Poll: 54 Percent of North Carolinians Oppose Amendment One


From Elon poll:

Elon, N.C. – A new Elon University Poll released today shows that a majority of North Carolinians oppose Amendment One, a constitutional amendment on the May 8, 2012, North Carolina primary ballot that bans relationship recognitions and threatens protections for the state’s unmarried couples.

The nonpartisan poll revealed that 54.2% of North Carolinians surveyed either oppose or strongly oppose “an amendment to the constitution that would ban same-sex marriage.” Only 37.8% polled were in any way supportive of Amendment One. The poll also illustrates a dramatic increase in the category of “strong opposition” to this type of amendment from only one year ago, with 34% now voicing strong opposition versus 21.8% in February 2011.


  1. Ascend of Asheville says:

    As always, it’s getting that same representative demographic to the polls that is the trick.

  2. Michael Muller says:

    I’d be curious to know how the questions were worded.

    Would you agree that the family unit has long been the cornerstone of Western Civilization and, if so, do you favor constitutional protections that strengthen and enhance these bonds?

    Is quite a different question than:

    Would you agree that all people should be treated fairly and equally under the law and, if so, would you oppose any sort of partisan legislation that unfairly discriminates against our citizens and their families?

    The answers depend on the questions, you see.

  3. Ascend of Asheville says:

    More information from Elon:

  4. Michael Muller says:

    Apparently you have been well-schooled in Jedi Mind Tricks, Ascend.

    Are you sure those are the droids I’m looking for? Because I don’t see the actual verbiage of the questions there.

  5. TJ says:

    “The answers depend on the questions, you see.”

    Only if you are a mindless droid, Michael 😉

    You see, when I see those two variations, I think:

    “Sure, I think family is a cornerstone of civilization. I think that’s true, whatever the creature, human or other animal…

    Sure, I want to strengthen that, since, as a therapist, I see what can happen when those bonds are damaged.

    In order to strengthen them, we need to treat ALL people fairly and equally. If we don’t, then, we weaken that bond, because in order to discriminate, we have to devalue the person, which devalues their place in our society.”

    Either way, a thinking mind should come to the same conclusion.

  6. TJ says:

    I also still believe that we diminish our humanity when we discriminate. We place ourselves just below those who wish for “racial purity.”

    Unfortunately, some “lower life forms” treat each other better than humans treat each other.

    It’s sad when man’s best friend really is. (and I LOVE dogs 😉 ).

  7. Not necessarily, TJ.

    There are many kind, tolerant, and very intelligent people who support Amendment One. Voting in support of Amendment One does not make you anti-gay, despite what the Progressive spin machine would have you believe.

    But I’m not here to argue for or against the Amendment — and even as a gay man (who has been in a loving (mostly), stable, monogamous relationship for seven years now) — I could care less about the damn thing. As I mentioned somewhere else here, I believe that this is all just political theater willingly engaged in by both sides with the knowledge that a win or a loss in May can be spun by either side to their own political advantage (think fundraising and activism and think General Election in November). And I should say that I don’t buy all the fear-mongering tactics or the silly crocodile tears coming from the Left. Yes, I said the Left.

    I’ll go one step further. There are many good-hearted folks who believe that Gay Marriage is a fundamental threat to thousands of years of culture and tradition. They are right, at least in terms of how many in a largely Christian, fairly conservative nation see that institution and how the way society (and particularly our children) regard gay people in terms of our relationships. Denying or disregarding that fact is unfair, not to mention intellectually dishonest.

    Widespread acceptance of Gay Marriage, both culturally and legislatively, represents a fundamental paradigm shift that some people (many of whom hold deep religious convictions on the matter) feel understandably threatened by.

    So no, thinking minds don’t always come to the same conclusion — and demonizing one side or the other because they don’t agree with you gets us nowhere. Unless, of course, you’re a political operative or your job depends on donations from an angry mailing list.


  8. tatuaje says:

    And backing up MM’s astute observation is Tom Jensen from Public Policy Polling ( in a tweet this morning:

    “Fatal flaw with Elon gay marriage poll isn’t adults vs. likely voters, it’s not using the exact ballot language. Makes a 50 pt difference”

  9. RHS says:

    “Fatal flaw with Elon gay marriage poll isn’t adults vs. likely voters, it’s not using the exact ballot language. Makes a 50 pt difference”

    And the exact wording of the amendment is even worse:

    “Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State. This section does not prohibit a private party from entering into contracts with another private party; nor does this section prohibit courts from adjudicating the rights of private parties pursuant to such contracts.”

    Note the key phrase “recognized *IN* this state” not “recognized *BY* this state” thus indicating passage of this amendment will all but certainly nullify domestic partner benefits granted by many municipalities in NC.

  10. TJ says:

    I stand corrected. All good points.

  11. Tom Sullivan says:

    This seems to be the wording with the 54.2% result (Oppose or Strongly Oppose):

    Would you [support or oppose] an amendment to the North Carolina constitution that would prevent any same sex marriages?

  12. Gordon Smith says:

    Hey, Michael.

