Speaker: ‘Don’t blame me for amendment’

Meeting with constituents in Boone, North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis (R-Mecklenburg) said citizens shouldn’t blame him for the passage of the anti-LGBT constitutional amendment to be considered by voters on May 8, 2012. Other members of the House, he said, pushed hard for the bill.

According to Watauga Democrat reporter Lauren K. Ohnesorge (src):

Tillis said the amendment was a difficult issue for him personally, but not for morality reasons.

“My difficulty has to do with the role of government and the extent to which government imposes its will on personal lives,” he said. “But there are a large number of members who felt very passionately about it.”

He said marriage is not a constitutional right.

“Anyone, whether they be gay, lesbian, transgendered, will still be afforded the same basic rights, guaranteed under the Constitution, before or after the amendment,” he said. “It has continued to be a debate that has gone on for years. … I felt the best thing for us to do is put this to a vote before the people.”

Tillis promised to honor the outcome “either way,” and added that, currently, same-sex marriage is not legal in North Carolina. The voters’ decision in May, he said, will be final.

“It will be the last time it is taken up as long as I am speaker,” he said, adding that he planned to self-institute a term limit at one more term.

Read the Watauga Democrat’s full article here… plus, more commentary on Tillis’ town hall via Watauga Watch…

Shooting suspect linked to gay beating

The Rock Hill Herald and Charlotte Observer are reporting that a shooting suspect is linked to an anti-gay beating earlier this year.

Darenco Markie Wilmore, 21, of York, S.C., was charged with possession of a weapon during a violent crime, burglary, criminal domestic violence and unlawful carrying of a weapon. He is awaiting bond. The current charges come after an Oct. 13 argument with his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend. A struggle ensued and shots were fired, though no one was injured.

According to the papers:

Wilmore also was one five York men charged in the April beating of a gay man outside a Rock Hill convenience store. The suspects were in Rock Hill on April 9 because they apparently had been to nightclubs before the incident, which happened around 2:30 a.m., said York County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lt. Mike Baker, but there doesn’t appear to be any other previous connection or dispute between those arrested and the victim, Joshua Esskew, 19, of Rock Hill.

Esskew said he was first called a gay slur before he was hit in the head with a beer bottle, then attacked by several men running to join the fray from the parking lot.

Wilmore is awaiting trial for the anti-gay beating in April. For that crime he was charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature.

Progressives to host Wolfson

Progressive watchdog N.C. Policy Watch will host Freedom to Marry Executive Director Evan Wolfson, author of “Why Marriage Matters: America, Equality, and Gay People’s Right to Marry,” and other special guests on Tuesday, Nov. 29, in downtown Raleigh. They will discuss the impending North Carolina anti-LGBT constitutional amendment. Other speakers include University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Law Professors Maxine Eichner and Holning Lau, as well as Stuart Campbell, executive director of Equality North Carolina. Get more information and register…

Guilford hosts play

Guilford College was one of 43 sites nationwide to host the gay-marriage-themed production, “Standing On Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays.” Student writer Haley Hawkins has more at The Guilfordian

Matt Comer

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