House Majority Leader lectures on “morality,” “biology” and more!

Picture of Paul  Stam

Narrow-minded, backward-looking and mean-spirited ignorance of the lowest order were on full display at the General Assembly today.

The occasion was a press conference conducted by the numbers two and three Republicans in the House, Representatives Paul Stam and Dale Folwell, to support their plan to amend the North Carolina constitution to ban marriage between same sex couples (something that state law already prohibits).

Picture of Dale Robbins Folwell

As those who follow these kinds of things would have probably predicted, most of the choice nuggets of inanity came from Stam — the man sometimes referred to as the “prince of pelvic politics.” Folwell stuck mostly to script (the one laid out in his half-baked op-ed from today’s Winston-Salem Journal), about wanting to give “the people” a voice, but, as is usually the case with all things related to sexual behavior, Stam let loose with one of his usual cringe-inducing barrages. 

We hope to have a video of the event up ASAP, but for now, here are just a few choice nuggets. 


According to Stam (pictured above):

  • If same sex marriage is allowed, it will lead “next” to legalized “adult incest” and polygamous marriages since there’s no way to argue logically for same sex marriage and against state authorization of those other practices.
  • “Morality” and “biology” dictate that same sex marriage be proscribed.
  • Sexual orientation is a “choice.”
  • Same sex marriage will prove disastrous for all of our children and society generally because it will lead to the inevitable demise of marriage as an institution.
  • “All social science” demonstrates that it’s best to be raised in a marriage that features one man and one woman.

There were dozens of other demonstrably idiotic statements.

In any rational world, of course, Stam and Folwell’s absurd performance would be dismissed as so much quasi-theocratic, time-wasting babble — especially at a time (not that it would ever make sense) in which joblessness and natural disasters are battering the state.

Unfortunately, North Carolina is not an especially rational place right now. GOP leaders plan to drag the legislature back to Raleigh on September 12 to take up the marriage amendment.


  1. AdamL

    August 30, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    I know this is the top agenda item on the minds of my neighbors in Greenville as we try to get our power restored and the trees off of our houses. Thanks, Rep. Stam, for trying to make gay marriage super double illegal.

  2. Rob Schofield

    August 30, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    When Stam and Folwell were asked why Speaker Thom Tillis wasn’t there at the podium with them today, they explained that it was due to an unavoidable conflict and that they had intended to have it last week with Tillis but that concerns over the hurricane had intervened.


    But after watching the show today, you couldn’t help but think that someone as slick as Tillis would not want to be photgraphed standing behind Stam during his biology lecture while thousands of North Carolinians were suffering. .

  3. Brian Lewis

    August 30, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    I think the GBLT that bigots hate the most is the one living inside them.

  4. Louie

    August 30, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    is Debra McHenry planning to challenge Stam in his Apex district next year??. This guy Stam is far out radical right who could be defeated by the right Democrat.

  5. jlp75

    August 30, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    Well since “it will lead to the inevitable demise of marriage as an institution” I guess Skip is telling us only the law can protect him from marrying a man. All the more reason to get that amendment passed to make sure he will be safe.

    Of course the rest of us tend to live by the simple mantra, if you don’t want a same sex marriage, don’t have one. No need to deny this right to those that do.

  6. LLK

    August 30, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    So happy to see they have put the truly important issues as top priorities! [Sarcasm!] Why the h*ll can’t they do something useful, like help the unemployed? Oh, wait, I guess they believe my being unemployed is a choice. (Not my choice, of course, but that of wealthy executives…)

  7. Mike P.

    August 30, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    When proponents of same-sex marriage were pushing their cause in other states this year, did we hear from liberals that this was wrong because it distracted from the economy? I do not remember hearing that. Similarly, does anyone here want to explain just what about polygamy they find wrong such that it should be banned? Its just consenting adults, doing what they want, and loving who they love. I thought liberals supported that? No ‘government invading the bedroom,’ right? Of course, nobody here will bother to explain why polygamy is wrong, because they think it requires no explanation. Right- just like it used to ‘require no explanation’ that marriage means a man and a woman. This amendment will expose unattractive divisions within the NC democratic coalition- which is why you folks do not want it. It would not shock me if a majority of Democrats in the state voted ‘yes’- after all, 47% of Democrats did in Florida in 2008 according to the CNN exit poll, and the black vote is only about a quarter of the Democratic vote in FL, whereas it is about half of the Democratic vote in NC.

  8. HunterC

    August 30, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    @Mike P. — Marriage equality is an economic driver for states (and countries) that have it.

    Even states that simply have civil unions have seen increases in tourism and direct fee income.

