A prominent North Carolina pastor has joined the chorus of voices speaking out in favor of Amendment One, which would define marriage as being between a man and a woman in the state's constitution.
Ron Baity, founding pastor of Winston-Salem's Berean Baptist Church and head of the anti-marriage equality organization Return America, referred to homosexuality as "a perverted lifestyle" in a Sunday sermon before telling his congregation that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people should be prosecuted, Good as You is reporting.
"For 300 years, we had laws that would prosecute that lifestyle," he is quoted as saying. "We've gone down the wrong path. We've become so dumb that we have accepted a lie for the truth, and we've...discarded the truth on the shoals of shipwreck!"
Baity's commentary come on the heels of anti-gay marriage remarks made by two other North Carolina religious leaders, Beacon Baptist Church Pastor Tim Rabon and Pastor Sean Harris of Fayetteville's Berean Baptist Church.
State residents will go to the polls on May 8 to vote on both the same-sex marriage measure and to pick a Republican presidential candidate.
As The New York Times reports, recent polls of the state and an analysis of past ballot initiatives in other states suggest that the measure is likely to pass.
Check out some of the worst LGBT moments of the past week below:
The North Carolina pastor whose violent anti-gay rant <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/01/north-carolina-pastor-sea_n_1468618.html?ref=mostpopular">blew up across the blogosphere</a>, said in an interview that his message to parents in a sermon -- to "punch" a boy who is effeminate and "crack that wrist" if he is limp-wristed -- were taken out of the "context of a ministry," and that he meant them "figuratively," claiming that Jesus, too, in the Bible, "conjures up violent images." Pastor Sean Harris of the Barean Baptist Church in Fayetteville, N.C. <a href="http://pastorseansblog.blogspot.com/2012/05/important-clarification-to-sundays.html?spref=tw">retracted</a> the statements of violence but continued to defend his comments about the "importance of gender distinctions that God created," as well his condemnation of homosexuality, citing the Bible. But he was not able to explain other passages in the Bible, such as those condoning slavery, saying he didn't realize the interview would "slant and redirect the conversation." <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/03/pastor-sean-harris-beat-gay-children-sermon_n_1474510.html?&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009" target="_hplink">Read the full story here</a> and listen to the interview here:
Does the notorious anti-gay group One Million Moms have a personal vendetta against JCPenney? It would certainly seem that way, as just months after the conservative "online activism campaign" <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/01/ellen-degeneres-jc-penney_n_1247657.html" target="_hplink">slammed the Texas-based retail group's decision to hire Ellen DeGeneres</a> as its spokeswoman, they're at it again. This time, One Million Moms is taking issue with JCPenney's inclusion of a presumably lesbian couple as part of its Mother's Day catalog. The photograph in question <a href="http://calendar.jcpenney.com/may/#!book/thebook/10" target="_hplink">features two models identified as Wendi and her partner Maggie</a>, along with their daughters. The women appear to be wearing wedding bands. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/03/one-million-moms-jc-penney-lesbian-photo_n_1474086.html?ref=gay-voices&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>
A black transgender Minneapolis woman pleaded guilty to second degree manslaughter in the stabbing death of a local man, but her supporters maintain she was the actual victim in the case. <a href="http://www.startribune.com/local/minneapolis/149864755.html" target="_hplink">As the <em>Minneapolis Star-Tribune</em> is reporting</a>, 23-year-old CeCe McDonald is expected to be sentenced June 4 to three years and five months in prison for the death of Dean Schmitz, a white man. McDonald was walking past a local bar on June 5, 2011 when an altercation between her and Schmitz, in addition to other patrons, erupted on the sidewalk outside. <a href="http://supportcece.wordpress.com/" target="_hplink">According to various reports</a>, McDonald -- who was transitioning at the time -- said she pulled out a pair of scissors in an attempt to defend herself after the group hurled a glass at her face, and taunted her and her friends with both anti-gay and racist epithets, including "faggots," "niggers" and "chicks with d*cks." Schmitz, who <a href="http://supportcece.wordpress.com/" target="_hplink">allegedly had a swastika tattoo </a>and was between the ages of 41 and 47 according to varied reports, died at the scene from a stab wound to his chest. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/02/cece-mcdonald-minnesota-transgender-woman-manslaughter_n_1472078.html?ref=gay-voices&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>
