Yesterday, several GOP lawmakers and supporters called the General Assembly’s passage of a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage “historic,” or “an historic event.” N.C. voters must approve the amendment in May for it to become part of the constitution.
It was historic, all right, in all the wrong ways. In the middle of an historic economic decline, and joblessness wracking both the state’s economy and mindset; and at a time when state government would historically be focused on relief efforts after Hurricane Irene, the GOP decided that the most important thing they could do was to crap on a social minority that already gets more than its share of discrimination. And that’s after taking time off from their supposed job creation agenda (which must have gotten lost somewhere along the way), in order to cut thousands of public workers’ jobs. And those actions came after interfering in the doctor-patient relationship of women opting to terminate a pregnancy.
So yes, yesterday was historic. The GOP’s paleolithic agenda took a state that has historically been seen as more progressive than most other southern states, and transformed it into just the latest to be taken over by the modern equivalent of witch burners, Know-Nothings, and people who believe there are people living inside the earth. So instead of concentrating on the most critical issue of these times, rampant unemployment, the GOP (pre-election motto: "Jobs, Jobs, Jobs") used their spanking new General Assembly majority to ram through divisive, repressive social legislation, even going so far as trying to enshrine their backward ways in the state constitution. Si-i-i-i-i-g-g-g-g-g-h-h-h-h.
On the plus side — maybe the only plus side — the city of Asheville got some new t-shirts out of the marriage amendment debate. During the course of arguments about the bill, Sen. Jim Forrester, a lead sponsor of the amendment, called Asheville a “cesspool of sin.” Now, an online company is selling t-shirts, hoodies and hats with “Cesspool of Sin” placed beneath a picture of Asheville’s classic Art Deco city hall. That’s one way to deal with the takeover of state government by yahoos and bumpkins: mock them with their own words. Another way, of course, is to oppose the marriage amendment come next May.
Local note: Congratulations to voters of city District 3, who yesterday gave the Democratic nomination for city council to LaWana Mayfield, a longtime progressive activist and community organizer. Mayfield, incidentally, is on track to be Charlotte’s first openly gay city council member. Mayfield defeated councilman Warren (“Hey, Baby”) Turner, who was accused of making sexually inappropriate comments to five city employees, and was fired from his job as a state probation officer for missing meetings and falsifying records. District 3 deserves better than Turner, and judging by the success of Mayfield’s efficient grassroots campaign, they’ve got it.