    There were undoubtedly lovely people who didn’t favor racial integration or even the end of slavery for that matter. They may have felt threatened. Doesn’t make their points of view of equal value to those who preferred the advancement of justice and freedom. They were wrong.

    Voting for Amendment One does, in fact, make you anti-gay. Even if you’re more pro-straight, the fact is that it enshrines discrimination against a class of people into our state constitution. There’s no getting around it. It’s not like they’re seeking to protect marriage by banning divorce or calling for mandatory pre-marital counseling. Aside from the craven, wedge-issue political angle, Amendment One says that gay people do not deserve the rights of straight people. Whatever the motivation for voting to discriminate, it remains discrimination.

    I’ve got nothing but compassion for folks who feel threatened, but it’s wrong for us to allow their irrational fears to dictate the civil liberties of LGBT citizens.

  13. mat catastrophe says:

    I’d support something that separated the legal status of civil union from the outdated and horribly stupid tradition of religious marriage.

  14. Tom Sullivan says:

    Agree, Michael. Marriage is a rather foundational concept, and those don’t bend easily. It’s like demanding that “up” (which also has a positive connotation) be expanded to also include “sideways” and “down” so as not to be discriminatory.

    Husband and wife are like that too. I still recall the first time (20 yrs ago) a woman at a club kept talking to me (and a woman friend) about her “partner.” It made our eyes roll into the backs of our heads. Is this a business partner? A life partner? What? When we found out the partner was a boyfriend, gravity was restored and we were back on solid ground. We had a familiar point of reference.

    There are all kinds of terms for opposite-sex human pairing. There’s monogamy, polyandry, polygyny, polygamy, and good-old, garden-variety marriage. I argued for years that accepting same-sex bondings would be easier for the public if there were unique names (for man-man and woman-woman) that weren’t as confusing to people as trying to make marriage fit, but people told me that nothing less than marriage would keep them from being second-class citizens.

    “What is the first question we ask about a newborn baby?” asked Ursula Le Guin in “The Left Hand of Darkness“:

    “The Gethenians do not see one another as men or women. This is almost impossible for our imaginations to accept. After all, what is the first question we ask about a newborn baby? ….there is no division of humanity into strong and weak halves, protected/ protective. One is respected and judged only as a human being. You cannot cast a Gethnian in the role of Man or Woman, while adopting towards ‘him’ a corresponding role dependant on your expetations of the interactions between persons of the same or oppositve sex. It is an appalling experience for a Terran ”

  15. Ascend of Asheville says:

    I think I’m with Mat. I’m still waiting for someone to show me that the institution of marriage is something worthy of a Constitutional protection to begin with.

  16. Gordon,

    Comparing folks who support Amendment One to pro-slavery segregationists is a bit of a stretch — don’t you think? And insulting to African Americans too, I might add (who by and large fully support Amendment One). Now who’s being a racist, Old Bean? The “struggle” for gay “marriage” is in no way comparable to the Civil Rights Struggle of the 1960s — despite how you and a handful of elites try and frame it.

    Of course, coming from someone who once took great delight in mocking conservative Democrats and people of faith for “clinging to their sky god and bang(ing) sticks” I suppose it’s not entirely surprising 😉

    Tom Sullivan is right — what this comes down to is largely an issue of semantics. Most people are fair-minded and embrace the concept of domestic partnerships and civil unions: in fact, they celebrate them. I know very few people — Republicans included — who don’t.

    If y’all hadn’t been so strident in trying to force “Gay Marriage” down their throats, however (with all the poorly-staged feel-good nonsense at the Register of Deeds Office and the rest of this ongoing misguided CSE foolishness), we’d all be further ahead — Gay people especially. You and your well-meaning straight white privileged progressive friends have, in my opinion, set the cause of acceptance and tolerance of gay people further back in North Carolina, with your poorly thought-out strategy on Amendment One — not advanced it, like you might think.

    Now you’ll excuse me — I’m still covered in glitter from the Big Gay Party we had the other night. Damn stuff gets everywhere!


  17. Tim Peck says:

    Fifty-six percent of North Carolinians oppose a state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, according to the latest Elon University poll, and the number of people who would prefer to see no legal recognition for same-sex couples has dropped since pollsters asked the same question two years ago.

    The poll, conducted Sept. 25-29, 2011, surveyed 594 North Carolina residents and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.02 percentage points. The sample is of the population in general, with numbers that include both landlines and cellular phones. The Elon University Poll does not restrict respondents by voter eligibility or likelihood of voting.

    N.C. constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage
    September 2011: 56 percent oppose / 39 percent support
    February 2011: 56 percent oppose / 38 percent support
    March 2009: 50 percent oppose / 43 percent support

    Oppose any legal recognition for same-sex couples:
    September 2011: 34 percent
    February 2011: 35 percent
    March 2009: 44 percent

    Support civil unions or partnerships, but not full marriage rights:
    September 2011: 29 percent
    February 2011: 29 percent
    March 2009: 28 percent

    Support full marriage rights:
    September 2011: 33 percent
    February 2011: 28 percent
    March 2009: 21 percent

  18. Tim Peck says:

    I’ll echo Michael’s sentiment here. Winning a good cause by directly antagonizing, demonizing or belittling your opposition is a weak strategy. If you think you are right about something, you ought to be able to make intellectual arguments to persuade others to your point of view. Or at least move some closer to it.

