Come June 22, North Carolina voters will know who will challenge incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr this November.

In May, former state Sen. Cal Cunningham and current Secretary of State Elaine Marshall both failed to capture 40 percent of the primary election vote in their bids to win the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate. Marshall garnered 36 percent, while Cunningham walked away with 27 percent.

The Democratic primary between the two candidates brought some attention to LGBT issues. Durham blogger Pam Spaulding, of PamsHouseBlend.com, held “liveblogs” with each of the three major candidates, including Cunningham and Marshall. However, Spaulding said it took much longer to get the Cunningham campaign to commit to answering live and public questions. Spaulding eventually endorsed Marshall.

Despite the liveblogging snafu — which the Cunningham campaign attributed to tight scheduling — Spaulding’s efforts to get the candidates on the record produced identifiable results. See our table below for Spauldings’ report on the candidates’ LGBT equality stances.

Both Cunningham and Marshall have continued to reach out to LGBT voters as they continued their quest for the nomination. In late May, both candidates released statements supporting repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the 1993 law that prohibits open military service by lesbian, gay and bisexual Americans.

At the time, Cunnigham said he was pleased to learn of the White House’s support of a compromise repeal, which would take DADT out of federal law and return it to a policy status within the Department of Defense. That repeal language was passed by the full House of Representatives and Senate Armed Services Committee on May 27.

Cunningham said he would “take a leadership role in fighting to strengthen our Armed Services by ending discrimination,” adding: ”Sexual orientation plays no role in the good order and discipline of our troops on the battlefield. This policy has cost America more than 13,000 gay and lesbian service members during a time when we’ve needed them the most. The policy is inconsistent with America’s values and our military’s values — and it’s flat out wrong. That is why we must repeal ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ now.”

In her statement on the repeal, Marshall urged Burr, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, to join repeal efforts.

“I am pleased to hear that significant progress has been made in the last few days on repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’” Marshall said. “This is a seriously misguided policy, and it is high time we honor all men and women in this country who are willing to serve.”

Marshall added, “I call on Richard Burr, as a member of the Armed Services Committee, to join with fellow Senators and repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ by the end of the year.”

Burr voted against the repeal measure.

The primary runoff will be held on June 22. To check you voter registration and view polling locations, visit sboe.state.nc.us. : :

Issue Cunningham Marshall
Repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) Yes Yes
Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) Yes Yes
Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) Don’t know Yes
Hate crimes enforcement Yes Yes
Repeal of Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) Don’t know Yes
Marriage equality Don’t know Likely yes, not confirmed

Position statements courtesy Pam Spaulding, PamsHouseBlend.com.

Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.