Editorial: The value of nothing

0
25

As far as political action committees go, the NC Values Coalition could never have been considered a powerhouse. It formed in 2012 around a single issue — passing of the marriage amendment, which would enshrine bigotry in our state constitution by restricting marriage to heterosexual couples.

Even in that year, the coalition’s biggest, it distributed less than $50,000 to “family-values” candidates.

In November the coalition spent another $65 or so for phone calls supporting Thom Goolsby — the trans-vaginal ultrasound guy — who would win his 2012 Senate race but resigned this summer and has already signed on to become a lobbyist starting in February. It spent $50 on calls for state Rep. Jonathan Jordan’s campaign and another $80 or so on Sen. Warren Daniel.

And then save for a few emails and guest editorials by its executive director, Tami Fitzgerald, it went dark, without enough solicitations or contributions to register on opensecrets.org.

But over the weekend the sleeping giant awoke with another mailer, this one attacking the city of Winston-Salem, which recently extended benefits to same-sex spouses of city employees, one of the last big municipalities in the state to do so.

But Winston-Salem’s plan continues to discriminate against employees in same-sex relationships who are not married to their partners, as the new policy only recognizes same-sex marriages that have been performed out of state. This is really another bait and switch from the Winston-Salem City Council, which holds itself out as being a trailblazer and then comes out with a mediocre half-measure.

The mailer, which calls the city “lawless,” seeks to raise money “to fight against the City of Winston-Salem’s lawlessness” and “stop the city of Winston-Salem in their tracks.”

Smells like a lawsuit.

They could have avoided this by following Greensboro’s example and sidestepping the issue of gay marriage and extending benefits to all same-sex couples, regardless of marriage status.

The irony here is that it was a lawsuit that Fitzgerald claims gave the city and “equally lawless… Attorney General Roy Cooper” the legal footing to deprioritize our state’s most shameful constitutional provision.

In July, the Fourth Circuit of the US Court of Appeals ruled Virginia’s marriage amendment unconstitutional. The Fourth Circuit covers Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, South Carolina… and North Carolina. So while North Carolina’s marriage amendment is still on the books, it turns out we aren’t allowed to make laws like that. It’s only a matter of time before justice trickles down.

Perhaps it will be Fitzgerald’s insinuated lawsuit that prompts the decision.