Sen. Joel Ford is running in the Charlotte mayoral race, and he wants you to believe he has fought for the rights of the LGBTQ community.
He has not.
Ford pushed for a compromise on LGBTQ rights after Charlotte passed a non-discrimination ordinance providing protections for the community, prompting the North Carolina General Assembly to counter with House Bill 2 (HB2). Ford was ready to throw the transgender community under the bus, and has not changed from that position.
He made that clear in a recent meeting with former qnotes editor Matt Comer, whom Ford went after on Twitter with a pooping dog GIF when his record was questioned. He later apologized.
Comer reports that Ford still doesn’t support a non-discrimination ordinance that allows trans people to use the bathrooms matching their gender identity.
Ford also voted to grant magistrates the right to refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. It was a stance that was to the right of then-Gov. Pat McCrory, the man who signed HB2 into law. McCrory vetoed the bill, which the North Carolina Senate then overrode.
And now he wants to come to us for votes, with a sponsored Facebook post, playacting as an ally?
One word: No.
Equality North Carolina Interim Director Matt Hirschy took Ford to task on Facebook for this disingenuous attempt to get votes from the very community he has ignored while in office, reminding him that we know his record all too well.
“I believe we are all God’s children and have a right to equality under the law to pursue a life of liberty and happiness. That means standing up for the rights of the LGBTQ community,” Ford’s caption reads. The headline and excerpt argue for equality under the law and the need to fight for the “blessing” of “diversity” in Charlotte.
Hirschy reminds Ford that his stances on these issues is a matter of public record. Or, as he puts it, “We have receipts, sir.”
UPDATE (8/30): Human Rights Campaign Communications Director, and former Equality NC Executive Director, Chris Sgro has taken to Twitter to compare Ford’s “phony appeal” to the LGBTQ community to the antics of President Donald Trump, who claimed to be an ally to help get elected before going after our rights while in office.
— Chris Sgro (@cristoferosgro) August 30, 2017
@joeldford Ford pretending to be friend to LGBTQ community is a page out of Trump’s campaign book. Didn’t fool us then. Won’t fool us now.
— Chris Sgro (@cristoferosgro) August 30, 2017
UPDATE 2 (8/31): Equality NC has responded to Ford’s attempt to portray himself as an ally to the LGBTQ community.
The organization has “for the first time in a decade” issued a warning to voters, urging against casting a ballot for Ford, whom it reported ignored “the organization’s multiple requests to fill out a candidate questionnaire to be considered for endorsement.”
“Senator Ford has voted against measures that aimed to further non-discrimination protections and civil rights for those very constituents he claims it is so important to stand up for,” Hirschy said in a statement. “On multiple occasions, Ford has superimposed his own values on the LGBTQ community by telling them that he knows what is best for them. It is very clear from Ford’s voting record that he has a gross misunderstanding of the needs, desires, and every day lives of LGBTQ North Carolinians. If Ford is the friend of the community like he claims, why has he failed to stand with LGBTQ groups calling for a full repeal of HB2? Why is the Senator voting for bills that compromise on the civil rights of LGBTQ North Carolinians?”
Equality NC also laid out Ford’s anti-LGBTQ voting record over the years:
In 2010, as chair of the Mecklenburg County Democratic Party, Ford expressed support for “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and opposition to President Barack Obama’s push to have the discriminatory law repealed, calling the President’s efforts politically motivated. Only after being questioned by local LGBTQ news-media did Senator Ford reverse his position.
In 2015, Senator Ford voted for SB2 – a law that granted magistrates the right to refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
In 2017, Senator Ford introduced a HB2 compromise bill that did little to address the discriminatory language written into law by the original HB2.
In 2017, Senator Ford voted for HB142, the law that replaced and continued the discriminatory HB2 and barred cities from passing crucial non-discrimination protections until 2020.
This is one sponsored Facebook post Ford probably wishes he could get back.
UPDATE 3 (9/1): MeckPAC is now reiterating its own warning against Ford in response to his sponsored social media post.
The LGBTQ advocacy group noted that Ford was the only Democratic candidate for mayor who refused to answer its questionnaire, or come in for the subsequent followup interview.
When MeckPAC came out with its list of endorsements late last month, it included a warning for Ford, strongly discouraging support for the candidate.
This latest gaffe by Ford has given the group cause to publish a separate post to their website to increase awareness around the candidate’s phony attempt at playing ally.
In addition to what has been already outlined above, MeckPAC points out that Ford recently told The Charlotte Observer that he voted in favor of Amendment One, the 2012 state constitutional amendment defining marriage as only between one man and one woman.