Former mayors Richard Vinroot and Harvey Gantt join growing opposition to North Carolina’s anti-gay Amendment 1
April 10, 2012
We have been reporting on the growing opposition to Amendment 1 in North Carolina over the past few months. With polling on the issue seemingly all over the map – one poll says 60% are in opposition, another says there’s a majority in favor, another says when people know what the amendment does they narrowly oppose it – the one thing that has steadily increased is the strong outspoken opposition from the right and the left. It has been particularly interesting to see conservative discomfort with enshrining bigotry into the state’s constitution, with even the GOP House Speaker saying the amendment will be repealed within twenty years if it were to pass.
Today, two former Charlotte mayors, Richard Vinroot and Harvey Gantt appeared together in an ad against the proposed anti-gay amendment. Vinroot is a Republican and Gantt is a Democrat, and this is the first time two politicians from opposing parties have appeared together in an ad to oppose the amendment. It’s also the first time a statewide Republican has recorded an ad opposing an anti-LGBT amendment. Gantt and Vinroot say in the ad that:
…while the two senior statesmen don’t always agree on everything, they do agree that North Carolinians should vote against Amendment One.
“[Amendment One] is unnecessary and may have serious unintended consequences,” says Vinroot. Gantt adds, “And some of those consequences may harm women, children and families throughout North Carolina.”
As former mayors of the state’s largest city and national financial hub, the advertisement also features Vinroot and Gantt pointing out the economic impact of Amendment One. “It may hurt our ability to attract business and job opportunities into North Carolina,” says Vinroot. “But we do know this: if you vote against it, it won’t harm anybody.”
Some of those consequences could mean long-term legal damage for gay and lesbian families and their children, as well as heterosexual families. The amendment’s language could potentially abolish any form of legal recognition for any relationship from marriage to domestic partnerships and affect laws that are meant to protect victims of domestic violence.
Vinroot and Gantt aren’t the only people to point out the negative effects on the state’s ability to attract top talent for business. Back in March, a top executive at Bank of America said the amendment “is a direct challenge to our ability to compete nationally for jobs and economic growth.” Bank of America is an enormous presence in North Carolina, and their global headquarters resides in the state, making their opposition quite significant.
“I think we need to look at who are we welcoming here,” Edwin Peacock told a local NBC affiliate. “[Y]ou look at our top five employers, every single one of them has clearly embracing inclusiveness and in general in their behavior as it relates to some of the benefits that they offer.”
The vote is less than a month from now, on May 8th and the latest poll on Amendment 1 suggests that if more people knew what the amendment actually does, it would fail.