NC: Lesbian couple say they were forced to leave Raleigh shopping center for kissing in public

I’ve never heard of this happening in Durham. Perhaps there are some overzealous homophobic mall cops earning their keep over there at Cameron Village. (Q-Notes):

A Triangle-area social justice group is planning to demonstrate at the Cameron Village shopping center this weekend after its co-director and partner were booted from the premises after showing signs of “gentle affection.”

SONG leader Caitlin Breedlove says she and her partner had just finished eating at The Flying Biscuit on Thursday afternoon when they went to sit outside. There, they shared a brief kiss after which a security guard approached them and said they had to leave.

According to a release, the security guard said that “being affectionate” was “inappropriate.” The couple asked the guard if he would have said the same thing if they had been an opposite sex couple. The guard said, “No.” The couple asked to see the security guard’s supervisor, who also said they needed to leave, reminded them Cameron Village was private property and said, “You want this to be public, you want people to see what you are.”

Cameron Village, owned by York Properties, needs to speak up about its practices that this guard is enforcing, or they are going to be in a heap of PR trouble…trust me.

Do the vendors and shops of Cameron Village want to see their sales drop as the pink dollars walk away?

BTW, The Flying Biscuit Cafe, where the couple had eaten earlier, support Breedlove and Ammons. Breedlove:

“Bullying is just another word for violence, and it is not just one or two bad apples that say this is OK but mainstream culture in general. Regardless of whether Cameron Village is private property or not, no one deserves to be bullied in public, and if we don’t stand up and say that all discrimination is wrong we contribute to a society where only some people get to feel safe in living their daily lives.”

Southerners on New Ground (SONG) will hold their demonstration at 1 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 17 at Cameron Village. For more information, visit southernersonnewground.org.

York Properties

Cameron Village

Office Phone – 919-821-1350

Fax – 919-828-9240

lynneworth@yorkproperties.com

Related:

* No kissing at Cameron Village (Indy Weekly)
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

Pushing for ENDA in Raleigh

District meetings with targeted members of Congress are a critical part of our field work as they’re an opportunity to show members of Congress that we as a community mean business.

We recently met with Sonia Barnes, the district representative for U.S. Representative Bob Etheridge.  This was our second meeting in North Carolina. The meeting was a success, and could not have been so without the amount of people who graciously lent us their time as well as their stories.

Included in this group was HRC Governor and Steering Committee member Madeline Goss, who shared her powerful story regarding her gender transition in the workplace. Once Madeline had decided to transition, she went and spoke with her HR director to explain her decision.  She was concerned that her position as an engineer at the company would not be secure. Initially, the company could not guarantee that Madeline’s transition would not affect her employment. After doing some research, Madeline found that her company did have a non-discrimination policy in effect that prevented her from being fired on the basis of her gender identity.  Policies like these exist to protect people like Madeline, who are brave enough to be true to themselves day after day while heading into work, unsure whether or not they will be fired at any moment. Sadly, for millions of Americas these protections don’t exist. They are forced to choose between their jobs and being themselves.

Ian Palmquist, the executive director of the statewide LGBT civil rights organization Equality North Carolina, also joined us for the meeting. Ian shared about his partner who was fired for filing a complaint of workplace discrimination. Ian’s partner is just one of the hundreds of victims of workplace discrimination that have contacted Equality North Carolina.

Also attending was Sarah Preston, Policy Director of the ACLU, and Gary Palmer, a representative from the Replacements Limited company. Palmer spoke powerfully about of the effects that discrimination has on LGBT youth and about ending discrimination for the next generation.

Jake Wheeler, an Intern with HRC, also spoke on the effects of discrimination on LGBT youth.  Wheeler has witnessed firsthand the hardship that goes along with being a young gay man looking for a job in today’s economy.

I think our stories truly touched Sonia Barnes. We asked her to thank Rep. Etheridge for voting for the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. I also took a moment to ask Sonia which way she thought Rep. Etheridge was going to vote on ENDA.  The fact that she could not give our group a definite answer made one thing clear to us; we have more work to do.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright

NC: PHB exclusive video of NOM’s Brian Brown at Raleigh rally – plus I am mistaken for a fundie (!)

My high-quality vid is still uploading, but I have this lower-res version for those excited to see the flopsweat on Brian Brown’s brow ASAP. So the background first — I did this on my lunch hour (kind of a long lunch since it takes about a 1/2 hour to get to Raleigh), and I drove a work colleague with me who hadn’t been to one of these fundie rallies before. Robyn was quite excited as I described the decomposing influence of NOM as its tour has worn on.

It’s hot here this week, so it was over 95 degrees and when we drove down Morgan Street, which was the dividing street between our anti-NOM rally and NOM’s zombies, our side had signs saying “Honk for Equality” which was the rallying call to drown out NOM’s speakers, which was quite effective in rattling Brown. We found a parking space a block away (!) and I quickly got up the block, turned the camera on, and got a pass of the protesters and then marched up to the NOM crowd and zeroed in on Brown, who was just getting warmed up…you may hear my editorial “OMG” comments in the background. :P



Brian Brown urged supporters this afternoon to stand and urge their legislators to support a constitutional amendment to protect marriage: “If you move forward with a marriage amendment in North Carolina, you will show the government where we stand.” The way will not always be easy, however: “In Atlanta, some attempted to attack Dr. Alveda King and smear her – she greeted it with love.”

And for even greater effect, there were two NOM supporters behind me at various points getting the spirit inside them and they would yell out “Yes! Praise Jesus” or some such nonsense in response to the speaker spouting outright homophobic blather. I was having a hard time not cracking up at the sad spectacle.

As I said in my earlier post (“NC: NOM’s pathetic stop in Raleigh – another FAIL-O-RAMA“), the National Organization for Marriage continues its disastrous tour that has crashed and burned repeatedly here in the South, with today’s embarrassment in Raleigh a festive smackdown of bigotry. There was no organized effort on our side — all of it was grassroots activism via Facebook groups that turned out over 200 people. On NOM’s side – maybe 50. It may have been even less, since some of the people I counted looked to be lunchtime curious onlookers, not the hardcore faithful. And there were a lot of cops, as in way too many for the given task, and there was a large media presence, so when you see the photos in the slideshow of the shaded area where NOM is, that thin crowd if you take tha latter away, would be pitiful.

There were several stand-up comic natural marriage advocates present, including was the head of the local bigot parade in this state, the North Carolina Family Policy Council, Bill Brooks and Mark Creech, Executive Director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina. Creech was particularly entertaining.

Ian Palmquist, the executive director of Equality North Carolina was at the rally and I grabbed him for an interview to ask him about the reaction to the grassroots demonstration and NOM’s weak, bizarre stop in our state.

When my colleague Robyn got a glimpse of Brown as the event was breaking up, she said:

“Oh, my he has a history, doesn’t he?

I said:

You mean as he’s in the closet?

Robyn:

Who on earth is he kidding? There’s no way he’s straight. He’s a desperate man.


Robyn.

Now what happened next was beyond surreal. This middle-aged woman with a floppy hat on and a clipboard in her hand, looking a bit wild-eyed, came over and asked us if we wanted to sign up for some “scientifically-based information on marriage.” Robyn and I looked at each other and knew exactly where this was going. I said:

Pam: Scientific information? What are you talking about?

Fundie: I’m with The Ruth Institute (a “project of the National Organization for Marriage) and I have literature I can share with you…

Pam: I’m sorry, I’m not interested…I’m married to a woman.

PREGNANT PAUSE…FUNDIE JAW OPEN. Clearly she thought I was straight and on her side.

Robyn: I am married to a woman as well.

PREGNANT PAUSE…FUNDIE JAW OPENING WIDER. Oh NOES, her Gaydar is broken for sure! A fly could have entered and buzzed around in her piehole. Finally she regains her composure and says…

Fundie: You’re marriage is not real. You’re not married in the state of NC.

Pam: No, you’re right. But when I go to visit my relatives in NY, I’m married. If I go to Iowa, I’m married, if I go to Massachusetts I’m married…

Fundie (interrupting, voice shaking): Your marriage is a legal fraud, that doesn’t matter, what matters is natural marriage.

Pam (interrupting): My marriage is not a fraud…and I don’t need your literature.

Fundie (turning and walking away, head exploding in anger): You’re being rude…

Pam: Hey you’re the one who came up to me first…(laughing).

Robyn and I laughed the entire ride back to work because this woman 1) pegged us both as straight and kindred spirits, 2) clearly hasn’t run into this “problem” before, and 3) had a meltdown that was priceless.

***

The also random oddities about the event today.

While I halfway expect to get fan mobbed at Netroots Nation, I really don’t expect that down here at home. When I walked up to the corner to shoot more video, a whole bunch of people demonstrating were yelling out my name and cheering, and saying hi.

Of course this was a bit embarrassing, because I’m standing here next to my co-worker who knows me as the IT Manager at Duke Press, a position that clearly isn’t what is causing the commotion. The old alter ego thing, worlds colliding.

But I know that the greeting was genuine, and I do like meeting readers, so I waved and yelled out hi and crossed the street over to them and spoke to those who wanted to say hello or take photos with me. Sigh. I guess my days of local anonymity are numbered.

***

Anyway, when I went back across the street to do more NOM taping, I’m just walking all the way up to the front with the media (I had no credentials) walked around the side of the speaker stand, getting good shots. I go back across to our side to take photos of the rainbow rally. I do this a few times and then I run into one of those attending on our side and he alerts me that the police had chased him away from the NOM zombie side. Apparently they did not want anyone on the pro-equality side anywhere near where they had their permit to speak.

Well I was all up NOM’s butt taping and none of the cops came up to me to say anything, even though I was clearly shooting on the conflicting sides and wasn’t designated as press. That was really strange. I’m not complaining, but I thought I stuck out like a sore thumb. Then again, if that fundie with the clipboard was fooled…  

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

NC: NOM’s pathetic stop in Raleigh – another FAIL-O-RAMA

UPDATE: Adam Bink over at the NOM Tour Tracker, let me know that their interview with me is up. (I took a break from hopping between the NOMers and our peeps), surf over for its coverage.



I will have much more later, including some incredible blather from the mouth of Brian Brown, who was sweating like a pig out near the Capital Building, surrounded by, as JMG has said, TENS (as in about 45) supporters. We had about 200 on our side, as you’ll see in the slide show. It looked like the journalists and cops together outnumbered the NOMers.

The table with neat stacks of one-man, one-woman T-Shirts was left unmonitored a good bit of the time because there were customers buying the crap. Guess it’s back onto the bus to try hawking them in another city.

On the video he was into the whole victimhood thing, spouting how the people standing peacefully on the other side of the street were “shouting him down” and impinging on his free speech rights. You’ll also see video later of a local yokel bigot   hysterical over same-sex marriage destroying society.

And as we’ve seen at all of the other NOM rallies, there are eerily similar seniors showing up with lawn chairs, mesmerized by the “action.”

I will have some real tales ones to share, including my work colleague Robyn’s reaction to seeing Brown for the first time, and our encounter with a fundie from The Ruth Institute, who made the mistake of thinking both of us were straight marriage savers when she starting pitching her BS. It was hilarious.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

Stick it to NOM: Vote for Pam & Kate in Raleigh N&O’s ‘Couple’s Best … story of how you met’

As The Advocate’s Kerry Eleveld pointed out in this week’s opinion piece, the end of the National Organization for Marriage’s “Summer of Marriage” 23-stop tour is two weeks away from its conclusion, and the media stunt is making its way toward North Carolina.

See the Courage Campaign’s NOM Tour Tracker Map – the bigots will descend on my state on August 10, 2010 in Raleigh from 12:00pm – 1:00pm at the State Capitol, South Side Raleigh, NC 27601.

See this Facebook page for the counter rally.

What would really stick it to Maggie and Co would be to have a same-sex married couple leading in a contest called “Couple’s Best … story of how you met,” sponsored by the Raleigh News & Observer’s Triangle.com and Crabtree Valley Mall. Clearly the N&O will be covering NOM’s rally; this will provide a great counter-story to the tens of NOMers planning to beat the bible and mantra of “what about the children?”

Kate and I entered the contest, and in what has to be fabulous timing to rub into the nose of NOM, the voting period is now open. We’re not close to being in the lead yet (we have about 40 votes compared to the leading couple that is near 200 as I write this), but I’m hopeful that PHB has enough readers willing to click over to support us.

Click here to vote!

There is also one other same-sex couple in the running out of 40 (Rodney Murphy and Paul Gilbert), so I’m glad we’re not the only ones representing — and they deserve votes as well.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright