CHARLOTTE, N.C. — One of North Carolina’s leading anti-LGBT activists has told a slew of high-profile conservative leaders and attorneys that opposing a proposed non-discrimination ordinance in Charlotte will be a “good way to bring in business.”
Tami Fitzgerald leads the NC Values Coalition, the group primarily opposing Charlotte’s proposed LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination ordinances. Fitzgerald and her group also led the push to pass the state’s now-overturned, unconstitutional 2012 amendment banning LGBT marriage.
Fitzgerald made her remark in an email on Tuesday in response to Tom Ashcraft, a former U.S. attorney in Charlotte.
“If people in Charlotte don’t rise up and stop this ordinance, you will be headed down the path to endless litigation and denial of religious exercise. Of course, many of you are lawyers, and this might be a good way to bring in business,” wrote Fitzgerald, herself an attorney, copying a slew of local and state leaders including state House Speaker Pro Tempore Paul “Skip” Stam.
Ashcraft had called the LGBT-inclusive efforts “madness” in his original message to Fitzgerald.
“May we conclude that the U.S. cultural revolution, started on multiple fronts in the 1960s, has begun to turn on itself? Or would this description be more accurate: The dictatorship of relativism shreds reason, leads to madness,” Ashcraft wrote to Fitzgerald.
“Thanks for pointing out the madness of transgender nondiscrimination policies,” Fitzgerald wrote back in agreement. “Many of you are residents of Charlotte or surrounding suburbs. Now is your time to fight this madness.”
qnotes has reached out for clarification or comment on Fitzgerald’s remarks. Neither Jennifer Woods, spokesperson for the NC Values Coalition, nor Fitzgerald have responded.
In addition to Stam, Fitzgerald’s email included several other lawyers and a variety of other high profile local and state leaders in the Republican Party and religious right.
Among political and civic recipients: Mecklenburg Republican state Rep. Dan Bishop; former Union County District Attorney John Snyder; Joseph Patrick Lindsley, a board member for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, a non-profit think tank funded by Republican donor Art Pope’s John William Pope Foundation; George Leef, director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy; Fred Williams, a former federal prosecutor and Charlotte attorney; Republican Mecklenburg County Commissioner Bill James; and Larry Gauvreau, a former Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education member and former publisher of Charlotte’s Rhinoceros Times.
Religious leaders in the group were primarily local Catholic Church officials or representatives, including: Mary Potter Summa, a Belmont Abbey College adjunct professor who writes for the North Carolina Family Policy Council’s Family North Carolina public policy magazine; The Rev. Philip Scarcella, pastor of Charlotte’s Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church; and Catholic Knights of Columbus officer Stephen Wolfing.
North Carolina’s Catholic dioceses in Charlotte and Raleigh had been significant supporters of NC Values Coalition’s 2012 marriage campaign, contributing a combined $100,000 to the effort.
Also on the email was Don Reid, a former Charlotte City Council member from 1991 to 1999. Reid was on Council when the body first considered and rejected a similar LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination ordinance in 1992. Reid voted against the measure, saying he did “not believe this is a civil rights issue.”
Current Charlotte Mayor Dan Clodfelter was also on Council at the time. He voted for the proposal in 1992 and last Monday told Council that “was on the losing side of this issue 22 years ago.”
“I will say that I do hope to be on the winning side this time,” Clodfelter added.
[Ed. Note (Feb. 19, 2015, 2:09 p.m.) — The original version of this article identified Mary Potter Summa as a writer for the Catholic News Herald. According to their editor, this is not accurate. We have updated the story and regret the error.]