Houston megachurch Pastor Joel Osteen has said numerous times that he believes being gay is a sin in accordance with his understanding of Christian scripture. In an appearance on Fox News Sunday, <a href="http://www.advocate.com/society/religion/2012/04/30/joel-osteen-does-not-hate-gays-just-thinks-we-are-sinful" target="_hplink">Osteen further discussed his position on being gay</a> by telling host Chris Wallace that he "doesn't dislike anybody" and believes gays are some of "most loving people in the world," despite his strongly held conviction that homosexuality is a sin. "I believe the scripture says that being gay is a sin. But, you know, every time I say that, Chris ... people say, well, you are a gay hater and you're a gay basher," <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=EUt5gR6fj00" target="_hplink">Osteen told Wallace during the interview</a>. "I'm not. I don't - I don't dislike anybody. Gays are some of the nicest, kindest, most loving people in the world. But my faith is based on what I believe the scripture says, and that's the way I read the scripture." <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/02/joel-osteen-being-gay-is-a-sin-fox-news_n_1471247.html?ref=gay-voices&ir=Gay+Voices&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>
Another high-profile voice has joined the chorus of those speaking out in favor of <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/23/north-carolina-amendment-1-newt-gingrich_n_1447526.html" target="_hplink">North Carolina's Amendment One</a>. Orson Scott Card, best-selling author of the award-winning novel "Ender's Game," spoke of his opposition to legalizing same-sex marriage <a href="http://greensboro.rhinotimes.com/hc.e.211703.lasso" target="_hplink">in an seething Op-Ed</a> for Greensboro's <em>The Rhinoceros Times</em>. Published May 3, Card's column -- titled "What Right Is Really At Stake?" -- suggests that same-sex marriage is actually about "giving the left the power to force anti-religious values on our children" rather than extending basic civil rights measures to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) couples. Card writes: <blockquote>There's no need to legalize gay marriage. I have plenty of gay friends who are committed couples; some of them call themselves married, some don't, but their friends treat them as married. Anybody who doesn't like it just doesn't hang out with them. It's just like heterosexual couples who are living together without marriage. Their friends still treat them like married couples, inviting them places together; they're a social unit. Those who strongly disapprove leave them alone.</blockquote> <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/04/orson-scott-card-gay-marriage-amendment-one_n_1478936.html" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>
An Ohio-based radio DJ who ignited controversy last week after telling a concerned father he should "get one of your friends to screw your daughter straight" has apologized for his comments. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) notes that Dominic Dieter, the host of the popular "Rover's Morning Glory" on Cleveland's WMMS 100.7 FM radio (The Buzzard), <a href="http://www.glaad.org/blog/clevelands-wmms-takes-action-after-corrective-rape-suggestion" target="_hplink">issued an on-air apology for his statements</a> this morning. In addition, Clear Channel Communications, parent company of the radio station WMMS, confirmed to GLAAD that unspecified "disciplinary action has been taken" against Dieter, while also pledging to run a series of PSAs about the dangers of parental rejection. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/30/dominic-dieter-cleveland-dj-screw-daughter-comments_n_1465421.html?ref=gay-voices&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>
A North Carolina student has been cited for discharging a firearm within close proximity to a residential district after a video of him shooting a pro-marriage equality sign went viral on the Internet. The Cabarrus County Sheriff's Office has identified the man in the video as 17-year-old Jonathan Alexander Wiles, and deputies reportedly spent more than an hour at his home after learning of the clip showing him firing shots at an anti-Amendment One campaign sign, <a href="http://www.wbtv.com/story/18018096/investigation-launched-after-video-ammendment-one-sign-shooting-goes-viral" target="_hplink">according to WBTV</a>. Still, officials say they believe Wiles' actions in the video were merely a "very poor" decision, and not signs of a violent streak. "We have uncovered nothing to make us think he has any terroristic tendencies or violent leanings," a release from the Sheriff' Office on Tuesday is quoted by the station as saying. "It was very clear to the investigators that this young man had no intent to harm anyone." Read the full story here.
