CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The nation’s leading LGBT civil rights organization has included newly-installed U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis among its new “Faces of Inequality” in the 114th Congress, a campaign they say is designed to highlight those “who have gone out of their way to stop equality, inspiring and propagating lies and hatred toward LGBT people across the country.”
Tillis, a Cornelius Republican who ousted incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan in the fall, was sworn-in to office on Tuesday. He joins his Republican colleague Richard Burr in representing North Carolina in the U.S. Senate.
The Human Rights Campaign’s “Faces of Inequality” campaign has called out Tillis on his support of North Carolina’s anti-LGBT marriage amendment. Federal courts overturned the discriminatory amendment in October, but Tillis and North Carolina Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger intervened to continue defending the measure.
Tillis’ anti-LGBT positions were key in his campaign for the U.S. Senate seat.
In a TV ad shortly before his Republican primary, Tillis spoke out what it means to “be conservative.”
“Take the issue of traditional marriage,” Tillis said in the ad. “Plenty of politicians talk about. After I became speaker, we put it in the constitution,” as the image of a newspaper headline announcing the passage of the anti-LGBT amendment.
He also addressed the issue in a pre-primary speech to GOP supporters in Sanford in April.
“We need a Congress that understands the sanctity of life, the sanctity of traditional values, the sanctity of traditional marriage,” Tillis said at the time.
As the election came to a close, Tillis also received — and never rejected — an endorsement from the National Organization for Marriage, which along with the North Carolina Values Coalition, spent more than $117,000 on mailers and a TV ad supporting Tillis.
Tillis and Berger later hired the National Organization for Marriage’s board chair, John Eastman, to continue defending the state’s anti-LGBT amendment. They’ve since said they plan to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to hear their appeal.