Grassroots activists with Charlotte Rainbow Action Network for Equality (CRANE) will present conservative, anti-gay Mecklenburg County Commissioner Bill James a special Valentine’s card at the County Commissioners meeting on Tuesday. Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community were at the receiving end of James’ anti-gay comments and slurs in December.
CRANE organizers Laura Maschal and Lacey Williams hope James will open up and reconsider his stances on LGBT equality. Maschal’s and Williams’ Valentine’s card will contain signatures and thoughts from local LGBT community members.
“We’d like to present Commissioner James with a Valentine’s card from the gay and gay-friendly community in Charlotte with the hope that with loving support, and maybe some tough love, he can turn his attitudes around in 2010,” Maschal said in a press release. “We’ll keep on checking in with him throughout the year to make sure he stops using anti-gay slurs and begins to open his eyes to the power of love in our community.”
At the County Commissioners meeting on Dec. 16, 2009, during debate on proposed domestic partner benefits for LGBT city employees and their partners, James leaned over to fellow Commissioner Vilma Leake and said, “Your son was a homo, really?” His comments in response to Leake’s emotional story of her son and his death were outrageous and inappropriate, yet James offered no apology. In fact, he continued to make outrageous statements to local media outlets in the days following the meeting. James’ latest comments are but a few in a long history of abusive rhetoric directed at LGBT citizens and residents in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.
— Compiled by qnotes staff from press release. [Ed. Note — qnotes editor Matt Comer is an organizer with CRANE.]