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Mecklenburg County Commissioner Told to Apologize After Referring to Colleague's Son Who Died of AIDS As 'a Homo'

Mecklenburg County Commissioner Bill James was told to apologize by the commission chair after using the word "homo" in reference to a colleague's son moments after that colleague had said her son had died of AIDS.

James The Charlotte Observer reports:

"The incident occurred Tuesday during a meeting in which a majority of commissioners agreed to offer domestic-partner benefits to county workers in same-sex relationships starting in 2011. Toward the end of an emotional, two-hour debate on the topic, James leaned over to commissioner Vilma Leake and asked: 'Your son was a homo, really?' Leake responded: 'You're going to make me hurt you. Don't do that to me. Don't talk about my son.' Leake had just finished speaking about her personal connection to the debate, including mentioning her son's 1993 death from AIDS. 'To be insensitive to that is completely inappropriate,' Roberts said Wednesday. 'I think he does owe her an apology.' But James said he won't apologize, and said he was only asking Leake to clarify an earlier comment she made about her son's death and his lifestyle. He said he wasn't making a derogatory comment, and used a slang word used when he was growing up. 'People can believe whatever they want, they can believe in the tooth fairy and legend of Atlantis,' James said. 'I don't determine what I do based on what people think. I determine it based on what I did and what I did was I asked a question and that question doesn't deserve or require an apology.'"

Leake wants James censured.

On a more positive note, the Mecklenburg County Commission approved domestic partner benefits to spouses of gay employees by a 6 - 3 vote.

Video and interview with James, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. I assume that Mr James opposed the partner benefits.

    Posted by: Icon | Dec 17, 2009 9:19:51 AM

  2. Scum. Pure scum.

    Posted by: DN | Dec 17, 2009 9:49:52 AM

  3. What a LOSER

    Posted by: KFLO | Dec 17, 2009 9:56:21 AM

  4. Charlotte is a very conservative city, and I am glad to see this progress being made. I hope this pattern holds well for the rest of NC's major cities.

    Posted by: Mike | Dec 17, 2009 10:17:43 AM

  5. Is having a round face, smug look and acrylic looking hair a genetic set of markers for insensitive or vile and hateful people? I notice it among politicians and preachers, mainly.

    Posted by: gregorybrown | Dec 17, 2009 10:20:19 AM

  6. Such a class act.

    I wonder what other childhood slang terms he uses?

    Posted by: Esther Blodgett | Dec 17, 2009 10:25:47 AM

  7. The matter of fact is....this is only acceptable to say about gays, and the other fact of the matter remains...we LET them. We allow this stuff to occur. We play weak, we don't stand strong in our voice, and are too afraid of being seen gay...well guess what? if you don't speak up and DEMAND respect and say "hey! no one else gets this treatment, why do gays?"....then we won't be getting this treatment.

    It's scary to think elected officials have been the most OUTSPOKEN bigots and homophobes, makes you wonder what message that sends the normal citizen...but unless we have a horse in the race, unless we get out there and look into a career in politics, become passionate about politics (much like Ms. Parker in Houston) and encourage gay friends who have the know how, courgae, and confidence to go into politics...we'll just be an outsider for this pieces of dirt.

    We obviously can't see change happen...we need to make change happen!

    Posted by: Bayley | Dec 17, 2009 10:26:55 AM

  8. So inappropriate and unbelievable insensitive. Piece of fucking shit, And you know these dumb breeders smile on the inside when they hear a "homo" died of Aids. Sickening.

    Posted by: J. Bocca | Dec 17, 2009 10:29:56 AM

  9. Leake was a whole lot nicer than I would have been. I would probably have been removed from the chamber.

    Posted by: Joe | Dec 17, 2009 10:39:32 AM

  10. Quote from the article:
    James has come under fire before, including a 2004 email in which he wrote that urban blacks "live in a moral sewer."
    Hopefully this person gets voted out of public office soon.

    Posted by: Blue Wizard | Dec 17, 2009 10:49:38 AM

  11. I'm going to exercise my first amendment right and say that Mr. James is a fat bloated stupid looking gay hater. How's that for freedom of speech?

    Posted by: Janice Neal | Dec 17, 2009 11:48:47 AM

  12. i would like to understand how it was ever appropriate to refer to someone as a "homo"? and I take resentment towards our lives being called a "lifestyle"...umm, excuse me, but I get up, go the gym, go to work, and eat dinner with my is that any different then what a hetro couple does? assholes!!

