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Charlotte Pride Festival Draws Thousands

Pride

Thousands of people marched and celebrated in uptown Charlotte over the weekend for the city's gay pride festival, Charlotte Observer reports:

The parade drew corporate sponsors, City Council members, allies and members of the gay community. Parade goers supported the parade participants with rainbow-colored dogs, pink boas and signs like “God Adores You.”

The festival, which ran Saturday and Sunday, was expected to draw more than 80,000 people, event organizers said, though Charlotte Mecklenburg police Capt. Mike Campagna declined to provide a crowd estimate. [...]

Several churches made appearances in the parade, with signs like “God Loves Everyone” from St. John Baptist Church, “God Invites. We Welcome. All.” from Caldwell Presbyterian Church and “Discrimination is a Sin” from Wedgewood Church.

There were few protesters out on Sunday. A half-dozen people stood along Tryon Street, holding signs like “God Hates Pride” and “Pornography/Pathway to Hell’s Fire.”

The AP adds that one of the honored guests at the parade was Crystal Moore, the Latta, SC police chief who was fired earlier this year by the town's homophobic mayor. Moore was subsequently reinstated by a public vote. 

[photo via Facebook/Wayne White Music Photography]


North Carolina Restaurant Says No To PFLAG Fundraiser

A North Carolina pizza restaurant has received heavy criticism for refusing to host a fundraiser for the local Gaston County chapter of PFLAG, something it has done repeatedly for other organizations in the past.

1According to the Gaston Gazette, Doug Rogers, owner of Johnny B’s Pizza Pad, claims he was not being discriminatory:

“I think everyone on our planet is entitled to happiness,” Rogers said Thursday. “It’s not my decision to determine how to live your life. I’m just making a business decision not to host that organization here because I feel like it’s not a good business decision.”

However, the PFLAG chapter's president, Ginger Feimster, says she spoke to Rogers herself and he was distinctly more blunt with her.

“He said he just couldn’t do it because of his personal feelings,” she said. “He said, ‘I just don’t approve of that lifestyle, and I’m not doing anything to support it.’”

Rogers has also allegedly deleted many critical comments on the restaurant's Facebook page.

A PFLAG Gaston board member suggested that his actions might affect Johnny B’s Pizza Pad in the future:

“I think it’s extremely disheartening in today’s world and today’s reality,” he said. “I don’t think he was thinking clearly or understood what he was doing will have broader implications. I know there are a lot of us who will not patronize his business now.”

On the bright side, Rogers has agreed to attend a PFLAG summer theater production this weekend at a local Episcopal Church. The PFLAG chapter has been active in Gaston County since 2009.

Photo via Facebook


ACLU of North Carolina on 4th Circuit Marriage Ruling: 'The Time to Act is Now'

Aclu_nc

The ACLU of North Carolina told reporters that it would push harder to invalidate the state's gay marriage ban following yesterday's ruling by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals affirming the unconstitutionality of Virginia's ban.

The News & Observer reports:

Chris Brook, legal director at the ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation, announced the plans before a bank of TV cameras and group of news crews. His organization and the national ACLU are behind several lawsuits pending in federal court in this state challenging the constitutionality of the 2012 voter-approved amendment changing the North Carolina Constitution to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman...

...Brook acknowledged that an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court decision could mean that gay marriages will not occur immediately in North Carolina. It could be next summer before such a decision is weighed by the U.S. Justices.

But civil rights attorneys want to be prepared to move quickly in the wake of a higher court ruling and they will argue that North Carolina's ban should be overturned immediately.

"The time to act is now," Brook said. "The law is very clear here in North Carolina."

Watch video of Brook at WRAL...


SC Attorney General Will Continue to Defend State's Same-Sex Marriage Ban: VIDEO

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson has said that he will continue to fight a lawsuit aiming to overturn the state’s ban on same-sex marriage despite a ruling by a federal appeals court, reports The Daily Journal.

Unlike Wilson, yesterday North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper announced he would no longer defend the state's ban in court. There are four lawsuits currently challenging it in North Carolina.

South Carolina passed a law banning same-sex marriage in 1996. Voters approved a similar constitutional amendment in 2006.

Yesterday, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. The ruling has jurisdiction over South Carolina which is in the circuit, along with North Carolina and West Virginia.

The lawsuit against South Carolina was filed by a Katherine Bradacs and Tracie Goodwin who were legally married in Washington, D.C., and are now living in South Carolina. The case has been on hold while the appeals court considered the Virginia case.

Mark Powell, a spokesman for Wilson, said he sees no need to change course because the U.S. Supreme Court will likely make the final decision.

"Ultimately, this will be a decision for the U.S. Supreme Court. People should not rush to act or react until that time, when a decision is made by the highest court in the land.”

However, according to Ryan Wilson, executive director of South Carolina Equality, the ruling brings the state one step closer to same-sex marriage and “confirms that gay and lesbian couples are no different from straight couples.”

Last October, Linda Oliver, the mayor of West Union, South Carolina, came under fire for saying that she didn't want "queer" marriages "rammed down her throat."

Watch a Wavy.com report on the striking down of Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "SC Attorney General Will Continue to Defend State's Same-Sex Marriage Ban: VIDEO" »


NC Attorney General Says He'll No Longer Defend State's Gay Marriage Ban Following 4th Circuit Virginia Ruling

Cooper

North Carolina's Attorney General Roy Cooper said today that he would no longer defend the state's gay marriage ban following the Virginia ruling today from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, the News Observer reports:

Cooper said that in light of the decision it would be “futile” to continue arguing the North Carolina’s case against same-sex marriage.

“I have concluded that the state of North Carolina will not oppose the cases moving forward,” Cooper said before a bank of television cameras at his office in downtown Raleigh. “… Our office believes the judges in North Carolina are bound by this 4th Circuit decision.”

Four cases are currently challenging North Carolina's ban on gay marriage. Cooper's decision will not immediately affect NC, the paper says, because no judge has ruled there, but it does pave the way for further equality rulings.

Added Cooper: “Our attorneys have vigorously argued this case every step of the way … There are really no arguments left to be made.”

Watch video of Cooper at WRAL.


North Carolina Charter School Bill Drops Protections For LGBT Students

Last Friday, new legislation was approved by the North Carolina House of Representatives that fails to provide protections for LGBTI students at charter schools run by for-profit management companies, reports NC Policy Watch.  

220px-Marcus_BrandonSenate Bill 793 prevents charter schools from discriminating on the basis of “ethnicity, national origin, gender, or disability” but fails to provide specific protections for LGBT students.

The bill, which also allows charter schools to keep employees’ salaries secret, included protections for LGBT students in earlier versions.

Democrat Rep. Marcus Brandon, who is the only openly LGBT member of the North Carolina General Assembly, had argued that the LGBT community is not a protected class in North Carolina.  This prompted the need for a previous amendment that drew on language from federal law, which was eventually stripped in a conference committee.

The Senate must act on the bill before it goes to the Governor.

Last month, during a debate on Senate Bill 793, North Carolina Republican Representative Paul Stam compared pedophilia, incest, masochism and other illegal sexual practices with homosexuality.

 

 


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