Almost seven years ago, I was forced to resign my state government position as the manager of the North Carolina Standards Laboratory for insubordination. My crime? I refused to lower the N.C. Standards Laboratory flags to honor the bigotry and racism of Jesse Helms.
Recently, the N.C. General Assembly voted to allow a group of government officials, magistrates, to refuse to perform a service that is a significant part of their job description. If lawmakers override Gov. Pat McCrory’s veto of the measure, magistrates would be allowed, based on religious objection to same-sex marriage, to refuse to perform marriage ceremonies. They would be permitted to refuse to do their job without the threat of punishment or even a decrease in pay for their diminished job performance.
I objected on moral grounds and refused to perform a task that was not a significant part of my job, a task I had performed without fail for over 20 years, and I was forced to resign.
Despite the constitutional mandate for the separation of state and religion, publicly paid (i.e., paid by N.C. resident taxes) magistrates in North Carolina would be allowed to refuse to perform one of the principle duties of their government job, based solely on their religious beliefs.
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An insignificant case of insubordination in protest of Jesse Helms’ racism, homophobia and bigotry ended my career. Yet, thanks to the regressive, right-wing GOP, insubordination based on religious bigotry may now become the law of our state. This is another sad day in the history of our state.
May I suggest state government flags be lowered to half-staff in respect for what North Carolina has lost?
I applaud Gov. Pat McCrory for vetoing this regressive law. I strongly encourage the GOP members of the General Assembly not to attempt to override his veto. It’s bad enough that their ancestors will see how far on the wrong side of history they were. Bringing it up again will tarnish their legacy even more.
I applaud my alma mater, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, for renaming a building named for a KKK grand dragon.
North Carolina must return to its proud heritage as the most progressive of the Southern states. Thanks to the current administration and the GOP-controlled General Assembly, we have a lot of ground to make up before we can begin to move forward again!
The length limit was waived to permit a fuller response.