George WallaceThe decision of North Carolina House to override Gov. Pat McCrory’s veto of Senate Bill 2 this morning comes on an appropriate anniversary in American history.

As the Jackson Mississippi Clarion-Ledger reminds us this morning:

“June 11, 1963: Alabama Governor George Wallace stood in front of a schoolhouse door at the University of Alabama in an attempt to stop desegregation by the enrollment of two African-American students, Vivian Malone and James Hood. Wallace stood aside after being confronted by federal marshals, Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach and the Alabama National Guard. Later in life, Wallace apologized for his opposition to racial integration.”

Let’s hope it doesn’t take long for officials of the United States government to ask state Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore to step aside (and that Berger and Moore don’t take as long as Wallace did to apologize for their embarrassing actions).


The state House wasted little time on Thursday in voting (69-41 ) to override Governor Pat McCrory’s veto of Senate Bill 2. The legislation allows magistrates and registers of deeds to opt-out of performing same-sex weddings.  The Senate overrode the governor’s veto on June 1st, meaning the measure now becomes law despite McCrory’s objections.

“The General Assembly has reaffirmed that SB-2 protects sincerely held religious beliefs while also ensuring that magistrates are available in all jurisdictions to perform lawful marriages,” Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) stated after the vote.

Opponents of SB2 are condemning the House’s decision to validate the bill they say is clearly a license to discriminate:

marriage amendment“This is a sad day for North Carolina that history will not judge kindly,” said Sarah Preston, acting Executive Director of the ACLU of North Carolina. “Just eight months after our state extended the freedom to marry to same-sex couples, extremist lawmakers have passed discrimination into law, allowing government officials to deny marriage services to virtually any couple. This shameful backlash against equality will make it harder for all couples in our state to marry and force many to spend what is supposed to be a happy day trapped in a maze of government offices. We encourage any North Carolina couples who encounter new hurdles because of this discriminatory law to contact our office.”

“Senate Bill 2 is unconstitutional, and will undoubtedly be challenged in court. This bill, which will now become law, is discriminatory and treats gay and lesbian couples as second class citizens. We are more determined than ever to achieve full equality for LGBT people in North Carolina and to ensure that LGBT youth know that they are not alone,” said Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, executive director of the Campaign for Southern Equality.

“We are disappointed to see the House vote against the the legal rights and best interests of LGBT people and of the entire state of North Carolina,” said Equality NC executive director Chris Sgro. “From the business community to local leaders to the governor, North Carolinians have stood up and said Senate Bill 2 is deeply problematic and discriminatory legislation. While it targets same-sex couples, in the process it creates problems for all North Carolinians who seek use of taxpayer-funded public services.”

“This law is nothing more than state sanctioned discrimination. It is a terribly misguided attempt to rewrite what equal protection under the law means. Equality and fairness are not principles that are decided on a case-by-case basis, dependent upon who happens to be working the counter on a particular day. Neither the United States Constitution nor the North Carolina Constitution permit any such thing. It is terribly unfortunate that this many elected officials don’t understand that,” said Jake Sussman of Charlotte-based Tin Fulton Walker & Owen and lead counsel in General Synod of the UCC v. Reisinger, the lawsuit that struck down Amendment One last October.

Image: Franklin Graham's Facebook page

Image: Franklin Graham’s Facebook page

The responses are pouring into the Rev. Franklin Graham’s latest homophobic rant. The son of famed evangelist Billy Graham and head of North Carolina-based Samaritan’s Purse is calling for a boycott of Wells Fargo Bank and Tiffany & Co., because the companies have acknowledged and celebrated same sex married couples in advertisements.

One of the best responses thus far is entitled “So let me get this straight…” and it comes from Prof. Dominick Scudera of Ursinus College courtesy of the Huffington Post. As Scudera notes:

“So let me get this straight …

All mothers deserve to be celebrated, except lesbian mothers who adopt deaf children because those particular mothers are part of the moral decay being crammed down the throat of Christians in America? Is that right? Am I understanding that correctly?

In his Facebook post, Graham supports a boycott of businesses that are supportive of gay rights: ‘At the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, we are moving our accounts from Wells Fargo to another bank … Let’s just stop doing business with those who promote sin and stand against Almighty God’s laws and His standards.’

Graham used his Facebook account to spread his message. Facebook is a gay-friendly business. Facebook is one of 379 corporations and employer organizations who have urged the Supreme Court to strike down state bans on gay marriage in a friend-of-the-court brief.

So let me get this straight …

We should stop doing business with those companies which promote sin and stand against Almighty God’s laws and His standards, except Facebook. Yes?

Well, maybe Twitter, too. At the bottom of the “Celebrate Moms” campaign page, readers are urged to share the message on Facebook and Twitter. Twitter is another one of the 379 corporations supporting gay marriage….”

Read Scudera’s entire post by clicking here.



Gay marriage 3Even as lawmakers move to override Governor McCrory’s veto of Senate Bill 2 — the proposal to allow magistrates, registers of deeds and assistant registers of deeds opt out of performing same sex marriages — North Carolina public opinion continues to move rapidly in the direction of tolerance.

One of the nation’s most accurate polling firms — Public Policy Polling — has the details:

“PPP’s newest North Carolina poll finds a record high level of support for gay marriage, 8 months after it became legal in the state. Voters are now almost evenly divided on the issue with 44% in support and 46% against it. That marks a massive shift in public sentiment over the last three years. In 2012 North Carolinians passed a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage by 22 points, 61/39. Last year we found that voters in the state still opposed it by 13 points at 40/53.

The big shift in attitudes may be a product of North Carolinians finding after gay marriage did become legal in the state that it just wasn’t a big deal. 69% of voters in the state either say that its being legal has had a positive impact on their lives or no impact at all, with only 31% claiming it’s had a negative effect.

The numbers by party in North Carolina on this issue really show the extent to which Republicans are on such a different plane when it comes to social issues than Democrats and independents. 59% of both Democrats and independents say they think gay marriage should be legal- meanwhile only 17% of Republicans do. There’s also a huge generational gap- 57% of voters under 45 favor gay marriage, while only 36% over 45 do. Support will just keep increasing given that age divide.”

See all the details of the new PPP poll by clicking here.


It’s almost assuredly not going to happen, but if there was a way for the motion to override the Governor’s veto of Senate Bill 2 to fail tonight, here’s how it might conceivably happen:

It takes a 3/5 vote of those present to override. Assuming everyone shows up that means 30 votes are necessary to override. 21 “noes” would defeat the motion.

So, first of all, all of the Democrats would almost certainly have to vote “no.” On the original vote, two Democrats voted “yes” — Senators Ben Clark and Joel Ford. Ford has already said he’s going to switch to “no.”  If Clark would come to his senses also that’s 16 against.

Now, two Republicans courageously voted “no” originally — John Alexander and Jeff Tarte.  Assuming they stick to their guns that’s 18.

Where to find three more Republicans with a modicum of common sense?

The three most obvious candidates are:

  • Senator Tamara Barringer of Wake County, a relative newcomer who has been know to show an independent streak on occasion,
  • Senator Stan Bingham of Davidson County  — a moderate who used to vote with the Dems, is retiring and who would seem to have little that the powers-that-be could threaten,  and
  • Senator Fletcher Hartsell of Cabarrus County — another relative moderate who regularly charts an independent course and who has been in the Senate for more than a quarter-century.

If all three of these folks could somehow be persuaded to do the right thing or just not show up tonight — Hartsell missed the last vote — a failure to override is at least conceivable. Stay tuned. We’re not holding our breath, but you never know.