When Congress overturned Don't Ask, Don't Tell, who knew Mecklenburg County Commissioner Bill James would go crazy?
If your hand isn't raised high above your head, then you haven't been paying attention. James called homosexuals "sexual predators" just another eyebrow raising statement from a commissioner who's made his career offending anyone who isn't male, white and straight.
Though his colleagues aren't going to censure him, at tonight's meeting they have something for James; they're going to vote on a resolution against "inflammatory speech" and anti-gay discrimination.
In Chairman Jennifer Roberts' invocation, you could tell she was talking about James, saying "Lord, teach us to accept everybody ..."
On a side note, I'm surprised that Roberts and Commissioner Harold Cogdell still sit side by side.
First order of business is awards. When do we get to the good part?
"We don't throw away people we disagree with," Roberts said as she reminded the Board to respect each other and each other's opinions. Does she ever ask this of James? His discourse is never civil. Roberts acts as if she's afraid to say what the resolution is about.
The public appearance is starting, and it is divided into two parts. Creative Loafing got mentioned in the public appearance part. Sadly, the article that she's referencing is a column that was satire.
Roberts is telling everyone the CL article was fictional, tongue in cheek.
Bishop Tonia Rawls said her sexual orientation has been a non-issue, but there is still work to be done against homophobia but the board's vote tonight shows that the county is going in the right direction.
Following Rawls is a pastor who uses the word "bidness." There is so much 'bidness' before you that I don't think you should set the moral values of our city." I think he drinks the Sarah Palin Kool-Aid.
The director of Operation Save America, Flip Benham, just called Roberts a homosexual supporter and said sodomy is taught in our public schools and truth is hate. Homosexual sodomy is an evil desire, he said, then quoted a bible verse. This man isn't even from Mecklenburg County. He said perverted sex unites the gay community. He's basically saying the gay people should be burned. He didn't want to stop talking when his three minutes were up.
John Quillen said, "I appreciate that you didn't burn me at the stake today." He said we're all a part of this community and he led the crowd in the meeting room in a rendition of the National Anthem. He said he's spent years working with the Gay and Lesbian singers.
James had his back turned the whole time.
Josh Carpenter said bullies are not born, they are fostered. James's words, he said, grows those bullies. He said calling homosexuals perverts, you're talking about a real person. He supports Cogdell's resolution and urges the commissioners to censure James and reprimand this bully.
MECK-PAC chairman said when you're making decision that will affect my life, my property, I ask you to have an open mind and be willing to change. We are all in your districts, we work for the businesses that are in the county and the ones that you want to attract and keep here. Your job as commissioners is to empower all people, not disempower. Those days are long gone. County must learn how to interact with all of its citizens. To do nothing while a public official slanders citizen is just as dangerous.
Ian Warner: "Commission James, you're a bigot. You will be remembered as a bigot, your children will remember you as a bigot. Your legacy will be that of a bigot."
Shane Windmeyer, Campus Pride: "I am tired of having this man elected in this county. With our silence we allow this happen. This is not isolated."
Tim Binder: "We're blessed, thankful that I live in a country where I won't be stuffed into a concentration camp for speaking in a public forum. When I read the book of Romans, keep in mind that diverse lifestyles have been around for 2,000 years. I do support Mr. James for speaking the truth about the lifestyle, however coming from my own personal experience, you can tell someone more when you speak in love."
Commissioner Cogdell is presenting his resolution, which will promote equality. Six people are going to make public comments.
"I wanted to start off by saying the only thing constant is change. The biggest thing that has an adverse impact on society is an unwillingness to acknowledge that we've evolved. At one point in time in our society, if a person of color spoke to a white woman they would be burned and hung, and it was legally sanctioned."
Cogdell moves to for the motion to be resolved; there is a second and now there is discussion. What's even more exciting is that Martin Davis is schedule to speak.
Remember Martin Davis?
Tracy Rust: "I'm not a predator, but there is a predator in this community ... it's a predator of our future. I urge this board to pass the resolution and take further action. Repudiate the predator in your midst."
Martin Davis: "Bill James is not trying to condemn anyone personally." Davis said he's responsible for one abortion, and he's a sinner like all of us. He just said all homosexuals have horrible physical problems. The people in the audience are laughing at his numbers stating that homosexual men have 500 sex partners in their lifetime.
"We don't condemn people, we condemn harmful human behavior." One person clapped for Davis.
Larry Green: "My grandmother always said, never trust anyone with two first names. Now, I know what she meant!" Applause erupted. He demanded a public apology to Commissioner Leake and then asked James to resign.
The commissioners are about to give three minutes on the issue. Neil Cooksey said, "Commissioner James does not speak for me. There are homosexuals in our community that could be labeled as predators, but the same could be said for heterosexuals."
Commissioner Dumont Clarke: Read an e-mail from a therapist that said most of the sexual predators in this area are heterosexuals. "I will let the resolution that I intend to support speak for itself."
Commissioner Jim Pendergraph: "Elected officials are held to a higher standard. In my entire years of sheriff, I've never received as many calls as I have asking to support the resolution." Pendergraph also mentioned the CL column, saying that he was outraged that people took it for the truth. He ended by saying his support of the resolution has nothing to do with support of the lifestyle. His personal opinions about homosexuality will remain his personal opinions.
Commissioner George Dunlap: "If we were to censure him, would that change anything? What you are really seeking is a change of the heart, and I think that comes about in many ways. What happened with this situation is that when one person said something disrespectful, it got everybody's attention." He said the board believes in free speech and won't vote to censure James. Says, the resolution is the strongest action.
Commissioner Vilma Leake: "No censure would ever end this public disrespect by this county commissioner." She said all of our lives are in danger by people who disrespect us. "This community must step up to the plate and stop living a double life."
"We must urge an apology from this member. He has shown no respect."
James: "Those who talk about bullying are the ones who are the most intolerant when people have an idea that differs from theirs. The resolution matters not at all. I'm not in it, so what?"
"Homosexuality is the only vice with a PAC."
James said it's hypocritical to endorse something that's illegal, equating crimes against nature laws to being gay. He said this resolution is about getting the DNC here.
While James spoke, the audience turned their back to him, as he'd done all night.
The resolution passed unanimously. Go figure.