Leader of statewide lobbying group to step down

Stuart Campbell led Equality NC through constitutional amendment campaign

Stuart Campbell

RALEIGH, N.C. — The executive director of North Carolina’s statewide LGBT education and advocacy organization announced today that he will be leaving the organization during the summer. The announcement from Equality North Carolina Executive Director Stuart Campbell comes as more than 100 people from across the state attended Equality North Carolina’s annual lobby day at the state legislature, where they are pushing for unlikely non-discrimination legislation protecting state workers and teachers.

“I leave Equality NC with an incredible sense of pride in the movement we have built during what could be considered the most pivotal two years in North Carolina’s LGBT rights movement.” Campbell said in a release. “As positive momentum in favor of LGBT issues continues to build across the nation, region, and state, I am confident in the future of this organization, and remain grateful for the tireless efforts of our board, staff, and supporters to never stop fighting for Equality.”

Campbell told qnotes early on Tuesday that he was confident Equality North Carolina’s staff could carry forward with the organization’s important goals this year. He said the organization was “poised” to make gains across the state, particularly at the local city and county levels. The organization has shifted its focus to the local levels following two elections in 2010 and 2012 solidifying Republican control in the state legislature and governor’s office.

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Campbell was hired in October 2011, following the long tenure of former leader Ian Palmquist. Campbell saw Equality North Carolina through the spring 2012 campaign against an anti-LGBT state constitutional amendment banning recognition of same-sex marriages. Equality North Carolina was one of several organizations in a coalition opposing the amendment, which passed 61-39 percent.

The full press release from Equality North Carolina follows below…

EQUALITY NC ANNOUNCES DEPARTURE
OF EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, STUART CAMPBELL
 

RALEIGH, N.C., APRIL 15, 2011– Equality NC and its Board of Directors announced today that Stuart Campbell, the organization’s executive director since 2011, will be leaving the organization sometime in early summer. Campbell led the state’s premier lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) advocacy organization during its high-profile 2011-2012 campaign against Amendment One, North Carolina’s constitutional ban on marriage equality.

“I leave Equality NC with an incredible sense of pride in the movement we have built during what could be considered the most pivotal two years in North Carolina’s LGBT rights movement.” said Campbell. “As positive momentum in favor of LGBT issues continues to build across the nation, region, and state, I am confident in the future of this organization, and remain grateful for the tireless efforts of our board, staff, and supporters to never stop fighting for Equality.”

During Campbell’s tenure with Equality NC, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) advocacy organization has effectively lobbied the North Carolina General Assembly, executive branch, local governments, and electorate on issues like marriage equality, employment discrimination, adoption, domestic partnership, HIV/AIDS, and more.

In the process, Equality NC secured introduction of bills protecting LGBT workers, strengthened the state’s HIV/AIDS prevention and care programs by helping defend funding for critical needs; supported the elections of a growing number of LGBT legislative candidates, including current representative, Marcus Brandon; and built a coalition of partners and community leaders who tirelessly advocate on the behalf of LGBT North Carolinians.

“Over the past two years, our fight to defeat Amendment One galvanized a state full of new and seasoned LGBT leaders and advocates, and, despite Amendment One’s passage, I truly believe we can sustain this positive momentum in future efforts to secure LGBT rights, benefits and protections.” said Campbell.

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Under Campbell’s leadership, Equality NC also experienced significant growth. The statewide LGBT organization now boasts over 100,000 supporters, 50,000 online activists, including thousands of donors, hundreds of volunteers, 23 active board members, and a team of six employees. Because of these successes, Equality NC has earned a national reputation as one of the strongest and most well-respected statewide LGBT advocacy groups in the country.

“I will miss working at Equality NC, but moving forward I know the organization has never been in better hands. I will be proud to be one of the thousands of people across this state and this nation who will never stop fighting for Equality in North Carolina,” said Campbell.

Responding to Campbell’s announcement, Elaine Martin, Equality NC Board Chair said, “I am deeply sorry to see Stuart leave. Not only has he had a very positive impact on the organization, but under his leadership we’ve experienced exceptional growth and had milestones in the LGBT movement I never would have thought possible.”

Martin reported that she and Equality NC Foundation Board Chair Ken Wittenauer have already started the process of creating a search committee to oversee the recruitment and selection of the next executive director at Equality NC.

“Today, we focus on acknowledging and celebrating Stuart’s accomplishments,” said Martin. “Speaking for our board of directors, Equality NC is deeply grateful for his work and we wish him the absolute best in his future endeavors.”

Equality NC is a statewide organization working to secure equal rights and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender North Carolinians.

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Posted by Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.