I’ve got my fine parchment paper, my inkwell filled with the finest purple ink and my fancy feather quill pen all ready to go. Yes, it is time for this year’s Naughty and Nice list, recounting the heroes, villains and foes of 2012. As soon as we’re done, we’ll ship it off express to the North Pole, in time, no doubt, to lobby jolly old St. Nick for the appropriate gifts these folks deserve. Lumps of coals or sugarplums, each of the people and groups on our Naughty and Nice list this year have reaped what they have sown.
N.C. Values Coalition — Led by none other than perennial hate-group lobbyist Tami Fitzgerald, the N.C. Values Coalition successfully did what more than a decade of bumbling right-wing haters couldn’t, relying on the 2010 Republican takeover of the state’s legislature to accomplish it. Ultimately, in May, their proposed anti-LGBT state constitutional amendment was passed by voters 61-39 percent. Fitzgerald and her motley crew of haters, like an eerie, insidious underworld version of Santa and his merry elves, crept their misinformation, division, prejudice and fear into nearly every North Carolina home.
Speaker Thom Tillis — Launched into power by his focus on more moderate issues like job growth and the economy, Republican North Carolina Speaker of the House Thom Tillis kowtowed to the Republican Party’s far-right-wing zealots and bent over backward to please their desires for discrimination and prejudice. What’s more, he did it knowing it was wrong and ultimately doomed to failure. In March, he told students at North Carolina State University that if the amendment passed, it would “be repealed in 20 years.” For a man charged with faithfully serving the state’s people in government and for protecting and defending the Constitution of North Carolina, it’s shameful that Tillis showed exactly how little he understands about governing, about what a constitution actually is and what should or shouldn’t be included in one. Can you hear it, Thom, beckoning from ages past? “Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes.”
Coalition to Protect all N.C. Families and Equality North Carolina — Though the campaign to defeat Amendment One was ultimately lost, LGBT North Carolinians have a slew of hard-working, committed and passionate people to thank this year. Coalition and Equality North Carolina staffers, along with hundreds of passionate progressive allies and volunteers, joined hand-in-hand to stand up against bigotry. Their defenses were admirable and have resulted in a far more well-networked movement for equality for all in the Tar Heel State. Progressives of all stripes came together to work side-by-side. Now, after the amendment, these same progressives are still standing strong, united in their common cause of justice. A new movement is taking hold in our great state. As North Carolina NAACP President, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, has said, “We must have a 21st century fusion politics where we stand together not sometimes but all the time.” I couldn’t agree more.
Pride Charlotte — As summer faded, the emotional amendment campaign of the spring in rearview, Charlotte’s LGBT community banded together in a show of force for the whole nation and world to see. Just one week before the start of the Democratic National Convention, organizers of this year’s Pride Charlotte Festival successfully submitted the facts of our strength, fortitude, perseverance and diversity to a candid world. I was among those organizers and volunteers who put so many hours, sweat, blood and tears into this year’s festival. I have met no other more committed and passionate people, some far more deserving of praise and recognition than me. Their commitment to raising the visibility and recognition of the LGBT community here paid off in unexpected and innumerable ways. George Washington once described Charlotte as “a trifling place,” but, oh, how things change in two centuries! No one can now doubt the size, resiliency and influence of our local LGBT community, as the Queen City received a community-wide celebration of LGBT Pride fit for its size and stature on the East Coast. : :