CHARLOTTE — An anti-gay lobbyist is calling a marriage equality campaign a “strategic mistake” on the part of LGBT activists.
Community members in Asheville, N.C., ramped up their two-week-long campaign, “We Do,” on Monday as three same-sex couples requested marriage licenses from the Buncombe County Register of Deeds. More couples will follow through next week.
Tami Fitzgerald, executive director of anti-LGBT constitutional amendment proponent North Carolina Values Coalition, told The Associated Press that the Asheville campaign exemplifies why same-sex marriage remains possible even with state laws banning it.
“I think it makes our case why we need an amendment,” Fitzgerald told AP writer Tom Breen. “When people see that, they’re going to be concerned, and they’re going to take it as a sign of aggression on the part of people who advocate for same-sex marriage.”
We Do campaign organizers with the Coalition for Southern Equality say the effort is meant to highlight citizens’ “courage to stand up to laws that are immoral and unjust.”
Other activists are being a bit more cautious. Some grassroots organizers, meeting to network and brainstorm strategy in Charlotte on Monday, expressed concern over the potential for the Asheville campaign to backfire.
They are focusing on more strategic outreach and campaign strategies.
“This will be a get-out-the-vote campaign,” Scott Bishop, a volunteer Equality North Carolina and Human Rights Campaign organizer, said at the Monday evening meeting. “We need to mobilize as many people as possible and get them to the polls on [May 8].”
Community members in Charlotte are planning an awareness march and rally on Oct. 15 where they will encourage attendees to speak out in love.
“Love has a lot more power than anger,” said rally organizer Noelle DeAtley. “We can’t afford to be angry. True love — you can’t beat it with hate and fear.”