A panel discussion led by Addison Ore of Triad Health Project about the community organizing effort around Amendment One, with a view to "how other progressive movements can learn from their successes and challenges."
Tuesday from 7-8:30 PM, Tannenbaum-Sternberger Room, downtown library. Free.
Given the messaging failure of the campaign, I hope the "challenges" portion gets ample attention.
On a side note 8% of North Carolina voters, including 13% of Republicans, think being gay should be a felony.
I never know quite what to do with numbers like that. On the one hand, obviously, yikes, but on the other, extremist tails attach to many polling curves without making society at large seem completely bonkers. See: birthers, truthers, alien probees, et al.
So, yikes, but we're still bending toward justice.
A prominent local businessman asked me this weekend if I thought there would be a gay exodus from NC in the wake of Amendment One. I would guess that most people will refuse to be chased from their homes.
Barbara Fedders addresses the same question in the N&O:
Many of my lesbian and gay friends are talking exodus. Canada, the Netherlands; Washington, New York, Massachusetts. I’m staying instead.
A leading GOP pollster recommends that party leaders come out in favor of basic civil protections for homosexual couples.
It was my strong belief that the campaign against A1 should have focused more on the civil unions ban.
It's hard to look at a landslide result and argue that a better campaign would have changed the outcome, but clearly A1 opponents lost the framing war early -- a lot of people were voting to support marriage, period, and never read past the comma.
But support for civil rights/civil unions is strong and growing. My guess is that my as-yet-unborn grandchildren will live in a country where such rights are a given, and they'll look back and wonder what all the fuss was about.
Your weekly report from the City Manager includes an economic impact estimate for the Coliseum Complex (including the swimming hole) that puts a multiplier on 68K hotel room-nights said to be filled by Coliseum events thus far in the fiscal year and comes out to $116 million.
How much of that flows straight to the City in taxes? Even if you discount the multiplier and the room rates, is it enough to offset the annual operating deficit? In any case, I'm sure it's terrible news for Greensboro.
And the interim attorney says one way to get around an Amendment One ban on partner benefits for The Gays could be to extend partner benefits to all unmarried couples. Sounds expensive!
Greensboro voted against Amendment One roughly 60-40, according to analysis by alert reader Andrew Brod.
Thanks to Dr. Brod for responding to my lazy blogger crowd-sourcing request, and to the folks at the Guilford County Board of Elections for confirming that those numbers look reasonable to them and for providing the map.
It was clear on election night that GSO proper had gone strong against A1, but somehow John Hammer managed to report yesterday that the amendment passed "even in Greensboro."
John was writing about the heated reaction to a column in support of A1 by Scott Card, which got picked up by major media outlets. (Previously: Homosexual menace may drive OSC to insurrection.)
I'm working with the Guilford County Board of Elections to nail down the actual numbers for the GSO A1 vote -- with no City-specific elections, they don't have any easy breakout, so I'm trying to get a precinct map that shows city/county lines.
...and, they just sent me this map. I'm in meetings all day, if anyone wants to compare it to the info here and here...
I respect his personal evolution. He and I are the same age, and although I was born in this country we grew up in much the same culture, and like him my fondness and respect for the gay people I know helped lead me to the same conclusion.
Amendment One does a lot more than define marriage as between one man and one woman. The N&R headline banners the simplistic version in triumphant style.
While Jeff Gauger's New & Record looked like a pro-amendment mailer, almost every other newspaper in the state went with some variation of "Amendment One Passes" (this link will rot quickly, I'll try to post a more permanent record later today UPDATE I just threw a bunch of front pages from across the state into a Word document /update).
The article -- assigned yet again to a feature writer, not one of the paper's political reporters -- fails to mention that the city of Greensboro appears to have voted strongly against the amendment.
The editorial page, meanwhile, got permission from Robin Saul to mention the amendment after the fact, if only to tell us that a lot of people voted.
"The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."
A sad night for my state, but tomorrow we continue the journey along that arc.
Looks like GSO went solidly against the Amendment, which should come as a surprise only to readers of the local paper.
