Forrester fury

No doubt State Senator James Forrester will be playing the victim card any second now. The legislature’s chief proponent of amending the North Carolina constitution to restrict marriage and domestic partnerships has already been the target of those opposed to the amendment. Now, the Gaston County Republican appears to have handed amendment opponents a golden opportunity by padding his resume.

In a story yesterday on Pam Spaulding’s Blend blog, said that Forrester was not a fellow as he’s claimed and according to the organization’s officials he’s not even a member.

Now WRAL is on the story as is ThinkProgress. And since the about page on his campaign web site reads like a giant vita, expect a few more of Forrester’s achievements to get a closer look.

While the proponents of codifying discrimination may try to play this off as a distraction and a personal attack by the evil Gays, Forrester’s credentials actual are an important part of the debate. He used his medical resume to sell the amendment referendum in the legislature repeatedly claiming that there is medical evidence showing the dangers of homosexuality. Event though his argument was complete balderdash, the fact that a doctor was saying it gave it weight.
Forrester was recently given a chance to back up his claim on Michael Signorile’s radio show. He had a little trouble citing any studies.

This interview has to be heard to be believed: Forrester not only could not back up his claims with any evidence — after first trying to source the Centers for Disease Control, only to be debunked by me — but he actually acknowledged that he could be wrong. He eventually credited a Christian activist named Frank Turek (who is associated with Maggie Gallagher and the National Organization for Marriage) as his source of this bogus public health information.


Morning Post — September 19

Ah, good morning. Cooler when you get up these days here in the Piedmont.
Here’s some of what’s shaking in the NC:

– Dome on Democrats’ NC Forward bus tour
– What was that giant strange object in Asheville?
– A look at the ticket-fixin’ trial in Winston
– The Star-New on incentives for the Project Soccer development
– Fitzsimon’s Monday numbers

And in our nation’s capital, utter hijinks:
– It’s Debt Plan Monday
Some kind of buffet tax or something
Don’t Ask Don’t Tell comes to an end Tuesday

also, big day at the casino already

Adjournment resolution

Like the last go-round, the General Assembly adjourned with a fairly wide open agenda for the next special session. Spelled out in the adjournment resolution – S792 – is a wide set of options. As in:



A JOINT RESOLUTION further adjourning the 2011 regular session of the general assembly to a date certain and limiting the matters that may be considered upon reconvening.

Be it resolved by the Senate, the House of Representatives concurring:

SECTION 1. When the Senate and the House of Representatives adjourn on Wednesday, September 14, 2011, they stand adjourned to reconvene on Monday, November 7, 2011, at 12:00 noon.

SECTION 2. During the regular session that reconvenes on Monday, November 7, 2011, only the following matters may be considered:

(1) Bills:

a. Revising the Senate districts and the apportionment of senators among those districts.

b. Revising the Representative districts and the apportionment of representatives among those districts.

c. Revising the districts for the election of members of the House of Representatives of the Congress of the United States and the apportionment of representatives among those districts.

d. Bills responding to actions related to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

e. Bills responding to actions related to litigation concerning Congressional, State House, or State Senate districts.

(2) Bills returned by the Governor with her objections under Section 22 of Article II of the North Carolina Constitution, but solely for the purpose of considering overriding of the veto upon reconsideration of the bill.

(3) Any bills relating to election laws.

(4) Bills to ratify and make statutory conforming changes pursuant to a Tribal Compact negotiated by the Governor.

(5) Bills responding to natural disasters, including hurricanes.

(6) Bills in which the General Assembly makes an appointment or appointments to public office and which contain no other matter.

(7) Adoption of conference reports for bills which were in conference as of Wednesday, September 14, 2011.

(8) Local bills pending in the House Rules Committee on July 28, 2011.

(9) A bill to modify governance and management provisions for local management entities (LMEs).

(10) A joint resolution further adjourning the 2011 Regular Session to a date certain.

SECTION 3. This resolution is effective upon ratification.

In the General Assembly read three times and ratified this the 14th day of September, 2011.

Marriage amendment out of committee

The House Rule Committee has passed H61 – a bill authorizing a referendum on a constitutional amendment restricting marriage. It now goes to the North Carolina House, which is expected to pass it.

Proponents did two key things to the bill: The first is a provision that proponents say eliminates the argument that it would outlaw domestic partnerships or hamper businesses that recognize partnerships from doing so. The second shifts the date of the referendum to the “first primary,” which proponents say eliminates the argument tha tit is not political.

To the first point: As Rep. Joe Hackney sought to point out, the wording in the new section is so undefined that it could, and likely will, have consequences outside the bill’s intent. Rep. Paul Stam may say the legislature has debated the idea over and over, but it has not debated this bill, in this circumstance and in this era. To just plunge ahead and write something into the constitution that has not been tested or debated is inviting trouble.

To the second point: We don’t know when the first primary of next year will be. As it did in 2002, redistricting could have a big effect on when primaries for some of the slate would happen. The legislature, of course, can set the date to anytime it wants. It could also shift around pretty much any primary race or group of races. Regardless of when the amendment goes to the voters, the political machine that will push for its passage will get a boost in fundraising, organization and energy. That extra boost in getting social conservatives energized could pay off if the GOP nominates someone who doesn’t light up the evangelical voters.
The switch in timing also has an effect the other way. Opposition to the bill would probably have an effect in helping turnout among the younger voters who helped put Obama over the top here in 2008. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some poll numbers showing that and the switch was made not to eliminate politics but because of it. Given that the first primary will be much more of a Republican affair statewide, a referendum would stand an even greater chance of passage than it would in the general election.

WRAL story

Dem response

Text of the bill (date switch isn’t in this one):

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:
SECTION 1. Article 14 of the North Carolina Constitution is amended by adding the following new section:
“Sec. 6. Marriage. Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State. This section does not prohibit a private party from entering into contracts with another private party; nor does this section prohibit courts from adjudicating the rights of private parties pursuant to such contracts.”
SECTION 2. The amendment set out in Section 1 of this act shall be submitted to the qualified voters of the State at a statewide election to be held on November 6, 2012, which election shall be conducted under the laws then governing elections in the State. Ballots, voting systems, or both may be used in accordance with Chapter 163 of the General Statutes. The question to be used in the voting systems and ballots shall be:
“[ ] FOR [ ] AGAINST Constitutional amendment to provide that marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State.”
SECTION 3. If a majority of votes cast on the question are in favor of the amendment set out in Section 1 of this act, the State Board of Elections shall certify the amendment to the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State shall enroll the amendment so certified among the permanent records of that office. The amendment is effective upon
SECTION 4. This act is effective when it becomes law.

Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals rejects constitutional challenge to Healthcare Act

Via Think Progress:

The Fourth Circuit just handed down two opinions ordering that Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s challenge to the Affordable Care Act, along with another challenge to brought by Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, both must be dismissed entirely on jurisdictional grounds. Judge Davis dissented from the Liberty University opinion to say that he would reach the merits and uphold the law. Today’s decisions are the first court of appeals decisions to dismiss a case for want of jurisdiction after a lower court reached the merits – potentially raising the possibility that one or more of the justices could agree with them and prevent this constitutional question from being decided on the merits until after 2014.

Fourth Circuit opinions homepage