    The problem with antagonizing the opposition is that you move the dynamic from the intellectual realm, where it belongs, into the emotional realm where it tends to fortify irrational stubborness. This not only does not advance the cause but actually retards it galvanizing the in-group/out-group mentality. The polarity strengthens and that is ultimately a losing proposition and makes the work of others that much more difficult.

    There are several good practical arguments against Amendment One (as Cecil has pointed out), but I recommend moving them to the back of the discussion in favor of the stronger moral objections. As I said before:

    “I would like to see Mr. Bothwell, and other opponents, emphasize and reinforce the moral arguments and explicitly distinguish them from other practical arguments. Specifically, that this amendment:

    (1) violates individual rights by preventing free adults from using their best judgment regarding social contracts. Individuals have the right of association, the right of contract and the right of freedom of action without interference by others or by the government.

    (2) represents the conflation of church and state by codifying religious precepts in a law that forces everyone to adopt, in practice, the religious views of a majority. Law should at all times reflect a strict separation of religion and government.

    (3) appeals to mob rule to determine right and wrong by delegating the right to violate rights through an electoral process. No individual, no majority, no society, no government has the right to violate rights.

    It is for these moral reasons that the amendment poses practical problems. The amendment is impractical because it is immoral.”

  19. Tom Sullivan says:

    Michael, semantics is part of it, but words mean something. The first words most people learned were “mamma” and “dadda.” It’s how they see the world from their very first words. I’ve heard people look at gay couples and ask, “Which one is the husband?” They don’t have the mental categories for relationships that don’t fit into that framework.

    I disagree with Gordon that voting for Amendment One makes you anti-gay. Based on my earlier comments, I believe a lot of people are not necessarily anti-gay, just very, very uncomfortable with the brave, new world they see coming down the pike, and get defensive about maintaining an environment where the gravity is steady and predictable. But that happens every time there’s a cultural seismic shift.

    That said, comedian Hal Sparks addresses their discomfort vis-à-vis their responsibilities to honor and uphold the U.S. Constitution this way: “Your right not to feel icky doesn’t supercede somebody else’s right to marry the person they choose.”

  20. Gordon Smith says:


    I think Amendment One will pass by a pretty wide margin, and devoting a lot of resources to defeating it won’t get folks any closer to full equality under the law. I don’t think there’s anything about the campaign(s) being waged against it to warrant hope of defeating it. If by some chance it doesn’t pass, it’ll still be illegal for you and Mike, as a couple, to get equal treatment under the law in NC. It’ll still be legal to openly discriminate against you. The law of North Carolina still won’t offer equality. This will end up being solved in the judiciary, probably at the federal level.

    Full equality under the law is an American value, and it’s right there in the 14th Amendment in our nation’s Constitution. Denying full equality, for whatever reason, denies a swath of citizens the rights enjoyed by straight folks. This Amendment will do away with any possibility of domestic partnerships or civil unions. Even the progress we’ve made here in Asheville will be erased.

    I understand that there are a lot of Republicans and a few Democrats running for office this go ’round who support Amendment One and want to see this prohibition written into the Constitution. It’s kind of you to work towards understanding their points of view. That soft touch will help them feel better as they deny thousands of gay couples full equality under the law.

  21. Gordon,

    We’re agreed that Amendment One will pass here in North Carolina by a wide margin. We’re also agreed that it will all be ultimately resolved in the Courts, most likely (although I am far from a student on these matters) when and if The Supremes reject California’s Prop 8 as being unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment (and either the Commerce and Full Faith and Credit Clauses – a scenario some observers are saying is increasingly unlikely due to the narrow scope of language itself, it may not rise to the level of qualifying for federal review).

    Anyhoo, “full equality” under the law is an entirely different from everyone getting the same “special treatment” under the law. Why should anyone get special tax breaks and such just because they have complimentary genitalia, pass a blood test and have some fly-by-night preacher pronounce them a couple?

    How far do you take it? Why should it be illegal for two siblings to get married? Why should it be illegal for a man to have four wives if they all freely consent to it? Why aren’t you fighting for their rights? I agree with Mat, Ascend and Tim — the convincing core argument for me is the Libertarian one: that the government ought not to be in the marriage business at all.

    As to the progress we’ve made here in Asheville regarding Domestic Partnership Benefits being erased (you know that I admire you for your hard work on that issue) back when my partner Mike worked for the city, he wasn’t paid enough to afford to put me on his plan. In fact, I believe that you voted against giving raises to city employees. So what progress is that, really?

    And since you brought it up, which Democrats running locally support gay marriage and domestic partnership benefits for same-sex couples here in the county? Do you know? I asked the question of them all a while back here on Scrutiny Hooligans but haven’t heard back.

    Thanks for engaging in this discussion with me. It’s an important one to have.


