Outgoing Gov. Pat McCrory (left) and incoming governor Attorney General Roy Cooper. Cooper hopes to restore the state’s reputation and protections with the repeal of HB2.

Impact of HB2 on elections shown

RALEIGH, N.C. — The High Point Enterprise reported that if voting from four years ago (when the state’s voters rejected same-sex marriage) and this year’s gubernatorial race (where Gov. Pat McCrory lost to Attorney General Roy Cooper) was analyzed, one might wonder if this was the same state.

Over the last four years, the tide has shifted. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell vs. Hodges that same-sex marriage was a fundamental right guaranteed by both the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

This year’s elections saw a pro-LGBTQ presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, win the popular vote, but failed to win the Electoral College numbers. The college will meet on Dec. 19 to cast their vote. Online petitions have been numerous to plead with electors to vote their conscious and not go with what their state’s count outlines.

Now, as the state prepares for a Democratic governor, organizations like Equality North Carolina (ENC) and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) are stepping up their efforts to combat bias, prejudice and hate. Equality North Carolina says that it will never stop fighting for equality. To date, McCrory is the only incumbent governor to lose on Election Day despite the outcome of the presidential race.

Polling by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research showed that the majority of the electorate has in no way backed down from supporting LGBTQ equality. The two activist organizations surveyed 500 state voters and found that they opposed HB2 by a margin of 62 to 30 percent.

“This research is proof that when it comes to LGBTQ equality, hearts and minds remain forever changed and on our side. Nowhere is that more clear than in North Carolina, where voters soundly rejected Pat McCrory and sent a clear signal that anti-LGBTQ politicking is now a liability to candidates, no matter their party,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. He added, “Barely 10 years ago, Republicans — and some Democrats — running for governor were campaigning their support for state bans on marriage equality. But today, as McCrory has proven to the nation, promoting anti-LGBTQ discrimination will cost you an election. There is no doubt that Americans have moved inexorably in the direction of equality and have no appetite for hatred from their elected officials.”

“This polling data shows what we have seen and heard in our communities all over the state — HB2 is bad for North Carolina,” said ENC Executive Director Chris Sgro. “Pat McCrory refused to listen to the people of North Carolina and as a result, the people stood up and ousted him from office. That means that a champion of equality will replace one of the worst anti-LGBTQ politicians as the highest officeholder in our state. North Carolinians deserve a governor that represents their values. There is much to be done in order to support Roy Cooper’s efforts to repeal HB2 and create statewide non-discrimination protections. We are looking forward to working with Governor-elect Roy Cooper to repeal the vile HB2 and restore North Carolina’s reputation.”

info: equalitync.org. hpenterprise.com.

Guys get social

RALEIGH, N.C. — The Gay Men’s Social Club will hold their Christmas Balls Party on Dec. 17, 7:30 p.m., at the bar area at Aloft Hotel, 100 Hillsborough St.

Participants are encouraged to bring photographs of favorite Christmas balls. Enjoy drinks while relaxing and having fun.

To join in, register with the group online and provide an RSVP.

info: meetup.com/Trianglegayguys.

Team dons rainbows

DURHAM, N.C.— On Dec. 3, the basketball players from the University of Maine showed their support of the LGBTQ community by hitting the court with rainbow colored warm-up shirts. Their opponent was Duke University.

The shirts were worn as an HB2 protest.

Bleacher Report said that Maine’s Black Bears head coach Bob Walsh told 99.9 The Fan’s Lauren Brownlow, “It was about promoting inclusion and promoting equality and our guys understanding that they can make an impact.” CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander said that the use of the America East logo on the shirt was likely a deliberate choice from the Maine team, saying “You’ll notice the America East logo there. That’s because Maine’s conference has a partnership with You Can Play, which specializes in social activism and aims to eliminate homophobia, transphobia and seeks inclusion for all people in all sports. The partnership has existed for years, but Saturday’s game was the latest chance and perhaps most high-profile gesture, in the history collaboration between You Can Play and the America East.”

