Monday, April 18, 2011

Not Exactly the Job-Creation Legislation We Voted For

Last year’s midterm elections ushered in a new wave of North Carolina leadership on the promise of job creation in a state facing severe deficits and double-digit unemployment. Unfortunately, we’re not exactly getting the job-creation legislation we voted for.

Take for example the priorities of North Carolina Senator Jim Forrester who, at the beginning of the year, promised to forego an eighth attempt at a "Super DOMA" in the Tar Heel State in order to focus on more pressing economic issues. "It will probably be brought up next year," Forrester told the Gaston Gazette on January 19, 2011.

Fast-forward four weeks later, and Forrester went back on his word. While even his own hometown newspaper acknowledged that “there are more pressing issues to attend to,” the Gaston County Republican sponsored Senate Bill 106, a proposed constitutional amendment limiting marriage to opposite sex couples, as state statute already does, as well as outlawing civil unions or domestic partnerships. The N.C. House followed this month with its own narrower version (House Bill 777), that represents the same divisive, discriminatory and distracting legislation which would effectively write discrimination into our state's founding document.

The anti-LGBT amendment joins a host of other social legislation that prompted Taylor Batten, The Charlotte Observer's editorial page editor, to manifest what many were already thinking in his recent article "Lawyers, guns and money, but no jobs."

In it, Batten writes,

"...almost three months into the session, jobs have been the primary focus of very little legislation. What has your legislature, led by House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, been doing instead?

Fighting to repeal federal health care reform.

Working to expand gun-owner rights.

Making emergency room doctors almost completely immune from any penalties for practicing sloppy medicine.

Trying to decline $461 million in federal money for high-speed rail that would instead go to another state.

Requiring photo identifications from voters.

Overturning already-completed annexations.

Contemplating a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

Working to bar the state from giving any money to Planned Parenthood.

Aggressively expanding charter schools.

And one out-of-touch freshman even introduced a bill creating a new currency based on the gold standard, in case the Federal Reserve defaults.

You may agree or disagree with some or all of those initiatives. Either way, they have next to nothing to do with creating jobs or balancing the state budget.

And those, sadly, were the two imperatives that deserved attention above all else."

But with your help, we can push our politicians to keep their promises as we also push for equal rights for all North Carolinians.

  • Contact Your Legislators.
    We’ve made it easy for you to let state legislators know, that we, the people of North Carolina, are more interested in them keeping their focus on creating jobs, and not furthering hateful discrimination.

  • "Write" the wrongs of this harmful legislation. Help us send a message to the legislature by volunteering to get people in your community to complete postcards to their legislators in opposition to the anti-gay amendment. We'll make it easy by sending you a kit with everything you need.

  • Build a State of Equality.
    Join our statewide movement against this type of LGBT discrimination
    with a donation to Equality North Carolina today.

  • Help Others Stay Connected to the Action.
    Recruit friends and family to join the Equality North Carolina Action Network
    so they too can receive important local alerts and updates on legislative affairs affecting them.

-Jen Jones, Equality NC