  22. A Chandler says:

    No matter how you look at it, Amendment One has helped the gays. Where would many LGBT groups be without it? We have seen organizing beyond what we’ve seen in the past in NC. It has been a money making venture for all involved. I wonder, how much money has LGBT groups raised on the back of fighting Amendment One? I digress….

    I agree it is political theatre, on BOTH sides.

    I would argue that the Democrats are far more anti-gay than the Republicans. Sure, the Republicans say lots of anti-gay stuff and they are trying to push Amendment One. But the Democrats are much more at their core anti-gay, because they had the power to give us those very rights Gordon and others speak so highly of, but chose not to.

    Example: I know two people, we’ll call them Barack and John. Barack says he likes me, always says the nicest things about me, asks me over to parties, and calls me his friend. Barack has the power to give me rights, but hasn’t acted on that power. He’s even changed his position on same-sex marriage when it suited him politically to do so.

    Now John says, nothing personal, but I don’t like you one bit. I disagree with your lifestyle and I don’t support you. John then acts on his statements and does nothing to further my equality.

    Which one is really anti-gay? Both. One is just more honest about it than the other.

  23. mat catastrophe says:

    I’m pretty sure that the reason children first say “mamma” and “dadda” has absolutely nothing to do with how a family structure should be arranged.

  24. shadmarsh says:

    My son’s first word was mamma, his second was kitty.

  25. Gordon Smith says:


    As an aside – which Republican candidates are you working with this year?

  26. A. Chandler says:

    Lots of good points have been made, but we again stoop to Republican vs. Democrat in the Councilman’s last question.

    Gordon, you just sunk to the low of what most people hate about politics: partisan BS and party loyalty above common sense and talking about the issues. Congrats.

  27. Gordon Smith says:


    I think it’s relevant to disclose if you’re working for a candidate. If you’ll notice above, I’ve been talking about the issue quite extensively. Thanks for your opinion.

  28. shadmarsh says:

    The man has a point.

  29. Doug Gibson says:

    I read this thread, and I get the impression that some posting here didn’t notice that the Republicans pushed this amendment onto the ballot. And then they’re faulting GLBT organizations for how they’ve responded to a issue they didn’t want to address in the first place. Not now, and not in North Carolina.

    Yes, Democrats failed to pass marriage equality — mostly because there have never been enough Democrats in our state legislature who would vote in favor of doing so – but they have, again and again, bottled up exactly this amendment, sending it to die quietly in committee. As far as I know the House and Senate leadership did this with the approval of the state’s GLBT community, certainly not in the teeth of some vague desire to raise more money or stir the pot.

    And when it comes to the Democrats, I’m not clear on how that – playing defense – is the moral equivalent of actually seeking to repeal reforms that GLBT organizations brought about by democratic action at the municipal level, and I’d like to hear someone explain it.

    And yes, it’s easy to find individual Democrats who match individual Republicans for hypocrisy and double-speak. That’s the nature of politics. If you can’t tell the difference between the parties in the aggregate – by the differences between their stated aims and the policies they’ve pursued over the past thirty years, then you must also have trouble distinguishing between the laws and polity of the United States versus North Korea.

  30. RHS says:

    Doug — you have made the point I have been trying to make but made it much better. Thank you!

  31. A Chandler says:

    To me this really has little to do with individual candidates, who’s working for who, etc. It has more to do with the failure of the Democrats to give LGBT protections (they had two years controling the White House, House of Representatives, and the Senate &, lest we forget, they controled the gov. in NC for many, many long years) and then turning around and demonizing Republicans for proposing anti-LGBT legislation.

    It is hypocritical. Period.

    Until we stop looking at it like the Dems are good and the Republicans are bad and we see the system as the game it is where LGBT individuals and other minorities are played by BOTH sides we will forever be caught in this R vs D battle where no one ever really wins.

    Liberals see themselves as being so open minded and not thinking in black and white terms. But you do, in many ways you are the empitomy of what you hate: fundamentalism. I am right, you are wrong and to see otherwise is blind stupidity or bigotry.

    We have it on both sides, liberals just seem to think they are immune from that disease, but you are eaten up with it.

  32. A Chandler says:

    Oh, and I meant to ask you, Gordon, what anti-LGBT Democratic candidate are you writing endorsements for *this* year? I know you have done so in the past, you and many other local “progressives”. You have any anti-equality bigots you’ll be stumping for this year?

  33. Doug Gibson says:

    Yes, it is hypocritical, AC. Beyond that, the moral parallels get fewer and fewer, until at last they run out.

    And I’m not saying that one party is good and the other evil. I’m saying that, judging according to my values and priorities, one party is better than the other. Honestly, I think you’d be hard pressed, if you put the question in those terms, to find a liberal or a conservative who admitted to approaching their choice of party in any other way.

    Finally, do you really see no difference, morally, between actively working to pass anti-gay legislation and failing to pass protections? That’s odd. Because of course by quietly killing anti-gay legislation, the Democratic leadership preserved a space in which protections could be enacted by local governments. This amendment would take away that room to maneuver.

    I’m open minded enough to listen to your explanation of why North Carolina’s Democrats are the exact moral equivalent of the Republicans, despite the widely divergent effects of their policies in this case.

