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Anti-gay marriage lawmaker’s certificate appears legit

Here’s a very quick update on state Sen. James “Jim” Forrester, the Republican lawmaker behind the anti-gay marriage amendment that will show up on ballots in May.

Forrester, 74, a Gaston County doctor, was accused of falsifying some of his medical credentials on his campaign website, after a blogger contacted the American College of Preventive Medicine about Forrester’s anti-gay marriage stance and medically refuted statements Forrester made about gay individuals having shorter life spans than heterosexuals. The national group responded he wasn’t a member, and then the blogosphere in the gay rights movement and  N.C. politics buzzed about Forrester’s misleading resume for a good portion of last week.

Forrester told NC Policy Watch last Friday that he was indeed a fellow from the national group, and had a certificate on the wall to prove it. He sent us a copy of it, and it does indeed show that Forrest was a fellow in 1984.

(You can see the certificate here, though the copy Forrester sent us makes it a bit tough to read).

So how did all this get misconstrued?

Mike Barry, the head of American College of Preventative Medicine told a NY-based blogger Scott Rose (who broke the news on Pam’s House Blend blog) and WRAL last week that  Forrester wasn’t listed as a fellow of the professional society. But Barry neglected to mention that the organization’s records only go back to the early 1990s.

The group now thinks Forrester joined in 1984, but stopped paying his dues to the organization sometime before the group started keeping lists of its 700 to 750 fellows in the early 1990s.

“It looks legitimate,” Barry said Friday about Forrester’s certificate.

Forrester should be referring to himself as a past fellow, since he stopped paying his dues, and the lawmaker has said he’d update his campaign website.

But, as of this afternoon, the online resume hadn’t been updated.

It was the first time the American College of Preventive Medicine found themselves inserted in such a heated political controversy , Barry said. He hopes it’s the last.

3 Comments


  1. John Grooms

    October 7, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    What a cheap trick, claiming 30 -year-old honors even though he hasn’t been a member for years. The line between making “inadvertent mistakes” and being a liar can be defined this way: if you admit “mistakes” and still haven’t taken down the phony credentials a full week after being called on them, that’s lying.

  2. Frances Jenkins

    October 7, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    You should do the right thing and tell him you are sorry. Shame on you for spreading such falsehoods.

  3. Sarah Ovaska

    October 8, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    Thank you both for your comments. Frances — I want to correct you, and let you know that there were no inaccuracies in my reporting. I spoke with Sen. Forrester and included his comments in my initial post, and this post is simply an update now that we’ve received a copy of his certificate. Other news agencies may have reported things differently, but my reporting on this has been accurate.

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