    If you can’t follow the basic logic that equal rights are good economically, then bless your heart.

    The NC legislature should be rushing to pass civil unions — which a majority in NC favor — rather than some ridiculously vague constitutional amendment.

  9. Lyn H

    August 30, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    Ignorance is bliss, and there is a bounty of bliss in the GOP fear-mongering leadership. When are we going to hear about jobs, the platform that most ran on in the last election. I never hear them talk about jobs, mostly ideology of the radical right. It is a dark day in NC.

  10. Frances Jenkins

    August 31, 2011 at 6:52 am

    I think Mr. Mike has exposed a truthism that none of these golden egg educated, truth seeking, justice defining, poverty removing group will admit. Over fifty percent of Democrats in North Carolina will vote for this amendment.

  11. HunterC

    August 31, 2011 at 8:53 am

    Howdy Frances,

    By your logic, may I assume you will support and urge legislators to also pass a constitutional amendment granting civil unions to gay and lesbian couples in North Carolina?

    After all, if a majority in a poll supports it, why not?

  12. Mike P.

    August 31, 2011 at 10:07 am

    HunterC- well, if you want to hold a referendum on civil unions that the public can vote on, go convince the legislature to do so. The Democrats were in control of both chambers for a century, and they never did that. So maybe you should focus on them, rather than the GOP. You say that having gay marriage will help the economy- that’s a new one. If Democrats want to improve the economy, and make the state more hospitable to business, there are about a million ways to do that: most significantly, to reduce taxes and regulation. Of course, no Democrats want to do that, so maybe we should doubt their sudden, faux concerns about policies that are ‘anti-business.’ Can you personally name any company that will leave NC if the amendment passes? Can you explain why 8 of the top 10 states ranked best for business by Forbes have marriage amendments? (See http://www.forbes.com/2010/10/13/best-states-for-business-business-beltway-best-states-table.html). Similarly, as ranked by 500 CEOs for Chief Executive magazine, 8 of the top 10 states in that ranking have marriage amendments. (See http://chiefexecutive.net/best-worst-states-for-business). So, where exactly is this economic effect you are talking about?

  13. HunterC

    August 31, 2011 at 10:22 am

    Dearest Mikey,

    My assertion is about the positive economic impacts of marriage equality is nothing new. It’s a long-studied topic since marriage equality began to sweep across the nation.

    Here’s a recent study documenting the estimated first year economic impacts in New York state: http://services.law.ucla.edu/williamsinstitute/pdf/FirstYearWeddingSpending-Jul2011.pdf

    Please stop trying to deny the tourism and service sectors of NC’s economy their chance at this market.

  14. frances

    August 31, 2011 at 11:46 am

    Howdy back to you, again the golden egg educated love to put down the poor and less mentally current that the brillant Progressive Pulse, Policy Watch staff and followers. I will admit it, not as smart as you folks. My pencil writing is not as intelligent as everyone.I just want to sit at the table with such brillant people.You do know everything and how to say it well. However,I could give a rat’s rear who people marry. I just hate your high handy talk that is sometimes two faced. Come on, say it, you do not want this on the ballot because you think more Democrats will get voted out of office. Like the usual practices about the poor, education and gays, they are the means to your end.

  15. HunterC

    August 31, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    Frances, I’m nothing more than a rural-born, rural-raised, and public-school educated North Carolina citizen that wants to marry his spouse.

    My spouse (also NC born and raised) and I want our North Carolina parents to be at the wedding. My father-in-law had surgery recently, and he doesn’t travel well. I’d also like my remaining living grandparents who were born and raised in NC to be at the wedding as well. They’re nearing ninety and don’t travel well either. The idea of flying them to Iowa or New York or somewhere else is just out of the question right now.

    I don’t care about voter turnout or partisan games.

    I want my equality in my home state.

    I’m willing to take the second-class status of civil unions right now.

    Why won’t you join me in asking the legislature to pass civil unions?

  16. Mike P.

    September 1, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    HunterC- People spend money for all kinds of reasons, and there are all kinds of policies that cause people to spend money. One of them is reducing the sales tax, but that is not something anyone here wants to do. You make a very specific empirical claim not about how much money is spent on gay weddings, but that businesses apparently want to move to states with same-sex marriage. $100 million is a drop in the bucket of NY’s economy. What, exactly, has the economic impact been for Massachusetts, after the initial flurry of same-sex marriages there? I guess its economy would be even lower on all those ‘best-states-for-business rankings’ if it was not for gay marriage? Why is MA (along with NY and NJ) losing a congressional seat this year? States where businesses wants to go to do not lose congressional seats.

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