Below, last night’s speech to the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners from Charlotte grassroots activist Joshua Carpenter Costner, of Queer Rising QC (unedited, reprinted with permission from Costner):
Good evening commissioners. Justin Aaberg. Billy Lucas. Cody Barker. Asher Brown. Seth Walsh. Raymond Chase. Tyler Clementi. These Young people saw no option, but suicide, to end their constant bullying and harassment. Bullies are not born; they are created and fostered. The type of hate speechdelivered by Mr. James, an official elected to serve his community, fosters these bullies and must not be tolerated.
And I agree with the earlier minister that we cannot legislate morality. However, That is exactly what the conservative movement in this country is doing. We have a separation of church and state; yet tonight the only argument against the resolution being put forth tonight and the only support for mr. James comes from ministers using religion as their entire argument. There is no scientific argument. Only religious arguments. And with these conservatives like the ministers here tonight (and i use that term very loosely)being so loud and so angry, you have broken the dam and let the progressive floodwaters flow! We are not going to remain silent. In the words of Rep Barney Frank; We do have a homosexual agenda. That agenda is equality. In the community. In the military. In the workplace. In marriage. Two down. Two to go!
I say to each person listening: when you use derogatory and hateful speech like “homosexuals are predatory” or “homosexuals are perverts” or “homosexuality should be illegal” you are talking about a real person! You are affecting the life of a real person. A child. A teenager. A college student. We are Your neighbors. Your doctor. Your minister. Your fireman. Your police officers. Your teachers. And we only ask for you to treat us the way you wish to be treated.
While I fully support the Resolution being proposed by commissioner Cogdell, I believe we need to go a step further and send a strong message that makes it clear that discrimination and hate speech will not go unnoticed. I urge the Commissioners to censure Mr. James. His behavior has made national news and brought embarrassment on our county and city; in a time of economic distress when we want new people and new business coming to our city, we need to take advantage of this national spotlight to make it clear that we are a welcoming and proudly diverse community who not only disagrees with mr. James, but we stand against him and his hate. I urge the board to reprimand this bully and censure mr. James.