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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.  

 

Alaska

Good news and bad news from the U.S. Senate today:

The good: Overwhelming approval of The Employment Non-Discrimination Act ENDA – 64-34. The “ayes” included several Republicans including, believe it or not, that radical leftist Orrin Hatch of Utah (but not, disappointingly, North Carolina’s Richard Burr).Wonder when someone will stick a microphone in the face of Burr and the other opponents and ask them why they think it’s okay to fire people because they are gay.

The bad: More absurd stonewalling of eminently qualified women nominees to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit – the nation’s second most important court.  

Good news and bad news on the public education front from NC Policy Watch reporter Lindsay Wagner:

The good: North Carolina fourth and eighth graders continue to do better than average on the National Assessment of Educational Progress tests.

The bad: Really lousy new numbers for NC students on standardized tests as the state moves to align with the much more rigorous demands of the Common Core education standards. The Common Core, of course, has been a target of frequent attacks from the right (and some progressives).

Good news and bad news from the McCrory administration in recent days: Read More

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.  

 

From the good folks at the ACLU of North Carolina:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 26, 2013 

ACLU Wins Landmark Victory for Marriage Equality; Supreme Court Rules DOMA Unconstitutional
ACLU-NC Says Ruling “Makes Us More Determined Than Ever to Secure Equal Rights for LGBT North Carolinians”

RALEIGH – Today, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as between a man and a woman, is unconstitutional. This ruling will allow legally married same-sex couples to receive more than 1,000 federal benefits.

Edith Windsor, the plaintiff in United States v. Windsor, was represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and New York Civil Liberties Union, among others.

 The ACLU of North Carolina (ACLU-NC) released the following statement: Read More

[Note: the following post comes to us from Caitlin Breedlove, co-director of Southerners on New Ground].

By Caitlin Breedlove, SONG Co-Director

As an LGBTQ person, I think what is happening at the North Carolina legislature affects our community deeply. I want LGBTQ people to be involved in fighting back against this repressive legislation because I think it is the right thing to do, but also because it deeply affects us. In the past few months, we have seen terrible changes in North Carolina– the cutting of Medicaid for half a million North Carolinians who are poor and working poor. Attacks against voting rights, our schools, healthcare rights for poor people, and the demonizing of immigrants. These are LGBTQ issues. They impact LGBTQ people deeply. Here is how*:

Poverty: Children raised in Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual families are twice as likely to grow up in poverty as kids raised in heterosexual households. Rural and African-American LGB people are even more likely to live in poverty, and lesbians are consistently more likely to be living in poverty than heterosexual women

Immigration: It seems simple, but thousands of immigrants are also LGBTQ people.

Medicaid: For the first time, low-income LGBT Americans have access to Medicaid. Failing to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, deprives hundreds of thousands of low-income North Carolinians, including low-income LGBT North Carolinians, from access to health care.

Voting Rights: Read More