Ahead of North Carolina’s GOP-led General Assembly debating a constitutional amendment that, if enacted by voters at the 2012 ballot, would codify a ban on same-sex marriage in the state — as well as civil unions and probably domestic partnerships too — Facebook co-founder and North Carolina native Chris Hughes has written an open letter to GOP lawmakers telling them that the ban is discriminatory, may harm job creation and the state’s economic prospects, and should be abandoned.
Read the letter below:
An Open Letter to the North Carolina General Assembly:
I’m writing today to express my deep concern and fervent opposition to the proposed anti-gay constitutional amendment, SB106/HB777.
As the co-founder of Facebook, I have some experience with the challenges of attracting the kind of driven, dynamic and diverse employees it takes to build a fledgling start-up into a full- fledged economic success story.
Companies like Facebook, Google and Apple are the future of our global economy. But the proposed anti-gay constitutional amendment signals to these and other major employers, as well as their mobile, educated employees, that North Carolina does not welcome the diverse workforce that any state needs to compete in the international marketplace.
In short, this amendment is bad for business, bad for the perception of my home state on the national stage, and a far cry from job-creating legislation that North Carolina lawmakers should be focused on.
But the negative business impact is far from the only harm of this amendment. Growing up in a conservative atmosphere in Hickory, North Carolina, I felt first-hand the stigma of being different in a Southern state’s a feeling that made it clear to me that I was not welcome in North Carolina.
The proposed discriminatory legislation will only perpetuate this stigma for a new generation of creative, talented youth, uninterested in second-class citizenship in a state they call home. Gay and lesbian North Carolinians work hard, contribute to society, and want to protect their families like everyone else. Their families deserve the same respect and the same treatment as everyone else, and they should not be exposed to the derogatory and harmful anti-gay rhetoric that inevitability accompanies these kinds of campaigns. North Carolina deserves better than that.
The next Facebook or Apple or Google could be created by another North Carolinian. Be mindful of how you treat them and their families.
Chris Hughes Co-founder of Facebook and North Carolina native.
Hughes, as part of his effort to defeat the amendment, also pledged to donate $10, up to the amount of $10,000, for every new person who “liked” Equality North Carolina on Facebook. Equality North Carolina has led a tough and dedicated campaign against the amendment. Within hours of making this announcement, the group reached its goal of 10,000 new supporters and the donation promise was fulfilled.
The North Carolina GOP has been called out for its use of anti-gay rhetoric ahead of the debate. Prior to this, Republican legislators had largely insisted that they just wanted to put the chance at codifying the state’s statutory ban before voters. In recent weeks however, certain GOP lawmakers have fallen back on old, tired arguments about gay marriage being the same as legalizing incest and polygamy, and how the constitutional amendment is necessary to protect the institution of marriage and the state’s children.
While North Carolina residents overwhelmingly support keeping their statutory ban on same-sex marriage, a new poll by Public Polling Policy (PPP) says that a majority would reject a constitutional amendment enshrining the state’s gay marriage ban if it also blocks same-sex couples from all legal recognition. Read more on that here.
Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may
not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.