    Posted by: Paul | Dec 17, 2009 11:51:34 AM

  13. They don't go to the gym.

    Posted by: csann | Dec 17, 2009 12:25:16 PM

  14. One doesn't apologize only when they do something on purpose. He deeply hurt his colleague's feelings and that should warrant his apology. Otherwise, it just looks like he's being a scumbag, which he is.

    Posted by: Bruno | Dec 17, 2009 1:47:35 PM

  15. She really should have hurt him.

    Posted by: niles | Dec 17, 2009 2:20:46 PM

  16. if he would have said to my mom, his tubby ass would be smirking through a wired jaw right now

    Posted by: Matt | Dec 17, 2009 2:26:54 PM

  17. Wow, what a total ass this guy is. That idiots like this can be elected is a sad comment on the USA.

    Posted by: db | Dec 17, 2009 2:58:22 PM

  18. where fuck is hicklebickle county lol.

    Posted by: Drewboo | Dec 17, 2009 3:26:06 PM

  19. Call Bill James:

    (704) 336-2573


    (704) 549-9121

    728 Mountainwater Dr,
    Charlotte, NC. 28262

    (If you want to protest outside his house)

    Posted by: Mitch | Dec 17, 2009 7:15:51 PM

  20. Nevermind residential info...

    It has been brought to my attention that we are not certain that is his house or home phone. The other information is correct, though.

    Posted by: Mitch | Dec 17, 2009 7:26:40 PM

  21. Oh yes where is GRABBNEWSCUM and JohnInBoston since he is always talking about homophobia from The African American Community.
    I guess this must be a relative of theirs.

    What a DAMN SHAME.....Old Southerners just have no shame!

    Posted by: Precious Magillicutty | Dec 18, 2009 12:30:05 AM

  22. Dear Folks,
    I live in Charlotte, NC, Mecklenburg County. We have put up with this man's shenanigan's since 1998 and "The Gang of 5." He and four other commissioners were appalled at "Angles In America" being presented here. Hoyle Martin, Joel Carter, Tom Bush, and George Higgins. Bill James and the rest of the ilk tried to take over our Arts and Science Council. That way, They (Gang of 5) would say what can and cannot be performed here in our city. I have lived in this city for more than 45 years. It still has an awfully long way to go!

    Posted by: Myles Miller | Dec 18, 2009 6:20:12 AM

  23. @ Mike, Charlotte is a very conservative city. But Charlotte has yet to do anything in the favor of gay rights. Charlotte itself does not offer anything! Not even a non-discrimination policy. And that has to do a lot with Mayor Pat McCroy. Remember this is Mecklenburg County – those are two different governments. I went just a few months ago to speak to the city of Charlotte to see how we could incorporate gay rights into their policies such as a non-discrimination act, domestic partner benefits and the main focus to see if they would support a resolution in support of same-sex marriage. All these items were turned down. Pat McCroy even told me himself, that he didn’t believe in gay rights and would never approve any of them!! It was even suggested that I take my steak to the Mecklenburge County because they are more progressive. This is one huge step for Mecklenburg County, but the city of Charlotte still has a ways to go. I would suggest they start acting like Durham, Boone, Chapel Hill and Carrboro – who have already passed a non-discrimination act, domestic partnership benefits, and also support a resolution in favor of same sex marriage! I totally agree with you Myles!!

    Posted by: Joshua Lee Weaver | Dec 18, 2009 9:02:04 AM

  24. Yeah, I'm not too surprised about this. If you really want to hear a nasty person say offensive things about us gay folks, you should listen to Democrat Fred Phelps. He hopes that us gay folks die and go to hell. It's unfortunate that he campaigned for Bill Clinton and Al Gore. Most people are under the impression that the liberals are doing something positive for the gay community. I mean, even Obama hates gay people. Maybe he will come around on the DADT policy, but don't hold your breath.

    Posted by: Alan | Dec 20, 2009 4:18:20 PM

  25. "slang word used when he was growing up"
    So when is he going to grow up??
    Ms. Leake is good one, cause I would have been removed for good from the Chamber... Just saying.

    Posted by: Nik | Dec 23, 2009 10:57:09 AM

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