Voices by and for the people – Part 1

Here is a collection of voices by a wide range of people who are speaking for other people.

Ministers and faith leaders in more than 55 cities in NC have signed the following statement, with larger cities having numerous signers. For a complete list of signers,  which is not exclusive as to those who support the statement, go to http://www.protectncfamilies.org/faith

As clergy and leaders in our faith traditions, we are mandated by God to demonstrate and protect love in all its forms and to stand for justice for all of creation. In faithful response to this calling, we commit ourselves, along with thousands of other Christians, Jews, Muslims and other people of faith around North Carolina, to voice our opposition to Amendment One, to witness to the harms it would cause ALL of God’s children in North Carolina and to use the gifts God has given us to defeat this amendment.

Sean Brennan, writer for the Gay Christian Examiner, says:

Orville and Wilbur Wright learned back in the beginning of the last century that  the mid-Atlantic state had ideal winds for their flying experiments. And in May  2012, the winds of North Carolina are once again the focus, because citizens  from all around the state must now decide which way the wind is blowing, toward  equality or toward hate.

Rev. Dr. Angela Yarber, Pastor at Wake Forest Baptist Church, says:

The message of Jesus was love of neighbor, acceptance of all, and radical  hospitality to those who are oppressed and marginalized. As a minister called to  share this message, I oppose NC Amendment One on the basis that it discriminates  against the oppressed. When LGBT persons are denied the over 1,000 rights given to married couples, or  the ability to file for joint adoption, and live in fear of losing work because  they aren’t protected from discrimination, it is clear that this community is  already marginalized by the state. This is antithetical to the message of Jesus.  Amendment One is not about marriage; it’s about taking away even more rights  from those who are already disenfranchised.

Hamlin Wade, Senior Political Science Major at Wake Forest University, and opinion writer for the Old Gold and Black newspaper, says:

This isn’t a debate based on politics. It’s a debate in humanity. Be a human and care about your brother, your aunt, your friend or a stranger. Think about the rights you would want afforded to you and the chances you wish to have with the ones you love. Think about the harm that this amendment will cause and take action. We’ve been down this road of arbitrary hatred before. It’s time to choose a new path.

Dr. Stephen Shoemaker, Pastor of Myers Park Baptist Church in Charlotte, says:

Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free”. The primary truth he taught was the encompassing love of God and what it means for our relationship with others. He embodied this truth in his welcome of and friendship with outcasts and those classified as “sinners”, with tax collectors and prostitutes, Samaritans, Canaanites, Gentiles, even Romans.  Martin Luther King, Jr., said that “the opposite of love is not hate but indifference”.  Let’s not be among the indifferent as this vote approaches.

Resolution of the Chapel Hill Town Council on March 12th, says:

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Council of the Town of Chapel Hill that  the Council urges North Carolina voters to vote against the proposed  amendment on May 8, 2012 and affirms its commitment to equal rights and  opportunities for Town employees and for all residents of Chapel Hill.

Durham Mayor Bill Bell, says:

We’re in a community in the state where we’re trying to attract jobs…and we know many people who, if this amendment were to pass, would be very hesitant to come and work here in North Carolina. I’m voting against it, and I think it speaks for itself that my hope, when the vote goes down, you’ll see that Durham County voted overwhelmingly against this amendment.

Bob Page, Founder & CEO, Replacements, Ltd. Greensboro, N.C., says:

89% of Fortune 500 companies prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, including Bank of America, Lowe’s, Duke Energy, BB&T, and Reynolds American—the five largest North Carolina-based companies. In the face of the worst economy in 80 years and as our neighbors recover from devastating hurricane, the General Assembly is considering a Constitutional amendment that may terminate the legal rights of thousands of same and opposite-sex couples, creating hardships for employers and employees alike. If other workplaces are anything like mine, please join us in saying enough is enough.

Chris Hughes, Facebook Cofounder and native North Carolinian, says:

The amendment would effectively show that North Carolina “does not welcome the diverse workforce that any state needs to compete in the international marketplace.…the next Facebook, Apple, or Google could be created by another North Carolinian… be mindful of how you treat them and their families.”

The Charlotte Observer reported that President Barack Obama came out against Amendment One on Friday March 16th, reporting:

“While the president does not weigh in on every single ballot measure in every state, the record is clear that the President has long opposed divisive and discriminatory efforts to deny rights and benefits to same-sex couples,” said Cameron French, his North Carolina campaign spokesman, in a statement. “That’s what the North Carolina ballot initiative would do – it would single out and discriminate against committed gay and lesbian couples – and that’s why the President does not support it.”

Cathy Bessant, Global Technology & Operations Executive at Bank of America, says: 

“We are in a war… we’re in a war with other states across the country who would love to have the jobs [we have in North Carolina]… Amendment One is a direct challenge to our ability to compete nationally for jobs and economic growth. Large corporations hate this kind of controversy. They deal with diverse work populations for whom issues like this aren’t just important in terms of where it is that they live, but are important indicators of the diversity and meritocracy of where they want to work. Amendment One… significantly signals that we are a backward-looking economy. Amendment One has the potential to have a disastrous effect on our ability to attract and keep talent in the state of North Carolina.

HRC Regional Field Organizer Chris Speer, says:

I’m proud to be a Regional Field Organizer for HRC and part of the team in North Carolina working to defeat Amendment One, which seeks to ban marriage and all forms of relationship recognition for unmarried couples in North Carolina.  Voters will go to the polls on May 8 and we are racing to educate them about the many harms the amendment will cause children and families in North Carolina.

NC Senator Kay Hagan, says:

In today’s hyperpartisan political environment, I view any attempt to alter our state constitution with a critical eye. Amendment One has far-reaching negative consequences for our families, our children and our communities. North Carolina is one of the most business-friendly states in the nation, and this amendment would harm our state’s ability to recruit the innovators and businesses that are driving our economic recovery. Jobs are my number one priority, and we cannot afford to take our eye off the ball and give businesses a reason to grow and expand elsewhere. The people I hear from everyday – the families that make up the fabric of the Old North State – tell me they are sick and tired of watching their jobs and their livelihoods fall victim to divisive partisan posturing. In North Carolina we say our state is “Where the weak grow strong and the strong grow great.” Amendment One harms our state’s resolve to make all people and all families great, and as a proud daughter of North Carolina, I urge all North Carolinians to join me in opposing it.

Rev. William Barber, president of the state NAACP and the pastor of a Goldsboro church, says:

It’s a dangerous precedent when you allow a majority to vote on the rights of a minority. They’re trying to give people, based on their sexuality, second or third-class citizenship. We in the NAACP know what that looks like.

To be continued….

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