HRC Blog

North Carolina Press Conference Raises Uncomfortable Questions for G.O.P.

A press conference yesterdayday on a move to limit the rights of North Carolinians seemed to turn uncomfortable for its speakers — Representatives Skip Stam and Dale Folwell.  The two called the press conference to attempt to make the case for a constitutional amendment prohibiting same sex unions.  But their comments quickly put them on the defensive.

Reporters pushed Rep. Stam to clarify comments that seemingly tied same sex relationships to adult incest and that suggested sexual orientation is a matter of choice.

Later, Rep. Folwell surprised some when he agreed with a reporter who suggested that another way to defend ‘traditional marriage’ would be to address poverty and infidelity in the constitution.

Audience members also pressed Rep. Folwell to explain why the G.O.P. is expending energy on a superfluous constitutional amendment (NC law already defines marriage as being between a man and a woman) rather than on creating jobs. Businesses have come forward to say that the amendment would drive away companies with diversity policies.

Rep. Stam was asked to back up comments about studies showing societal harm of same sex couples, especially since the American Academy of Pediatrics has said, “There is ample evidence to show that children raised by same-gender parents fare as well as those raised by heterosexual parents.”

The absence of Speaker of the House Thom Tillis also raised eyebrows and provoked questions about the G.O.P.’s unity on the amendment push.  On that note, a story in Tuesday’s Wilmington Star News begins this way, “For state Sen. Bill Rabon, his vote on a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage is a no-win proposition.”

Said Alex Miller of Equality NC, “This amendment and the campaign around it will put off businesses at a time when North Carolina needs jobs more than ever.  Reps. Stam, Folwell and others were elected to create jobs, not put them in jeopardy.  If this amendment causes North Carolina to lose one business or one job, that’s one too many.”

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