BLOWING ROCK, N.C. — Two gay philanthropists were honored yesterday for their longtime advocacy on behalf of North Carolina’s LGBT community.

Bob Page, founder and CEO of the Greensboro, N.C.-based Replacements, Ltd., and life partner Dale Frederiksen were the guests of honor at a luncheon sponsored by Faith in America and the Human Rights Campaign and hosted by Bonnie and Jamie Schaefer at the Westglow Resort & Spa. Page and Frederiksen are longtime supporters of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights group, and Faith in America, a Hickory, N.C.-based non-profit organization working nationally to educate the public about the personal, social and religious pain and trauma that is inflicted upon LGBT individuals,

Dr. Jack McKinney, a national spokesperson for Faith in America and former Southern Baptist minister who today counsels LGBT youth and families, told luncheon attendees that the commitment shown by people like Page and Frederiksen is key to countering the emotional and psychological toll LGBT people and their families experience as a result of the moral and religious stamp of disapproval placed on them by anti-gay leaders.

Mitchell Gold, founder of Faith in America and longtime civil rights advocate, told guests that the couple’s passion for improving the lives of LGBT Americans has been an inspiration to him and others who are working towards honoring human dignity and full equality for LGBT people. Chely Wright, country singer and songwriter and member of Faith in America’s board of directors, performed at the event.

Page and Frederiksen were accompanied by their twin sons, Owen and Ryan.

At the gathering, Page shared with the crowd the reasons for his passionate support of numerous organizations and institutions advancing LGBT rights.

“I have been very proud to support Faith in America and all of the great work it is doing,” Page said. “I know personally how painful religious discrimination is.:

He continued, “It’s not me that I’m worried about. I’m worried about all the young kids out there who have not yet learned to cope with rejection by their churches or families. It is my hope that we are going to leave this world a better place for those who come after us.”

Faith in America Executive Director Brent Childers thanked Page and Frederiksen.

“The event in Blowing Rock was a very humble thank-you to two individuals who have played an extraordinary role in our efforts to uplift not only the lives of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth, their families and others but to free society of a very oppressive and harmful injustice,” he said. “With North Carolina lawmakers now considering placing an anti-gay marriage amendment on the ballot, North Carolinians unfortunately are already beginning to experience the harmful effects of such an expression of religion-based bigotry and hostility. Sadly, it will be families such as Bob, Dale, Owen and Ryan who will face the brunt of such stigma and hostility. For individuals who have been so kind and generous to their state and community, it truly will be a sad commentary if this measure advances.”

— Compiled from release

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.