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Gay marriage 3It’s been less than two years since North Carolina officially enshrined discrimination in its constitution by passing the execrable Amendment One. Now, less than 24 months later, just as Speaker Thom Tillis famously/infamously predicted, the law seems fast on its way to obsolescence and, ultimately, the dustbin of history.

Yesterday, lawyers with the ACLU of North Carolina asked a federal court to block enforcement of the law on behalf of three same-sex couples seeking recognition of their marriages – a result that developments in other states makes increasingly plausible.

Now, today, new polling shows that a sizable majority of North Carolinians opposes the substance of the discrimination amendment. According to one of the nation’s most accurate polling shops, Raleigh-based Public Policy Polling, not only do 40% of voters (62% of young voters) favor total marriage equality, but:

“There is increasingly little division among voters in the state about whether gay couples should at least have some sort of legal rights in the form of civil unions. 62% support either marriage or civil unions for same sex couples to only 34% who think they should have no legal recognition at all. 68% of both Democrats and independents support at least civil unions, and even Republicans narrowly do by a 50/48 spread.”

The discrimination amendment, of course, bars even civil unions for same-sex couples. All in all, it’s hard to see how the amendment survives the decade — and maybe even the year. Stay tuned.

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Gay prideOne of the most amazing developments in recent public policy debates has been the emergence of so much common ground between so-called Christian conservatives and the regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Who would have guessed that just a few decades after Ronald Reagan sought to confront the leaders in the Kremlin over what he called their “evil empire,” that his and their successors would find so much to share?

There’s the mutual devotion to unfettered plutocratic capitalism, the shared belief that environmentalists should be generally ignored, the common desire to link church and state and, perhaps most famously of late, the fact that both parties are willing to do whatever it takes to marginalize and discriminate against the LGBT community.

This strange mutual admiration society has arguably reached new heights in recent weeks with the largely successful Sochi Olympic games in which Putin emerged stronger than ever and the rise of a new wave of Putinist anti-gay proposals in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Happily, however, the whole bizarre and disturbing union suffered a big setback yesterday when Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona bowed to widespread national pressure (the owners of the NFL, for instance, made it clear they’d take back the 2015 Super Bowl from Phoenix if she signed it) and vetoed a proposal that would have permitted discrimination against gays in the name of “religious freedom.”

Let’s hope this is the beginning of the end for American Putinism, but given the Russian leader’s relative youth and vast fossil fuels-based wealth (and the passion that so many misguided Americans still bring to the cause of social reaction), we’re probably not out of the woods yet.

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It seems like every time I debate a conservative talking head on TV or radio and warn about North Carolina’s ongoing slide to the bottom (and mention that we seem bent on becoming the new Mississippi) the response goes something like this: “No, our model is Texas. That’s where they know how to grow the economy and shrink government.”

Of course, even at a glance, it’s obvious to most intelligent people why Texas is no model worth copying.  Lest you have any doubts, however, Andrea Flynn of the Roosevelt Institute explains some very important reasons why life in Texas is increasingly third-world-like for a huge chunk of the population: Read More

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Same-sex adoptionSame-sex adoption2

NC Policy Watch, the ACLU of North Carolina and Equality North Carolina are proud to host a very special Crucial Conversation — “Parents in life, strangers on paper: How North Carolina laws barring second-parent adoption and marriage for same-sex couples jeopardize families and their children.”

Featuring Chris Brook, Legal Director of the ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation; Chris Sgro, Executive Director of Equality North Carolina; and parents Chantelle Fisher-Borne, Shawn Long and Craig Johnson, plaintiffs in Fisher-Borne v. Smith, a federal lawsuit challenging North Carolina’s bans on second-parent adoption and marriage for same-sex couples on behalf of six North Carolina families.

When: Tuesday, December 3 at 12:00 p.m. – Box lunches will be available at 11:45 a.m.

Where: Center for Community Leadership Training Room at the Junior League of Raleigh Building, 711 Hillsborough St. (At the corner of Hillsborough and St. Mary’s streets)

Space is limited – pre-registration required.

Click here for parking info.

Click here to register

Questions?? Contact Rob Schofield at 919-861-2065 919-861-2065 or rob@ncpolicywatch.com

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Buddy Collins

According to an announcement released earlier today, Gov. McCrory has appointed A.L. “Buddy” Collins of Forsyth County to a two-year term on the state Task Force on Safer Schools. According to the release:  “The task force will provide guidance to the Center for Safer Schools and consider future policy and legislative action that is needed to improve school safety in North Carolina.”

The selection of Collins (pictured at left in an image taken from the website of the advocacy group Equality NC) comes as a bit of a surprise given the controversy that swirled around his original nomination to the Board of Education. That nomination, of course, was opposed vehemently by human rights advocates — particularly folks in the LGBT community — because of Collins’ repeated past clashes with advocates over proposed rules to protect LGBT children from bullying while serving on the Forsyth County Board of Education.

That controversy led Equality NC to detail a list of half-dozen objectionable acts by Collins and to call for Gov. McCrory to reconsider Collins’ nomination — an act he apparently never took.

Today’s appointment is rendered all the more interesting (and even ironic) by the fact that the Governor’s new “comprehensive plan” to make schools safer specifically mentions bullying at least 30 times.