  34. A. Chandler says:

    Doug: I have explained above more than once the answer to your question.

    To leave you with a quote that sums up my problem with the Democrats and their much talk and lack of action on behalf of the LGBT community: “Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul.” – Edward Abbey

  35. TJ says:

    Angel: it sounds like you would resonate with the familiar quote:
    ” All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing …”

    I’m just curious…

    Is there a time or “thing” that you stood by when you could have taken action, either in the larger ring of life, or your own personal?

    I could name a few of my own…

    We can either continue criticizing “what went wrong,” or we can be part of the change. We can work on change, with a rememberance of what did go wrong; if we focus on what went wrong, we leave less space for the actual space for change to occur.

  36. Michael Muller says:


    I’m proud to say that I’m helping Mike Fryar this year. Fryar and I have been good friends since I moved here six years ago — and I can honestly say that I’ve never known a finer man. In fact, Fryar has been like a surrogate father to my partner Mike and I.

    I remember you asking me once that if I were to find myself locked up in a jail somewhere in the middle of the night with no money and no I.D. — but I was given one phone call to make — who would it be to? I answered you then without hesitation: Mike Fryar. And I feel even stronger about that statement now.

    Mike Fryar is the hardest working, most selfless guy I’ve ever met. He always does what he says he’s going to do — and he never goes back on his word. He’s got a great mind for numbers, he never forgets anything, and he’s honest as the day is long. And he’s not afraid of anything or anyone.

    Do we disagree on things? Of course. All the time. But he’s always willing to listen (and to change his mind) and he doesn’t let politics get in the way of his friendships or (like some people) define them. Once he’s your friend, he’s your friend for life. He doesn’t change his allegiances based on what’s politically advantageous at the moment.

    Through the years, and even very recently, Mike Fryar believed in me when I didn’t even believe in myself. He’s always been there for my family, just like he’ll always be there for the people of Buncombe County. I think we need more people like Mike Fryar in government.

    So that’s why I’m helping Mike Fryar get elected to the County Commission this year.


    P.S. The reason I’d call Fryar to get my ass out of jail in the middle of the night is that he’d not only pick up the phone, but he undoubtedly knows someone who knows someone who can make a few calls to expedite the paperwork that would get me released. Then he’d show up in his little car, buy me a coffee, slip me a ten to buy some smokes and then drop me off at my house — safe and sound 😉

  37. By the way Gordon — as an aside – you still haven’t answered my questions.

    Thanks in advance.

  38. Gordon Smith says:


    Your questions about why shouldn’t we let zebras marry octopi, how we haven’t given anyone in government a raise in three years, or why marriage is “special treatment”? It’s hard to know where to begin. I can accept the libertarian argument being offered just so long as the current contract law and legal rights piece is acknowledged as inherently discriminatory and unequal. Those who would deny civil rights to people on the basis of their sexual orientation are promoting discrimination. This type of discrimination results in teen suicides, vulnerable families, economic hardship, and other social obstacles to success.

    As to what the other County Commission candidates believe – I have no idea, but I do have Richard Bernier breathing down my email neck asking exactly the same question. It’s a great wedge issue to attack proponents of equality and drive homophobic people to the polls.

  39. Doug Gibson says:


    You haven’t answered my question. I’m still waiting for you to state explicitly and unequivocally that, by quietly killing this amendment for years and preserving space for people to act on the local level, the Democratic leadership in the North Carolina state legislature have proven themselves no better than the Republicans leaders who let the amendment go forward (and in some cases actively promoted it).

  40. Gordon,

    If you’re just going to parrot the same old tired talking points that cast Gay people as perpetual victims, we’re not really being very productive here. Besides, mocking those of us who might not always agree with you isn’t really very becoming of a City Councilman.

    We’ll just have to agree to disagree on this I suppose — but bless your heart for speaking for all of us poor gays. We appreciate ya!

  41. TJ says:

    So, Michael, I am confused (which some of my friends might say is not hard to achieve, because I “think too much” – i.e., when someone asked me this week “how are you?”, I wondered: how do I know “who” “I” am, who is the “me” without an “other?”, among other things).

    Anyway, in my utopian idea of how life should work, I don’t even see the need to use the words “gay,” straight,” “bi,” “trans,” etc. I see it as odd that anyone would even wonder such things, want to know how someone orients because one would figure it out somehow without having to use labeling identifiers. In fact, it would seem odd to even wonder it, or, to ask such questions, and, besides, it is such an insult to identify someone by their life and who they love, I would not even think it appropriate to discuss in a disparaging way.

    Well, somehow, my vision hasn’t played itself out, yet. In fact, if it had, this kind of blog would seem like ridiculous dribble, because, of course, everyone would be just who they are, and it wouldn’t even be a topic of matter for conversation. But, then, I would not have the immense pleasure of such interesting conversations.

    Okay, now, back to my confusion. Given that my utopian vision hasn’t transpired, how AM I to proceed? Do I ignore all the idiotic things that “straight” (although, I could argue that point with them, as well) people say about those of “other” orientation? I find it insulting that my “straight” friends even wonder “what” someone else is, yet, would be annoyed if they just acted as if no differences existed (we’re all the same, you know, so we don’t have to talk about those things that cause us discomfort–come on! Really!? As a woman, I am no different than a man? Well, that’s disappointing! I used to think it was so much fun 😉 ).

