At a business breakfast meeting Friday morning, Duke Corp. CEO Jim Rogers hesitated before answering a question from Charlotte Observer columnist Taylor Batten. But his answer was anything but sugar-coated. According to the Observer:
If North Carolinians put the gay marriage ban into the state constitution, Rogers said, "You're sending a message to the world that we're not inclusive."
Rogers emphasized that he was sharing his personal view and was not speaking on behalf of Duke Energy. He said "I believe we're all children of God," and that it's wrong to pass measures that discriminate against individuals.
"If this passes, we're going to look back 20 years from now, or 10 years, and think of it like Jim Crow laws" that discriminated against African-Americans. North Carolina is competing with the world for business, he said, and "we have to be inclusive and open."
The story also notes how silent other business men and women across the state have been and that neither the Charlotte Chamber nor the N.C. Chamber have taken a stance on the issue. Let's hope the message from one of the state's most influential men can change that.