Citing his support of employment non-discrimination, EqualityNC endorsed Treasurer Richard Moore in North Carolina’s gubernatorial Democratic primary.

RALEIGH — In the first two weeks of April, Equality North Carolina (ENC), the statewide LGBT advocacy organization, released endorsements for seven legislative primary races and six executive contests including the governor’s office.

The endorsements, released under ENC’s political action committee, gives organizational backing to the candidates, including a small financial boost for some.

The seven legislative endorsements include Vernon Malone (Senate District 14), Josh Stein (Senate District 15), Larry Shaw (Senate District 21), Ellie Kinnaird (Senate District 23), Katie Dorsett (Senate District 28), Angela Bryant (House District 7) and Tricia Cotham (House District 100). Stein, Bryant and Cotham each received $500.

In the gubernatorial race, ENC endorsed State Treasurer Richard Moore, whose campaign received $1,000. In an April 10 press release, the group cited Moore’s adoption of a State Treasury Department non-discrimination policy including sexual orientation as evidence of his support for equal rights.

“Treasurer Moore has demonstrated leadership in standing up for fairness in state government and is committed to fighting discrimination as Governor,” said Ian Palmquist, ENC executive director. “We are proud to support his campaign.”

In other executive races, ENC endorsed Wayne Goodwin (Commissioner of Insurance) and incumbent June Atkinson (Superintendent of Public Instruction). State Treasurer candidate Janet Cowell was also endorsed and received $1,000.

In the appellate court primary, the group supported Kristin Ruth and incumbent James Wynn.

Although ENC is “committed to a non-partisan endorsement process,” all 2008 primary endorsements were given to Democrats. “Unfortunately, no Republicans in contested primary races who met our criteria sought our endorsement,” the group said.

Incumbent Sen. Julia Boseman (D-New Hanover) and Speaker of the House Joe Hackney both received $4,000, the largest financial contributions dolled out by the organization in this election season. Neither Boseman nor Hackney face opposition in their primaries.

In the past, ENC has endorsed U.S. Senate candidate Kay Hagan in her races for the N.C. Senate. When asked how the organization felt about its past endorsements of the senator, given her current lack of response on LGBT issues, Palmquist told Q-Notes that ENC was “proud of our endorsement of her for her state Senate races.”

“Kay Hagan has been a good legislative ally,” he said. “We’ve worked with her on a number of issues for years now and we appreciate our relationship with her.”

Palmquist said the organization would be open to speaking to any candidate at any level regarding LGBT issues and the community in North Carolina. “We keep our resources and time focused on state races,” he said.

Hagan has a friendly voter record on LGBT issues. Her U.S. Senate primary challenger is openly gay Jim Neal. Progressive activists and bloggers have accused Hagan of sidestepping important questions and issues for the LGBT community.

In other ENC news, the organization recently moved its offices to a bigger facility. The move will aid in the growth of the organization and give its expanding staff more room to work. ENC’s mailing address and telephone number has remained the same.

In addition, the organization announced that the state has incorporated new policy manual revisions that will include a policy protecting employees on the basis of sexual orientation and gender-identity/expression as suggested by ENC. Palmquist stressed the changes are only policy, not law or statute, and subject to change in the future. He said ENC had “been working quietly and strategically” to obtain the policy provisions.

The employment policy protections will apply strictly to executive branch employment and do not include employees of the legislative or judicial branch or those working for local public school systems and community colleges.


Matt Comer

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