Richard Burr commits political suicide during tonight’s debate with Elaine Marshall

Republican U.S. Senate incumbent Richard Burr and Democratic challenger Elaine Marshall faced off in a debate on PBS broadcast from UNC-TV studios in Research Triangle Park.

Democratic challenger Elaine Marshall accused Republican incumbent Richard Burr in their last television debate Thursday night of having views on homosexuality that are “wrongheaded and discriminatory.” But Burr said she wasn’t listening to him and that she was trying to inject race into a discussion of gay rights.

Marshall said that being gay or lesbian is a genetic matter and not a matter of choice. Burr said he didn’t believe the science was conclusive on the issue.

Well one thing is clear — Burr’s another one hung up on the soap dropping in the shower as you will see below. The DADT question starts at 36:43. Judy Woodruff starts off with a side question of whether being gay is a choice. Watch it —

Moderator: We’ve talked about the military. Right now there’s a battle underway in the courts of this country, the federal courts, and in Washington, over what to do about the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy against gays in the military. I’d like you to comment on that but I also have a very straightforward question, and that is: do you believe that being gay is–or lesbian–is it a matter of genetics, of biology or is it a matter of choice?

Marshall: Well Judy, it’s a… your last question is the most important. I don’t believe it is a matter of choice. I believe that it is a biological occurrence, specifically beyond that I don’t have the scientific knowledge to say, but I don’t really believe its choice. I do think that if there are people that want to stand up for me and stand up for every American and defend us around the world they should be able to do that. I believe the government policy on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell needs to be repealed. As to the judge and the courts – this is a law that Congress made, it is something that Congress needs to fix. The president has recommended it, the highest of brass has recommended it, and it is time that that takes place. It should have taken place but it hasn’t taken place, and now we’ve gotten judges from the Ninth Circuit who, a judge, who has jumped in on this, probably because Congress didn’t act, but it really needs to be decided by Congress and not the judiciary.

Moderator: And Mr. Burr, respond on the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and also the question on whether being gay and lesbian is a matter of genetics, biology or a matter of choice.

Burr: Well, Judy, let me just say I’m not sure that any of us know whether its genetic or by choice, and I’m not sure that’s even relevant. If somebody chooses that lifestyle and how it might then impact our policies. Don’t Ask Don’t Tell has worked. Now personally I don’t see a reason to reverse it. But that’s a personal opinion. I think the country should have a debate. And what we should do is we should wait until the Department of Defense has gotten back the survey of those individuals who serve. That survey’s back in December. This is not too far off. I agree with Secretary Marshall. This is not an issue for the courts to decide. This is a law of the country and only Congress can in fact address it. But I’m confident of this – that this is the wrong time to change this policy. We’ve got hundreds of thousands of troops deployed. We don’t yet know what we might have to do, from a standpoint of changing the accommodations for troops if the policy changed. Now I’m not scared to have the debate, I welcome the debate, but I’m also very confident that we should time this in a way that makes as little impact on those troops that are deployed as we possibly can.

Moderator: And so the research that has shown, that indicates that gay/lesbian is a matter of biology, you would say…

Burr: I would only say that I’m not sure there has been conclusive evidence of what the result is.

Moderator: A rebuttal.

Marshall: I would respond to that by saying there is ample evidence that it is biological and Senator Burr obviously believes its by choice. That is wrong headed and discriminatory. We shouldn’t be judging people by the color of their hair, the color of their eyes, the color of their skin, or other factors that they have no control over. That’s wrong in America, and what you’re talking about is governmental discrimination for something that’s outside of somebody’s control

Burr: Secretary Marahall, I’m not sure that I referred to anybody’s skin color, or to their hair color. This is a very specific group of individuals, and I made it very clear what my position was. But don’t bring race into this.

Marshall: It is because of who they are by factors that they have no control over. Gender is another one of those. This country has been replete with discrimination based upon things that folks have no control over, and its time in 2010, this century, that we end that.

Let’s just say it goes downhill from there — it’s hard to recover after Sen. Burr says  our ‘founders’ wrote the 14th amendment. That comes after the above statements about DADT. FAIL-O-RAMA.

