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Robert PittengerAn editorial in this morning’s Charlotte Observer shines a light on the noxious views of North Carolina congressman Robert Pittenger:

Is it OK for a company to fire someone solely because he is gay?

U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger of Charlotte thinks so. It’s one of “the freedoms we enjoy” as Americans, he says. Private employers should have the freedom to discriminate against employees based on their sexual orientation, Pittenger says, and government shouldn’t take that ability away.

After a town hall meeting in Ballantyne this month, a reporter from the liberal political blog ThinkProgress, Alice Ollstein, asked Pittenger if he supported laws to protect gays in the workplace. Pittenger compared the right to fire gay workers to smoking bans.

“Do you ban smoking or do people have the right to private property? I think people have the right to private property,” Pittenger told Ollstein….

In a statement to the Observer editorial board Tuesday, Pittenger stood by his comments. He emphasized that he does not discriminate in his hiring and firing, but said the question should be left to the free market.”

The editorial rightfully goes on to expose the congressman’s opinion as vacuous hogwash indistinguishable from the hateful attitudes of those who would discriminate against potential employees based on race or religion. The congressman needs to rethink his views on this matter and issue an apology ASAP.

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Equality NCAs the Wilmington Star-News reports this morning, protesters led by advocates from Equality NC (that’s the group’s Executive Director, Chris Sgro pictured at left) spoke out yesterday in favor of a law change that would prevent taxpayer-funded school vouchers from going to schools that discriminate against LGBT children and the children of LGBT parents.

“A statewide gay rights group wants the General Assembly to change its new tuition voucher program so schools with policies that exclude gay people won’t receive taxpayer funding.

Members of the gay rights group Equality N.C. spoke out Tuesday against a policy recently adopted by Myrtle Grove Christian School that requires students’ families to promise they won’t support or participate in a gay lifestyle. The faith group N.C. Values Coalition also released a statement Tuesday supporting Myrtle Grove Christian School’s right to set its own admission policies. Read More

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You know things have taken a turn for a worse already under conservative control of the UNC system when the pro-discrimination forces on the religious right are happy with one of the first, major, high-profile decisions.

According to NC Values Coalition director Tami Fitzgerald, the Board’s decision to force LGBT kids back into same-sex living arrangements where they can be more easily bullied once again has brought “sanity to the university housing environment.’

Got that? God forbid that some gay 19 year-old boy might be able to room with a straight co-ed! As the WRAL story notes, more than 100 colleges around the country provide for a gender-neutral housing option (an option that former Chancellor Holden Thorp — a person who has actually interacted with a few modern college students — said was vital to protect the safety of some kids).    

But never mind that now; the sex-obesessed religious right (the same troubled group that fought against laws to protect bullied LGBT kids in the K-12 system for years) is still committed to returning North Carolina to the 1950’s — whatever the cost.  

 

Yield: Love conquers everything; let us too, yield to love

This is the final piece in a series of videos by Mimi Schiffman on North Carolina’s Amendment One:

“You know, everybody says it’s just a word, but there’s more to it. There’s a feeling of belonging,” said Jeff Enochs of Charlotte, N.C. “I wanted my state to recognize that we are going to spend the rest of our lives together.”

Watch Jeff and his partner Brian Helms travel to Washington, D.C., the closest place they can legally marry.

The wedding is set to take place just weeks in advance of North Carolina’s primary, in which voters will decide whether to amend the constitution to read: “Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state.”

Production: Mimi Schiffman
Music: Phil Cook & His Feat
Additional Camera: Ben Berry

Mimi Schiffman is a photographer, videographer and multimedia producer pursuing a master’s degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This work is a part of a documentary project she is producing on marriage equality for her thesis. The work is being released in the lead-up to the 2012 North Carolina primaries on May 8, 2012, where voters are asked to decide on a constitutional amendment which could render many established same-gender couples and their families legal strangers in the eyes of the law.

Mimi’s work is being posted on Huffington Post.

Yield: Love conquers everything; let us too, yield to love

This is the third piece in a series of videos by Mimi Schiffman on North Carolina’s Amendment One:

In a small school a little north and a little west of downtown Durham, N.C., a group of eleven-, twelve- and thirteen-year-olds has been busy organizing a field-trip.

Watch as a middle school’s gay-straight alliance, GLOW, for Gay Lesbian or Whatever, embarks on an adventure in civic engagement with real consequences for many of the club’s members.

“They don’t really see kids as having an idea of how they want their future to be like,” said Sarah, a GLOW member, “but when we actually voice our opinion it really does make a difference.”

Production: Mimi Schiffman
Music: Phil Cook & His Feat
Additional Camera: Patrick Mustain and Vanessa Patchett

Special thanks to:
Lisa Joyner
Carolina Friends School
Phil Cook

Mimi Schiffman is a photographer, videographer and multimedia producer pursuing a master’s degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This work is a part of a documentary project she is producing on marriage equality for her thesis. The work is being released in the lead-up to the 2012 North Carolina primaries where voters are asked to decide on a constitutional amendment which could render many established same-gender couples and their families legal strangers in the eyes of the law.

Mimi’s work is being posted on Huffington Post.