    Anyway, I support friends of any type, and, rarely, the issue of what they “practice” comes up…somehow, we don’t think about sex all the time ;-). We DO, however, talk about how people are not treated equally, for any number of reasons, btw. Our usual complaints? The mental health issues, financial issues and the justice system, social issues about food, housing, whether someone “looks right,” or not, and somewhere between the middle and end, lifestyles of the not-so-rich-and-famous.

    Are you saying we should stop talking about that, and let be whatever is? Should we just tell someone they are an idiot to even worry about or be outraged about such things? Am I not to bring to the attention of others when we here someone say something clearly bigoted?

    Or, should I just assume everyone has the same sense of fairness and equality as I do, and figure such conversations are non-sequiturs?

    Or, until such a time I actually SEE such a culture, should I do WHATEVER I can to stand up for my friends, be they living differently in life, whether in who they love, how they see themselves, whether they have a house or not, or if they can have a rational conversation or not?

    So, you see, it IS easy to see why people say I “think too much,” but that’s been my curse my whole lifetime. Unfortunately, some people have not had that blessing in the slightest sense…and, yes, I know that is judgmental, damn it, but I can’t just drive by the scene and not stop and try to help. So – if you don’t want that, I will be sure to specify to people that MM doesn’t want to be included in this conversation, so we’re not talking about him related to this issue, because he can do it for himself, thank you. Just to be clear—

    Of course, this is probably one of the LEAST clear conversations I have tried to have here, so, I hope SOMETHING makes sense ;-/

  42. shadmarsh says:

    If you’re just going to parrot the same old tired talking points that cast Gay people as perpetual victims, we’re not really being very productive here. Besides, mocking those of us who might not always agree with you isn’t really very becoming of a City Councilman.
    We’ll just have to agree to disagree on this I suppose — but bless your heart for speaking for all of us poor gays. We appreciate ya!

    Perhaps I missed something, but I’m curious as to what talking points were parroted, and how they cast Gay people as perpetual victims.

  43. Gordon Smith says:


    Gay people aren’t perpetual victims, they’re simply perpetually disadvantaged and discriminated against under the law. It’s nice to bring this thing full circle.

  44. TJ says:

    When individuals and companies in business no longer have to use the “all-inclusive” statement of not being allowed to discriminate based upon WHATEVER the cause, I will feel content. The fact that there is even a need to clarify that one does NOT discriminate is indicative of how much work there is yet to be done.

    And, Michael, believe me, I find plenty of others (including myself) to stand up for, so please make no mistake, “yours” is not the only issue I have issues with ;-).

    That’s one thing I love about Occupy…plenty of ways to go and things to do. Last night, Bill Maher said Occupy should become a political party, and that would be the “real” left. I disagree. I think it makes a difference, because ANYONE can join in. No discrimination there – yet.

  45. Amy Meier says:

    Hello all, I am new here on Scrutiny Hooligans. I’m an Ashevillian and want to learn more about the issues.

    What I have learned about Mike Fryar is that if he decides to befriend a person, he is useful because of cronyism? Your advocacy for him in spite of his objection to treating everyone equal, makes it appear as if he is using you in the same way racists excuse themselves because they have friends of color. Does he recognize or support the gay community at all? (I really don’t know the answer to this, I am not being sarcastic)

    This issue is about civil rights.

    Civil rights are for everyone. One of our most memorable and recent battles for civil rights involved securing them for black Americans – it was and still is an epic volume of this struggle. Whether a black person supports gay rights or not is irrelevant, no one group of people can claim civil rights for themselves. This does not take away the stories, history, or sacrifices made during the huge advancements made by the African-American community and it’s supporters.

    Here’s a definition from M-W: Civil rights: the nonpolitical rights of a citizen; especially : the rights of personal liberty guaranteed to United States citizens by the 13th and 14th amendments to the Constitution and by acts of Congress

    Adding discriminative measures to our Constitution is pretty much the opposite of civil rights and NOT a libertarian position. It also eschews basic American values of equality, freedom, and many folks idea of family values.

    Politicians that work harder for their good friends than “the People” are a huge part of our problem today. It does not attract me to a candidate (unless of course you can secure me a spot in this exclusive insider club where I too can be shown favoritism – that was sarcastic).

    MM, you are definitely a character reference for Mike, maybe he is a fantastic guy to have as a friend and follows through on his word; those are great qualities. However, for someone holding public office, I need them to respect all of our rights equally and to eschew cronyism.

    I do have to thank you though for the inspiration for today’s blog post.

  46. shadmarsh says:

    Editorial Note: I edited the above post to include a link to the mentioned blog post.

  47. A Chandler says:

    Seems Gordon isn’t going to address which anti-LGBT candidates he’ll be supporting this year.

    TJ, we all make mistakes, and I have made my share. However, Gordon has yet to say he has done anything wrong in his past endorsement/s of anti-LGBT candidates. It is especially hypocritical of him to rant on about how evil it is for the Republicans to be anti-gay after endorsing anti-gay Democrat/s.

