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Move convention? Despite anger over marriage amendment, it won’t happen

By Tim Funk
tfunk@charlotteobserver.com

North Carolina voters have spoken. Now it’s other people’s turn. And, around the country, many of them are so mad at Tuesday’s results on Amendment One that they’re calling for the Democratic National Convention to be yanked out of Charlotte.

By 1:15 p.m., nearly 20,000 people had signed a “move the convention” petition that was launched on change.org by the New York-based Gay Marriage USA.

And Twitter is filled with similar sentiment from angry supporters of same-sex marriage.

“As an LGBT Democrat married in Iowa, I wouldn’t set foot in North Carolina,” tweeted David S. Shafer.

Marc St. Jacques tweeted: “Move the Convention out of North Carolina, don’t spend any monies in this retrograde state.”

No one expects the Democrats to move the September convention out of Charlotte – where the Amendment lost.

But signers of the online petition were advised to contact the Democratic National Convention Committee in Charlotte, which has not yet issued a statement on the furor.

Democratic Party chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a founding member of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, said in a statement that passage of the N.C. amendment reaffirming the state’s ban of same-sex marriage was “very disappointing. It unfairly singles out gay and lesbian Americans and is discriminatory.”

President Barack Obama, who had publicly opposed the amendment, was also “disappointed” at the amendment’s passage, his campaign said.

Anti-amendment celebrities also weighed in, including “American Idol” runner-up Clay Aiken and actress Evan Rachel Wood, both of whom hail from North Carolina.

“Just bent over on set and cried over this outcome,” Wood tweeted Tuesday. “I hope my children see a more peaceful and tolerant world.”

TV talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, whose pioneering sitcom acknowledged her lesbianism, tweeted this: “Getting married was one of the greatest things I have ever done. I hope everyone in North Carolina gets the same opportunity some day.”

Actress Roseanne Barr was more blunt: She urged movie studios to “withdraw your productions from NC!”

But even California, the home of the Hollywood, passed Proposition 8, a gay marriage ban a few years ago.

On Tuesday, North Carolina became the 31st state to approve a “defense of marriage” amendment. The District of Columbia and eight states, most in the Northeast, have legalized same-sex marriage.

The on-line petition calling for removing the DNC from Charlotte says it should be moved “to a state that upholds values of equality & liberty, and which treats ALL citizens equally.”

Even some North Carolinians signed the petitions and left comments. Eric Redolphy wrote: “I live in North Carolina where the separation of Church and State doesn’t exist.”

What makes this controversy over the N.C. vote even more awkward is that many high-profile Democrats – including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the convention chairman – are calling for the Democratic delegates meeting in Charlotte to approve a plank in the party platform favoring legalization of same-sex marriage.

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