RALEIGH, N.C. — The man likely to become the next speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives has an anti-LGBT past — and he doesn’t regret it.
State Rep. Tim Moore, a Republican from Kings Mountain in Cleveland County, is set to become speaker of the House when the GOP-dominated chamber votes on the position on Jan. 14, the first day the General Assembly will convene for its 2015 session.
Moore has served for 14 years in the House, most recently as Rules Committee chairman.
In 2012, Moore supported the state’s anti-LGBT constitutional amendment, which was overturned in October by federal judges following decisions at the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia and the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision not to hear any appeals.
But Moore’s anti-gay past goes much deeper, beginning when he was a college student.
As speaker of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Student Congress in 1991, Moore, then a senior, attempted to prevent the campus LGBT student group, the Carolina Gay & Lesbian Association, from receiving student activity funding.
Moore sponsored the Summer Student Congress proposal, which passed 8-5 at the time and would have cut the group’s funding. Moore cited state laws forbidding sodomy.
“The CGLA advocates the activities of homosexuals,” Moore said, according to May 1991 article from The News & Observer. “By virtue of homosexuality being an illegal activity, the code of the Student Congress prohibits us from allocating funds to a group that promotes illegal activity.”
The funding for the group was eventually restored, but Moore told The News & Observer on New Year’s Day that he doesn’t regret his past actions.
“At the heart of the issue was the belief that we shouldn’t use taxpayer dollars or student fees to fund a gay and lesbian group, as well as a lot of other groups for that matter,” Moore told the Raleigh paper.
Moore has also said he’d continue to defend the state’s anti-LGBT marriage amendment, following in the footsteps of outgoing Speaker Thom Tillis, who will be sworn into the U.S. Senate this month. Tillis and state Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger intervened to defend the marriage ban after state Attorney General Roy Cooper said he’d no longer defend the measure in federal courts.
Advocates for LGBT equality in the state said Friday they were disappointed with Moore’s comments.
“I think what was troubling is that Moore doubled down on his comments instead of apologizing for them at this point in 2015,” Equality North Carolina Executive Director Chris Sgro told qnotes.
Sgro said Moore’s position on the campus LGBT student group was as wrong today as it was in 1991.
“Student activity fees go to support a wide range of important functions that students might want to partake in as part of their learning experience,” Sgro said. “Providing a safe haven for LGBT students would be among the most important of those.”
Moore’s positions might also signal hardship in an upcoming legislative session likely to be controlled by the GOP leader.
“It’s a concerning sign,” said Sgro. “We’re at a place in the history of North Carolina where we’ve achieved marriage equality. Public opinion has been changing fast for the better part of a decade. We’ve certainly rounded a corner to be in favor of a wide array of issues that affect the LGBT community.”
Sgro wants state Republicans and Democrats to look toward “common sense issues” upon which they can both agree — including some LGBT protections. But Moore’s comments aren’t reassuring.
“What’s unfortunate here is that Moore is caught up in pandering to his base,” Sgro said. “That’s not what he should be doing if he wants to show real leadership ability for the state of North Carolina.”