Activists hope the "power of love" can change what they say are anti-gay attitudes held by Commissioner Bill James.
Tonight, members of the Charlotte Rainbow Action Network for Equality plan on giving James a special Valentine's Day card with signatures and thoughts from local LGBT community members.
“With loving support, and maybe some tough love, he can turn his attitudes around in 2010,” Laura Maschal says. “We’ll keep on checking in with him throughout the year to make sure he stops using anti-gay slurs and begins to open his eyes to the power of love in our community.”
What prompted the group was a remark James said to Commissioner Vilma Leake at a Dec. 15 debate over the county's plan to offer domestic partner benefits to county employees.
Leake had mentioned during her remarks at the meeting that her son had died of AIDS in 1993. Shortly later, James leaned over to Leake and asked: "Your son was a homo, really?"
County commissioners Chairman Jennifer Roberts later issued a statement saying "name-calling has no place in civil discourse" in response to the exchange.
- Doug Miller