Maine’s forward Marko Pirovic spoke to Norlander and shared the teams’ decision. “Just seeing how much inequality there is in some LGBT communities such as in North Carolina with the new law that was passed was very shocking, and I’m glad we can do something to stand up against it. Being part of You Can Play to me means standing up and being an ally to help change the culture of how the LGBT community is treated and showing them the support they have from athletes everywhere.”

info: bleacherreport.com.

Center receives award

RALEIGH, N.C. — The LGBT Center of Raleigh was one of ten Triangle recipients of the GSK Impact Award.

GlaxoSmithKline, in partnership with the Triangle Community Foundation awarded $40,000 to the center.

Jack Bailey, the company’s president, shared, “This program shines a light on outstanding non-profits in our local communities that build the foundation for healthy lives. The winners are delivering innovative solutions to real health challenges faced by our neighbors across the Triangle region, and we are proud to support their inspiring work.”

The GSK IMPACT Awards are one of several programs GSK offers as part of a commitment to building healthier communities across the U.S. The winners were selected by a panel of local and national community leaders through a competitive process. The non-profits needed to demonstrate innovative and sustainable approaches to addressing at least one of the following health factors and measures: diet and exercise; education; housing and transit; employment; family and social support; and community safety.

In other news, SAGE Raleigh will hold its annual holiday potluck on Dec. 17, 1 p.m., at the LGBT Center of Raleigh, 324 S. Harrington St.

Bring sides, salad or dessert to complement a supplied main meet dish with condiments. Beverages, including soft drinks and wine will be provided.

Door prizes will be given away.

Also, the senior’s group is taking in an afternoon at Theatre in the Park, 107 Pullen Rd., for “The Santaland Diaries.”

Also, the center will host an open house for the holidays on Dec. 25, 6 p.m. Join other community members in an inviting and relaxed atmosphere.

info: lgbtcenterofraleigh.com.

Sex change protocols changed

RALEIGH, N.C. — Beginning in 2017, North Carolina government teachers, retirees, employees and their families who wish to initiate sex change surgeries and hormone therapy will be able to do so with health insurance coverage for these included, The Robesonian reported.

Earlier this month the state’s health plan trustee board voted to cover treatments when considered medically necessary, thus removing prior exclusions. The state treasurer’s office oversees the plan.

Raleigh’s The News & Observer reported that the “plan risked losing millions of dollars if it did not comply with new federal regulations and offer the treatments.” Additionally, the plan could face non-compliance discrimination lawsuits, the department’s Brad Young shared.

Equality North Carolina’s Matt Hirschy said, “We are pleased to see the plan be updated to match major employers and other governments around the country in providing critical care for trans-employees.”

The plan’s board learned at its Dec. 2 meeting about gender dysphoria. State Treasurer Janet Cowell broke the tie during a procedural vote, The News & Observer reported.

The Robesonian shared that cost for the additional coverage will cost North Carolina from $350,000 to $850,000 on an annual basis. Currently, there are eight to 24 members who use these benefits out of 700,000.

The newly elected Republican state treasurer, Dale Folwell, has indicated that he will conduct an investigation on the 2017 benefits’ “financial and legal implications of the decision.”

info: robesonian.com. newsobserver.com.

Have news or other information? Send your press releases and updates for inclusion in our News Notes: editor@goqnotes-launch2.newspackstaging.com.

Share your news with us
Does your organization or special interest group have events or great information to share with our readers? If so, be sure to send in your information to specialassignments@goqnotes-launch2.newspackstaging.com. In the upcoming months, we’ll feature one of you in our news notes section in each issue. Are you a part of a Meetup, Yahoo or Google group and do you do something that’s really newsworthy? Do you provide a service for the community or hold fundraisers for worthy causes? Do you educate the public about LGBT issues or concerns? Of course, this is only a sampling of things we are interested in. It’s the aim of these pieces to inform, enlighten and educate our readers about what we’re doing here in the Carolinas to champion LGBT rights, as well as offer resources for those who may be interested in what your group is doing.

Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen was formerly QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director from 2001-2019 when she retired.