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Kerrigan himself is openly gay and says Charlotte has offered nothing but Southern hospitality since the 40-year-old Massachusetts native moved to town to lead the convention last June. "It's a great community, a very vibrant LGBT community. It is a community, like any other in Charlotte, that is focused on building a wonderful place to live." He is quick to add, "I'm really hopeful we'll have the right result in May. I'm opposed to any discrimination and I really do believe the people I've met in North Carolina will make that happen."
Because North Carolina is such a focal point in the 2012 campaign, this year is the first time a sitting cabinet member will speak at the annual HRC gala for the Charlotte region. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius will deliver the keynote address. A record-setting 1,500 people are expected to be in the audience.
Scott Bishop's parents will be among them. They are flying in to see their son honored at the gala that Saturday night. Of course, that morning they'll be doing something equally as important. Scott's parents will join him and Ron in their weekend ritual. The four will start the celebration — with bagels.
Michelle Boudin is an award-winning reporter at WCNC-TV and frequent contributor to area publications. For more info on the HRC, visit www.hrccarolina.org.