Donate to Elaine Marshall’s campaign.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

We’re Fighting for LGBT Equality & Elaine Marshall (NC-Sen)

Part 1 in our MarshallBomb Series … Crossposted at BlueNC and Daily Kos

As many of you know, my political adventures led me to start a PAC last year. I wanted to break away from the predominant funding mechanisms in North Carolina and start creating a grassroots network of committed progressives. I wanted to build a donor list that would put people who believed in LGBT equality, good government, ethics reform; in short, big-and-little-D democratic values. I wanted to make sure there was an effective voice for young, progressive candidates in our state. So I started the Grassroots Farm Team PAC, opened a bank account, registered with the State Board of Elections, and started raising money.

With a full-time job and finishing my A.B. degree, it's been hard. It hasn't always been fun. However, it's stories like this that make it all worth it.

More below the fold …

Asheville City Councilman Gordon Smith is the founder of Scrutiny Hooligans, a progressive blog many of you know. This time last year, he was just a candidate, and he needed our help to put him over the finish line.

Gordon is not shy about his belief in equality. While blogging at Pam's House Blend, he set out what he believes:

The gay and lesbian citizens of Asheville deserve equal recognition and equal benefits. To deny these benefits is to relegate gay and lesbian couples to second-class status. We all know that Asheville is a gay-friendly city, and our city government ought to reflect our commitment to honoring the civil rights of all our citizens.

It was because of that commitment that we wrote our single biggest check of the year to Gordon. In his own words: “thanks to Sam Spencer and the NC Farm Team. They helped my Asheville City Council campaign just when I needed it most.”

Gordon has gone on to become a great leader on the city council. In a year when regressive forces in Asheville have gone as far as ignoring the Establishment Clause in an attempt to bar an atheist from joining the city council, Gordon has stood up for what he believes in:

Councilman Gordon Smith is asking the council to move forward with the idea of giving same-sex domestic partners health insurance, bereavement leave and other benefits.

If a majority votes yes, city staff would come back to the council at a later date with information including estimated costs and who would qualify. A final vote on the measure could then follow.

Granting the benefits would “provide equal rights to our employees who are denied the option to marry,” Smith said.

He even went on YouTube to make the case:

And then

After about 90 minutes of public comment and deliberation on Feb. 9, Asheville City Council voted 4-2 to support a motion by Council member Gordon Smith supporting benefits for city employees in same-sex domestic relationships. While the vote does not implement benefits such as health insurance and bereavement leave already afforded to straight married couples, it does mean city staff will conduct a financial impact study and other research and make a recommendation for Council vote in March.

According to Gordon, “There's another round or two to go before final passage, but I'm feeling confident.  It's the first movement on equal rights for same-sex couples here in 16 years.”

This time last year, a pro-equality candidate needed help, and the Farm Team was there.

This year, we're shooting a little bigger. We've got a pro-equality candidate who needs your help – Elaine Marshall:

Elaine believes it is not the Federal government’s job to discriminate, including when it comes to sexual orientation. She believes we should honor the commitment of those serving in the military regardless of sexual orientation, and that we should follow the lead of our military leaders and repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Elaine supports the repeal of DOMA and the enactment of ENDA and UAFA.  She supports eliminating all forms of discrimination under the law, including immigration law.

You can donate to Elaine here.

We need southerners in the Senate who support equality. Elaine Marshall is infinitely better than Burr in every way when it comes to civil rights … and she's a hell of a lot better than many Democrats who are already in the Senate.

We've been doing a lot to get Elaine elected. Our ad campaign against Richard Burr got almost 1,000,000 impressions on facebook this past weekend, and we've got lots of great stuff lined up. And this week we'll be opening a website for an October 8 “MarshallBomb.”

I'm asking Blenders to pitch in to help us get Elaine Marshall elected. We're going to be running an ad campaign to promote the MarshallBomb, while still helping great North Carolina candidates get elected. If you're willing to give more, that's great! We're building the small-dollar donor network that will help us raise the money we need to achieve big victories for young candidates across the state.

(Again, you can also donate to Elaine here).

If you’d like to help out, you can reach us at @NCFarmTeam on twitter, on our Facebook Fan Page, or by e-mail at NCFarmTeam <:at:>

Thanks for taking the time to read this – I hope we can earn your support!

Sam Spencer
Executive Director
Grassroots Farm Team PAC
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright