Five years ago, North Carolinians were embroiled in a battle over an amendment to the state constitution that defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman. When all votes were counted from the May 8, 2012, referendum on the amendment, citizens voted overwhelmingly to support traditional marriage – 61 percent in favor, 39 percent against the amendment. North Carolina became the 31st state to approve a constitutional amendment in support of traditional marriage.
At the peak of the debate, I was engaged in an email discussion about the amendment with a man from the western part of the state who identified himself as a Baptist. He thought Christians were unnecessarily pressing the biblical definition of marriage into the state’s laws. He favored gay marriage and was certain that his position would never infringe on the rights of business owners. He assured me that if that happened, he would strongly oppose any denial of religious rights.
Everything he denied is now reality.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on June 26, 2015, that same-sex marriage is a 14th amendment right, making it legal in all 50 states. The voices of the majority of North Carolina’s citizens and those in other states were nullified by the judiciary.
President Barack Obama reversed his commitment to traditional marriage and “evolved” in favor of gay marriage. He became the first president of our country to reject traditional marriage as the national standard, and he used his influence to oppose state laws that excluded special rights for gay marriage.
Loaded with false information and emotional deception, LGBTQ organizations mobilized their forces with intense campaigns to promote special rights for some, while denying religious rights for all – rights that are guaranteed by the United States Constitution.
Throughout the radical left’s campaign for same-sex marriage “rights,” religious people were repeatedly told they were bigoted, hateful, stubborn and unnecessarily paranoid. LGBTQ activists and their misinformed supporters said nothing they proposed would infringe upon religious freedom.
Everything they said was wrong. Their campaign was a far left political movement under the guise of rights and personal freedom.
On Feb. 16, the state of Washington’s Supreme Court ruled that a Christian florist who declined to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding ceremony, violated the state’s anti-discrimination law.
Barronelle Stutzman, the 72-year-old owner of Arlene’s Flowers & Gifts, refused to violate her constitutionally protected religious beliefs. Now she must pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and ACLU legal fees. She could lose her business, her pension and her home. More important, the moral and civil erosion represented by this case means every American citizen is denied rights they had when they were born in this country.
The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the Southern Baptist Convention said that although Stutzman, an active member of a Southern Baptist church, did not have any qualms about serving homosexual customers, she “didn’t want to be involved in a same-sex marriage.”
They explained that Stutzman had served her friend and customer Rob Ingersoll for nearly a decade, designing custom arrangements for Valentine’s Day and other holidays. But, when Ingersoll asked Stutzman to arrange flowers for his wedding, she told him that while she valued him as a friend, her faith would not allow it. Ingersoll filed a lawsuit against her.
“The Washington Supreme Court’s ruling shortchanges our nation’s most fundamental freedom in favor of ideological conformity,” said ERLC president Russell Moore.
“Barronelle Stutzman followed her genuinely held beliefs without hostility toward any, and yet finds herself the target of a government that wants to steamroll her constitutional rights. The Court held that the government can force citizens to use their creative gifts and expressive speech to participate and endorse acts they believe to be immoral. This decision is a loss not only for Barronelle Stutzman but for every American who values liberty and civility over coercion by the government. My prayer is that this ruling would be overturned and that the U.S. Supreme Court would recognize the crucial importance of religious liberty.”
In an email to supporters of N.C. Values Coalition this week, Executive Director Tami Fitzgerald wrote, “Washington’s harmful non-discrimination law has caused this 72-year old grandmother to lose her livelihood and possibly her home just for following her conscience, and this points to the virtue of having HB2 in place in NC, so that government can’t coerce violations of conscience and take away freedom.”
If you think Fitzgerald’s transition from the Stutzman case to the North Carolina law is artificial, think again. It is exactly what the Washington, D.C., based Human Rights Campaign designed when they targeted Charlotte and persuaded the City Council of the state’s largest city to launch a bathroom ordinance that favored the LGBTQ agenda at the expense of the personal safety of the majority of citizens.
The actions of Charlotte’s leaders forced the N.C. legislature to protect all citizens of the state. House Bill 2 (HB2) was drawn up and soon became the law.
According to N.C. Representative Paul “Skip” Stam, the state’s non-discrimination law (HB2) is the same or very similar to that of 28 other states. He provides documented information to support his claims, demonstrating the unparalleled hypocrisy of businesses that are bullying the state through boycotts and campaigns of deceit.
These include the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) – organizations that practice discrimination that they allegedly oppose in the N.C. law. They demonstrate a complete absence of integrity.
If they really believe HB2 is errant, they must also boycott 28 other states and about 10,000 of the nation’s cities and towns that have the same laws.
Are they under pressure from heavy-handed administrators in their member universities? If so, they will continue to cling to the progressive agenda that is clearly the dogma of these educators.
I encourage you to read Stam’s insightful article, “The Truth about HB2 and Discrimination,” at BRnow.org/HB2Facts.
Last week N.C. Governor Roy Cooper announced his proposed deal to repeal HB2 – again. It has the fingerprints of the Human Rights Campaign all over it – again.
The proposal fits the mainstream media’s agenda, to which Cooper is beholden for his recent, narrow election to the governor’s office. It bows to the pressures of the NCAA, ACC and businesses that want to control the political future of our state. But, it does not protect the average citizen.
N.C. Lieutenant Gov. Dan Forest commented on Cooper’s latest proposal to repeal HB2 this week. In a press release he said, “If Governor Cooper’s proposed bill for repealing HB2 becomes law, it will create a state-sanctioned ‘Look But Don’t Touch’ policy in our bathrooms.
“Heterosexual men will be able to access women’s showers and bathrooms by simply posing as a transgender individual. They will be able to watch women and children shower, or shower next to them.
As long as the man doesn’t touch them, assault them or film them, no legal protection would be afforded the offended woman or child.
“As a husband and father of four, the concept of ‘Look But Don’t Touch’ as a meaningful response to HB2 is a sad commentary on how far the progressive movement and the elected officials beholden to it, will risk the safety of our people to achieve a radical social policy agenda.”
For the sake of religious liberty, Christians should pay close attention.