Why should I attend the North Carolina HRC Gala on Feb. 25?

Cherie Green: The gala is the largest fundraiser for HRC in North Carolina. By attending the gala you are supporting the continued efforts of HRC to make NC a safer and equitable place to live and work.

How does HRC use the money that is donated at the NC HRC Gala?

Rich Hurley: All of the net proceeds of the dinner help fund HRC’s mission to improve the lives of LGBT Americans by advocating for equal rights and benefits in the workplace, ensuring families are treated equally under the law and increasing public support among all Americans through innovative advocacy, education and outreach programs. HRC works to secure equal rights for LGBT individuals and families at the federal and state levels by lobbying elected officials, mobilizing grassroots supporters, educating Americans, investing strategically to elect fair-minded officials and partnering with other LGBT organizations.

How is the HRC involved in the fight against Amendment One movement in North Carolina?

Hurley: The Human Rights Campaign will partner with Equality NC, the ACLU of North Carolina, Replacements Ltd and other organizations and businesses as part of a coalition to defeat the anti-gay amendment. The coalition known as Protect NC Families will work to educate North Carolinians about the effects the amendment will have beyond just limiting marriage, which current North Carolina law already does. HRC has contributed $100k to the effort thus far and will be setting up its own North Carolina PAC so that HRC supporters can contribute directly to the effort to defeat the amendment.

What do I get for becoming a table captain, other than bragging rights?

Dan Mauney: Table captains are the most important components of a successful dinner. A Table captain is the olive branch, the extension to our original network, the personal touch in a very large group of supporters and helps us fill the seats. By agreeing to become a table captain, you are not financially responsible to pay for unsold seats nor buy your friends their tickets. We know and understand that some table captains may completely fill 1-10+ tables easily and others may only bring a few friends. Either way, the gala wins. Table Captains will truly drive the success of our gala by inviting their family, friends, co-workers and in the end, invite individuals that may have never heard about HRC.

Why should Charlotte care about the HRC and the gala?

Mauney: The Human Rights Campaign is our only national political PAC that keeps their finger on the pulse of the political arena and supports pro-LGBT minded politicians. They also keep a profile on companies on their support for the LGBT community including domestic partner benefits, hiring procedures and are even working in the faith communities.

North Carolinians and the LGBT community are living in a very pivotal time in our state. An anti-gay amendment has been added to the ballot for 2012 which would forever define marriage and domestic partner benefits in our work place. HRC has invested their support and dollars into our community in the past an will continue to do so. One way HRC is providing support this year is by placing staff members in our state to raise awareness of the amendment.

The gala is a celebration of where we have been, where we are and where we are heading. It’s a statewide gala honoring individuals and organizations impacting and bettering our local communities. : :

The Human Rights Campaign represents a force of more than one million members and supporters nationwide. As the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, HRC envisions an America where LGBT people are ensured of their basic equal rights, and can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.

Founded in 1980, HRC currently has more than 1 million members and supporters, including more than 23,000 in North Carolina. For more information, visit www.hrc.org.

— compiled by Rachel Sutherlan Communication