Maybe the biggest surprise of the evening was the way Howard Coble manhandled Yow and Flynn, given the redrawn 6th and whispers of a much closer race. On the other hand, not cracking 60% in a three-way contest counts as close for Howard.
Vernon Robinson added NC8 to the districts in which he has run without success.
What happens to Trudy Wade's Council seat now that she's headed to Raleigh?
Jeff Gauger comments on his column about Amendment One yard signs:
Of course it's trivial. I didn't assert otherwise.
...In time, I'll offer my thoughts, including analysis, of local events, actions by politicians and elected boards and more...I'll build to more substantive reflections as my web of connections and understanding of North Carolina issues grow. Until the, I'll keep it simple, even light -- and I'll not apologize.
So you'll weigh in on other people and institutions, but what about thoughts on the way your paper has covered this story? Lessons learned as the new editor? That stuff still seems like good fodder for a column.
And if you really mean to reflect on all that's happened, how can you say now that you'll never rethink your choice to treat this issue so flippantly?
Marriage is far too strong an institution to have phony “protections” like this one. And the final and sad irony is that this amendment is being pushed by the very people who fancy themselves enemies of what they call “big government,” yet in this case, they’re fine with government intruding in people’s personal lives.
But the people have the final say, and they can say no.
Jeff Gauger devotes his weekly column to Amendment One. Good. N&R readers should understand the thinking behind the paper's approach to the biggest political issue in the state, and learn more about the new editor in the process.
It's rich fodder for a column. What are the tensions and imperatives involved in covering a topic that stirs strong feelings on both sides? What shapes coverage -- why, for example, were two signficant local protests ignored, while a front-page article on the subject was reported from another county?
What a great opportunity for Gauger to tell us something meaningful about his approach to the job and his vision for our hometown daily.
And he wrote about...none of that. Instead, he burbles on about different shades of blue used for campaign signs. Seriously.
Even he acknowledges that this approach trivializes the issue: "The color of political yard signs isn’t important, not compared with Amendment One itself." But about the importance of the amendment he says not another word. So what does he conclude about the meaning of the color schemes? His answer: "Beats me."
One wants to give him the benefit of the doubt, but maybe that first taste of cornpone was the real Jeff Gauger.
Meanwhile, A1 on this pre-primary Sunday is dominated by a long feature on Our Friends the Trees. Seriously. Gauger's News & Record front-paged a story that would fit comfortably into an old copy of My Weekly Reader.
A much-awarded NC journalist emails re the N&R's belated intro to Amendment One:
The paper's endorsement appears on the front page today, pretending to be a Q&A. Giving Baptist-owned Campbell Law the final (dismissive) word over UNC Law's study isn't even a thin disguise. Except for failing to mention Campbell's Baptist affiliation. Saul must be pleased.
Reader H, on the same article:
How disingenuous to compare Billy Graham and Chelsea Clinton! How about Graham or fundamentalist Christians, in general, versus the many other notable individuals in the faith community or faith based organizations, in general, who have come out against the amendment?
It is an odd formulation. A familiar one, too, if you read Romenesko's withering piece about the N&R yesterday. In the latter context, it made sense as a way of saying "everybody is talking about this." On the front page of the paper, it's an odd comparison to have, um, borrowed.
The News & Record editorial board could not come to a consensus on the marriage amendment issue. Therefore, we’ve elected not to officially support or oppose it. We’ll leave this highly personal decision to individual voters.
Pathetic. Run two opposing editorials if you must, but don't remain silent on the biggest issue of the day.
FWIW, I was not the person who tipped Romenesko.
UPDATE: To be clear, the editorial board is Allen Johnson, Doug Clark, and Robin Saul. The first two oppose the amendment. My deduction in the previous post, that Saul blocked an editorial, seems to have been correct. As Lex Alexander says in the comments below this post, "So if the board 'couldn't reach consensus,' it's obvious why. And for Robin to put Allen Johnson in this position -- making Allen speak for the publisher and thus take the heat for the publisher's moral cowardice and prevarication -- is beneath contempt."