    Gordon stands behind Democrats no matter their stance on LGBT issues, but he stands up against Republicans because of their anti-LGBT stances. It is partisan cronyism at it’s worst and it is bad for the LGBT community. Gordon needs to, if he is an honorable person and not just a politician, take responsibility for his actions and admit the harm they had to the LGBT community and apologize. Then and only then will I move on from it.

    I am gay. I am impacted by Amendment One, anti-LGBT politicians (on both sides), and lack of protections under the law on a much greater level than Councilman Smith or any other professed heterosexual.

    What I want is INTEGRITY. Gordon Smith is an example of how Democrats lack integrity when it comes to the LGBT community because, as usual, politics will win over equality every single time. When Democrats STOP playing politics with my civil rights, they will have my support. They won’t get my support just because they aren’t the Republicans.

  48. Dixiegirlz says:

    Well said Angel. To be a real leader takes some serious cajones. Something I see woefully lacking on this issue.

  49. RHS says:

    “Seems Gordon isn’t going to address which anti-LGBT candidates he’ll be supporting this year.”

    And it seems Angel isn’t going to address Doug’s question.

    See post #41.

  50. Gordon Smith says:


    Thanks for your persistence. You’re well aware that no local political leaders stood up for equality prior to my coming into office. Since then we’ve passed same-sex benefits for city employees and a sweeping equality resolution. Soon you’ll see a resolution opposing Amendment One and calling for full equality. These things are important because they move us closer to our mutual goal.

    I know you’ll not forgive me for my support of candidates who I don’t agree with, and that’s your right. We may have different ideas about how to get from Point A to Point B, but we agree that Point B is full equality.

    I intend to support President Obama as well as the winners of the Democratic primaries in the Congressional races. As to County Commissioners, I’m still trying to figure that out. I know that Brownie and Holly will have my full support for District One and that I’m leaning towards Michelle Pace Wood and Terry Van Duyn in District Three. I’ll be supporting Jane Whilden, Susan Wilson, and Susan Fisher in the races for NCGA seats. Drew Reisinger has my full support in his run for Register of Deeds.

    I hope you find this information helpful as you decide whether to focus your ire on allies.

  51. shadmarsh says:

    Keever or Bellamy?

  52. RHS says:

    “Keever or Bellamy?”

    Good question. My heart is unquestionably with Patsy Keever. But knowing that whoever wins the nomination will all but certainly be a sacrificial lamb against McHenry (who is about as odious as an elected official can be — seriously he practically maked Heath Shuler look like Bernie Sanders) but part of me also wants to go with whoever can give him the toughest race.

    Philosophically Terry Bellamy is probably more in tune with the district, but Patsy Keever can probably do a better job of making the case against McHenry and for some of the issues I care about. It would be quite difficult to pass her name over when that ballot is in my hand.

    It should also be noted that there is a third candidate in this primary, a man named Tim Murphy:

  53. TJ:

    It’s not at all odd to identify people by their sexual orientations — we do it all the time and for very good reasons. It’s such a fundamental part of who we are, after all. Who we are attracted to helps to shape everything about us — at least that’s been my experience. In fact, I’d say that Gay People are entirely different from straight people. And this notion that we’re somehow all the same or should conform to some hetero-milquetoast norm is insulting, despite the efforts of some groups to have us do that very thing for their political agendas. If it were up to most gay people, I suspect that we’d be rid of you straight people entirely — what with your bad haircuts and lack of taste and all 😉

    As an aside, I wonder if there would have been the same crying and gnashing of teeth outside the Register of Deeds office if — instead of two old sweater-wearing lesbians trying to get married — it was a leather daddy and his 18 year old boyfriend? Or two drag queens maybe? That probably wouldn’t play so well on the YouTubes I’m guessing.

    I think at the root of this whole thing is some deep-seated desire in the progressive mind to somehow want to take up the banner of civil rights. On its face that’s admirable I suppose, but understand it’s also a very useful tool to help motivate the Democratic base: partisan operatives like Gordon understand this and they take full advantage of it. Of course, these things have a way of backfiring sometimes and causing a Big Gay Mess. And as another aside, I suspect, Gordon wouldn’t vote for a Republican under any circumstances. A lot of progressives are closed-minded that way it seems.

    How do you feel about polygamy? On what basis should that choice among consenting adults be denied? If marriage is a Right — arguably it’s not — why should’t everyone be able to enjoy it? Why not siblings who love one another? I know two gay brothers who have sex with one another all the time. Should they be allowed to marry? Why or why not?


    Welcome to Scrutiny Hooligans!

    Is Amendment One a litmus test for you? In other words, if a candidate does not unequivocally oppose Amendment One you will not vote for that candidate — no matter how much you might agree with that person on other issues or how qualified a candidate they may be?

    As far as I know, the only local candidates who are on record as opposing Amendment One are my friends Brownie Newman, Holly Jones, Drew Reisinger, Patsy Keever, and Cecil Bothwell.


