Resolve in North Carolina
May 9, 2012 by Marty Rouse, National Field Director
To be honest, it was painful being in Charlotte, North Carolina last night. I was with about 150 others at Petra's Piano Bar watching on the big screen as results from Amendment One trickled in. In the end, 61 percent of North Carolinians who voted, voted for a constitutional amendment to define marriage. Thanks for the punch to the stomach, North Carolina.
It's never easy having your rights voted on by your family, friends and neighbors, and I felt profound sadness seeing the tears being shed, the clinging hugs and the empty stares.
But then something magical happened. The 20-something regional field director of the Protect All NC Families Campaign Ashlei Blue walked up on stage with her field team of other 20-somethings. She spoke of the dedication and spirit of her team and how they were so proud of the thousands of conversations they had with their fellow North Carolinians.
She spoke of the people she worked with Against Amendment One: the partnership with the NAACP; the 400 Clergy leaders, many of them African-American; the amazing number of churchgoers who filled the phone banks; the straight allies of all ages who volunteered; the record turnout among voters under 25. She spoke passionately about how North Carolina has been changed by this campaign and how there is no going back. She said that win or lose on Amendment One, North Carolina made history in bringing people together.
By the end the crowd was cheering, hootin' and hollerin'!
So many people came up to me and thanked HRC for all of our support throughout this campaign. But most importantly, I left the Piano Bar with the satisfaction in knowing that we have made connections with our fellow citizens and those connections, if nurtured, will make change sooner rather than later in North Carolina.
Around 11pm I walked out into a pouring rain, but the rainwater was like a cleansing and filled me with renewed energy to continue to make change in the great state of North Carolina. Hundreds of thousands of people have been touched by this campaign and, together we will own this setback, and return with even more allies and make history in this great state.
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