Deacon Edward Jones-Mack, Holy Covenant United Church of Christ Pastor Nancy Ellett Allison, Buddhist monk Ryusho Jeffus and Temple Beth El Rabbi Jonathan Freirich.
Leach imparted inspiring words by the 19th century Unitarian minister Theodore Parker later paraphrased by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice,” Leach recited.
“The good news is that those trying to limit freedom have always been wrong, dead wrong,” Leach continued. “Not just wrong to limit, not just wrong socially, but also wrong religiously. They did not have a divine mandate and they didn’t have justice on their side.”
Leach added, “With every fiber of my faith, I say with absolute confidence that we stand on the side of justice. There will be equality for every lesbian woman, every gay man, every bisexual and transgender individual and every loving same-sex couple in every town, city and courthouse in North Carolina.”
The Charlotte vigil was one of 10 planned statewide. Others, also attracting as many as hundreds of participants, were held simultaneously in Asheville, Durham, Fayetteville, Greensboro, Greenville, Raleigh, Wilmington and Winston-Salem.
The amendment could come up for debate in the Senate as soon as tomorrow. State legislative leaders have promised to wrap their session up as soon as Wednesday evening. The amendment will be placed on the May 2012 presidential primary ballot if the Senate approves the same measure blessed by House legislators on Monday.
more: Keep up with the latest news from Raleigh at our Legislative Watch at goqnotes.com/in/ncga/.