Whatever lies behind the N&R's editorial reticence on Amendment One, the local daily's failure to opine on North Carolina's hottest political issue does not seem to be dictated by ownership, as another Landmark paper -- in Virginia, no less -- has published a strong piece on the subject.
I lack inside knowledge of the doings on Market Street, but both of the senior staffers in the editorial department, Allen Johnson and Doug Clark, have written about the amendment in columns and blog posts. Both, in fact, oppose Amendment One. Yet the formal editorial voice of the News & Record remains silent on an issue that has captured national attention.
As far as I know, that leaves publisher Robin Saul as the only force capable of blocking a lead editorial. [UPDATE: Confirmation from Romenesko's media blog. /update]
The News & Record and its predecessors have a proud history of speaking up for civil rights. The late Bill Snider, an editorial legend in this state and the finest of Southern gentlemen, endured a cross burning and other vandalism to his home as he stood up for then-controversial ideals just decades ago.
The News & Record, which failed to report on two significant anti-Amendment One events in Greensboro, sends a reporter past all the vote-against signs in its home city to do an article about the strong pro-One sentiment in a neighboring county that the paper tends to cover sparingly, which story runs on the front page of the print edition and also gets posted to the top of its notoriously underpopulated website.
Early voting is almost done. Has the paper run an editorial yet on the hot-button issue of the season, or are they outsourcing opinions on local news to the New York Times?
Never said this before, but I'm seriously considering canceling my subscription to the local daily.
A major Amendment One foe has raised more money than the big group supporting the terrible amendment, got more of its funds from individual donors, and has more money left for a final push against the attempt to write bad things into the constitution of this state.
Not sure how valuable an NYT editorial is in terms of bumping turnout and raising cash, but good to see one anyway:
In their zeal, lawmakers got careless with the wording of the measure, known as Amendment One. It would constitutionally prohibit recognition not just of same-sex marriages, but of other legal arrangements like civil unions and domestic partnerships.
Has our local paper run an editorial on this topic?
Third time's a charm: N&R mentions a big local anti-Amendment One event after ignoring the first two.
The news tab at the website has two related stories up high -- one about the issue being hard for local pastors, the other about voter confusion. They did run a Jeri Rowe column about Laurelyn Dossett's widely-covered protest song, Vote Against Amendment One, although I think they hid it from most North Carolinians in their Google-proof vault.
I'm not convinced our daily paper is covering this story accurately, at least from a Guilford County perspective.
Has the paper done an editorial on this subject? Early voting has been going on for a while, and is expected to play a big part in deciding the issue.
Amendment opponents and supporters agree that health insurance and other benefits offered by local governments – for gay and unmarried heterosexual couples – would be disallowed if the amendment passes...
...Michigan passed a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and civil unions in 2004, setting off a years-long legal and political fight in that state.
Professional associations representing several types of health care providers used a news conference at the General Assembly to publicized their opposition to the proposed constitutional amendment on the May 8 ballot.
Good for them, but sorry to see Binker limit his initial explanation to "The amendment would add a definition of marriage as between one man and one woman to the state constitution," when of course it also would rule out civil unions.
Meanwhile, "North Carolina's top law enforcement official said Wednesday he'll vote against the marriage amendment on next month's ballot, pointing out potential legal problems with its language."
I predict a very close vote -- which adds up to a loss for the Republican sponsors of this amendment whether the final tally shows a narrow win or a loss. By forcing this vote, rather than leaving well enough alone, they have put the state through a wrenching campaign and -- as PPP polling shows -- weakened overall opposition to same-sex marriage or civil unions.
We tried to find a CEO who supports Amendment One to interview. We worked with the two lead organizations campaigning for it, the North Carolina Family Policy Council and the NC Values Coalition. They could not find a pro-Amendment CEO willing to be interviewed for this documentary.
Our economy is not good, and there seems to be some consensus among business leaders that A1 could make it worse.
Based on our professional expertise, the language of the proposed North Carolina amendment is vague and untested, and threatens harms to a broad range of North Carolina families. The amendment is phrased more broadly than most similar amendments in other states, and would therefore likely be construed by courts more broadly than in other states.