    I hope everyone understands that Gordon and I have a friendship that transcends politics — I have nothing but the utmost respect, admiration and affection for him. We can take the gloves off here (it might seem a little bloody at times from the outside or to the uninitiated, I know) but we remain friends to the end. In fact, if the Gay Marriage is ever legal here in North Carolina, it’s Gordon that my partner Mike and I want to perform the ceremony. Preferably on the steps of City Hall. Everyone will be invited, of course.

  54. Tom Sullivan says:

    Some issues give me hope that there is still room for common ground between left and right. Both can agree that you’re either for us or against us.

  55. I’d Gay Marry you, Tom Sullivan. I have a thing for Irish guys.

  56. mat catastrophe says:

    “How do you feel about polygamy? On what basis should that choice among consenting adults be denied? If marriage is a Right — arguably it’s not — why should’t everyone be able to enjoy it? Why not siblings who love one another? I know two gay brothers who have sex with one another all the time. Should they be allowed to marry? Why or why not?”

    I’ll put aside how dangerously close you’re coming to Santorum’s comments about marrying dogs for a moment and stick closer to this: if marriage is, arguably, not a right – then what business does the state have to legislate it in any way whatsoever?

  57. Michael Muller says:

    I don’t think the state has any business in it, Mat — as I’ve said before.

    And comparing my examples to Mr. Santorum’s argument doesn’t hold water : dogs are not consenting adults with the ability to freely enter in to contracts. So, should people who choose to love more than one person have the same rights as everyone else or not? There are a lot of them out there, you know.

  58. Ascend of Asheville says:

    Somebody mentioned the Keever Vs Bellamy match-up, and I wanted to use that as flimsy excuse to say that Bellamy, the honorable Ms., will be my guest this Sunday on the Little Shop of Attitude. Our interview with Ms. Keever from a couple of weeks back can be had at Ascend of
    Two of the most important questions are, ‘how do you feel about Amendment one’, and ‘do you have the balls to take on a guy who once worked directly under Karl Rove’?

    I actually might rephrase that a bit for the mayor.

  59. TJ says:


    I am not really worried about your relationship with Gordon. I am glad you have the freedom to speak on whatever moves you…I had that conversation recently with someone…that I feel a “real” friend is someone you can talk about whatever, and trust each other to be honest.

    As another “aside” : did you know Gordon is really gay, and that Rachael is just a cover for him?? Really! I saw it on the internet. And, also, he is turning Asheville into a gay mecca… he singlehandedly seems capable of this. 😉 Jeeesshhh!

    Anyway, back to your question… I will answer it this way:

    1. Throughout my life, I have known people with all sorts of strange or “different” choices sexually. Some harmless to others, others, not.

    2. What I find “acceptable” is purely subjective, and, as such, feel my response is unecesssary, and probably would just add fuel to the fire (here, you can make whatever speculations you lean toward – and, some might be right, but, I am pretty sure not all would be).

    3. If you “gays” got rid of all of us “straight” folks (by the way, you said “you straight people,” and I wondered what makes you certain I am?), I think it would be a bit like a comment I heard from someone on city staff this week: the council meetings seemed a little boring the last time, as there was no Occupy stuff to contemplate 😉 . Now, that might be less so for “you guys,” but, I personally feel it would be boring to have nothing to challenge me.

    4. From my latest fun book, “Finite and Infinite Games,” I have recognized myself as the one who enjoys the process, not simply the outcome. “There are at least two kinds of games. One could be called finite, the other, infinite. A finite game is played for the purpose of winning, an infinite game for the purpose of continuing the play.” So, while I hope for good outcomes in social justice issues, the changing concepts along the journey are what I find most satisfying. Of course, I already knew this, as I go to church and ask people questions about God, “free will,” predestination vs. foreknowledge, etc., and get a variety of responses…but, I enjoy the process, not the “answers.”

    In regards to differences, I agree. I also know I am different from many people of my own personal beliefs or life choices. Categorically defining ANYONE is a huge presumptive act, and, judgmental on the part of anyone doing so. Of course, there are social and legal norms, but, that does not preclude people from living out their desires (both harmless and harmful).

    So, I guess this is a lengthy way to say it is all a process for my learning, and, meanwhile, whether in the womyn’s community in Chicago, or other friends in places where lifestyles are kept hidden out of fear, and places where they are open, I support my friend’s free choice. Where there is potential harm to another (and, that happens in a multitude of ways), I would say that “free” choice is no longer so.

    How about you? Do you have any lines you won’t cross?

  60. A. Chandler says:

    Gordon, there are surely some single issues that a candidate would support that would cause you to withdraw or withhold support from that candidate, right?

    For instance, if a Democratic Congressman met your criteria on all issues except race-related issues, would you still endorse him? If he, let’s say, stated openly that he did not believe people of color were equals with white people, that white people were superior, would you still support him?

    You would avoid him like the plague. Why? It’s just one issue you disagree with him on.

    The fact is, Democrats will not support someone who is a racist, but they will support someone who openly endorses discrimination against the LGBT community. Why? Because it is politically expedient to do so.

    Shame on all of you Democrats who play that game and shame on the LGBT community for letting you get away with it.