This is it! Our last issue of qnotes’ 25th anniversary and what a year it has been. It has been a pleasure to come into the paper at the end of this feat and I look forward to moving into the paper’s 26th year of publication. It has been my goal to bring you content relevant to the community that is both entertaining and informative, as is the legacy of the paper. My hope is that my addition to the staff has been well received and I encourage you to share your thoughts and feedback with me to ensure that qnotes is a true reflection of our community.

In our last publication I mentioned that if you were not registered to vote by April 13 you would not be able to voice your opinion and cast your vote in the May 8 election. Thanks to feedback from readers, I have been informed that there still is an opportunity for those who have not yet registered to vote against Amendment One. You can still register and do early voting at One-Stop locations across the state between now and May 5.

According to the North Carolina State Board of Elections website, in order to participate in early voting, one must go to a One-Stop voting site in their county of residence during the absentee voting period, fill out a voter registration application and provide proof of residency by showing the elections official an appropriate form of identification with the citizen’s current name and current address. The following items are deemed acceptable forms of identification for this process: a North Carolina driver’s license with your current address, a utility bill with your name and current address, a document with your name and address from a local, state or U.S. government agency, a paycheck or a W-2 form from an employer or a bank statement or bank-issued credit card statement.

I would like to thank those of you who brought this oversight to my attention. Being a master procrastinator myself, I am grateful to hear that there is still an opportunity for those who have not yet registered to participate.

If you know someone who has not registered yet, I hope you will encourage them to utilize this information and empower themselves by taking action against Amendment One.

In February of this year, I wrote about my experiences as a citizen of South Carolina during their vote on a similar amendment. At that time I was truly pessimistic about the likelihood that North Carolina would vote down this amendment based on my experience in 2006. I can honestly say that my outlook on this issue is much different now than it was just a few months ago. The outcry I have seen from North Carolinians against this amendment has been overwhelming.

To see political leaders, businesses and religious institutions actively speak out against this issue makes me feel confident that we are not alone in this fight. I have received countless emails and phone calls, both here at qnotes and in my role at The LGBT Community Center of Charlotte, asking how people can get involved and help to defeat this amendment. Even more incredible to me is that so many of these inquiries are coming from straight citizens and families who see the bigotry that legislation like this would affix to North Carolina and they want no part in it!

This isn’t the first time an amendment to our state’s constitution was added to marginalize a population and limit their ability to marry. An image of article 14, section 8 of the Constitution of North Carolina has been spreading around the internet quite a bit lately. During the Constitutional Convention of 1875, the state adopted an amendment which deemed “all marriages between a white person and a negro, or between a white person and a person of negro descent to the third generation inclusive, are hereby forever prohibited.” This remained in the North Carolina constitution until 1971. If this were to be proposed today it would be an absolute outrage, so why is Amendment One deemed a legitimate practice today in the minds of some? If it passes will we have to wait almost 100 years before the majority realizes the idiocy of this action?

With all that said, I look forward to the possibility that my first editor’s note of our 26th year will be one of celebration and not of defeat.

To find a One-Stop voting site in your county, visit : :

O'Neale Atkinson

O'Neale Atkinson is a former editor of QNotes, serving in the position from Jan. 23, 2012 to June 15, 2012. His first issue as editor was published on Feb. 4, 2012. His last issue was published June 23,...