MINNEAPOLIS, M.N. -- "I believe that people who are either transsexuals or transvestites -- I don't know what the proper term is -- traditionally are more liberal-minded thinking people, tend to associate more with the defendants because, obviously, they have been either ridiculed before or are feeling in a position of being in a microscope all the time and are outcasts which lends themselves to associating more with the defendant." That was part of the <a href=" http://ca.findacase.com/research/wfrmDocViewer.aspx/xq/fac.20050926_0000441.NCA.htm/qx ">reason</a> a California prosecutor gave for removing Christopher Lewis -- an African-American potential juror described by the trial judge as a "man dressed as a woman" -- from a jury in 2000. It would have been illegal to remove Lewis based on the fact that she was black, so the judge had to make sure that the prosecutor could articulate a reason other than race. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/01/lgbt-discrimination-jurors_n_1466364.html?ref=gay-voices&ir=Gay+Voices&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a> (By Andy Birkey of <em>The American Independent</em>)
Archbishop Antonio Mennini, a Vatican representative, has called onto other religious leaders to <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/9232269/Gay-marriage-Pope-representatives-calls-for-Catholic-alliance-with-Muslim-and-Jewish-groups.html" target="_hplink">take a stand against allowing gay marriage</a> in the United Kingdom. Archbishop Mennini <a href="http://ukinholysee.fco.gov.uk/en/news/?view=News&id=559075082" target="_hplink">serves as the "Apostolic Nuncio" to Great Britain</a>, which means he serves as Vatican's representative and ambassador in that country. According to a <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/9232269/Gay-marriage-Pope-representatives-calls-for-Catholic-alliance-with-Muslim-and-Jewish-groups.html" target="_hplink">report by the <em>Telegraph</em></a>, the archbishop shared the idea while speaking to Catholic bishops from England and Wales. He proposed enlisting <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/9232269/Gay-marriage-Pope-representatives-calls-for-Catholic-alliance-with-Muslim-and-Jewish-groups.html" target="_hplink">help from other Christians, as well Muslims, Jews</a> and others with similar mindsets, to join together in opposition to the proposed legalization of gay marriage. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/30/archbishop-christians-jews-muslims-gay-marriage_n_1465661.html?ref=gay-voices&ir=Gay+Voices&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>
Despite emotional protests and fierce lobbying from gay rights groups, United Methodists voted on Thursday (May 2) to maintain their denomination's stance that homosexuals acts are "incompatible with Christian teaching." Two "agree to disagree" proposals were soundly defeated during separate votes by the nearly 1,000 delegates gathered for the United Methodist Church's General Conference in Tampa, Fla. One proposal would have replaced the "incompatible" phrase in the Book of Discipline, which contains the denomination's laws and doctrines. Both proposals sought to soften the disputed doctrine by adding more ambiguous statements about homosexuality. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/04/methodists-homosexual-act-incompatible_n_1476042.html?ref=gay-voices&ir=Gay Voices" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a> (By Daniel Burke, Religion News Service)
A Tennessee high school journalism professor has infuriated locals, including one school board member, after publishing a pro-gay profile of a graduating student in the yearbook. Written by a member of the Lenoir City High School yearbook's student staff, "<a href="http://www.towleroad.com/2012/05/christian-school-board-member-stirs-firestorm-in-tennessee-over-its-okay-to-be-gay-student-yearbook-.html" target="_hplink">It's OK to be Gay</a>" describes the experiences of openly gay student Zac Mitchell. In the piece, Mitchell describes coming out in public and being bullied, as well as cross-dressing and being "hit on by straight guys," <a href="http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2012/may/02/high-school-yearbook-article-sparks-furor-in/" target="_hplink">according to the <em>Knoxville Sentinel</a></em>. "It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be," Mitchell says of coming out in eighth grade. "The girls were all so excited and the boys were pretty much half and half. Some of them didn't care and seemed like they had always known, but some weren't okay with it." Later, describing his experience visiting Nashville, Mitchell adds, "A lot more people are out about being gay their [sic] than there is here...cross dressing was so much fun. It was funny, so many straight guys came and hit on me that night." <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/04/tennessee-high-school-gay-yearbook-profile-_n_1477761.html?ref=gay-voices&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>
A prominent Russian gay rights activist was convicted on Friday of spreading "gay propaganda" among minors in the first such ruling in Russia's modern history. Nikolai Alexeyev told the Associated Press that a city court in St. Petersburg fined him 5,000 rubles ($170) for breaching the law, which was controversially introduced by lawmakers in Russia's second-largest city in February. He pledged to appeal the decision. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/04/nikolai-alexeyev-russian-gay-rights-activist-propaganda_n_1477867.html?ref=gay-voices&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>
Friends, family members and LGBT advocates are mourning the death of a California transgender woman who was gunned down in Oakland over the weekend. <a href="http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/local/east_bay&id=8641958" target="_hplink">As ABC7 is reporting</a>, Brandy Martell was approached by one or two men while sitting behind the wheel of her car early Sunday. Though a witness told the news station the 37-year-old Martell's conversation seemed cordial, one of the men eventually became angry and fired into the car where she was sitting. Several witnesses say they believe the shooting was, in fact, a hate crime. <a href="http://oaklandoccupypatriarchy.wordpress.com/2012/04/30/tonight-emergency-demo-for-murdered-trans-woman/" target="_hplink">According to Oakland Occupy Patriarchy</a>, a branch of Occupy Oakland, Martell -- who worked as an outreach worker at the Tri-City Health Center in Fremont, which serves the transgender and transsexual community -- was killed by a man who had "become enraged and shot her when he realized she was trans." <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/02/brandy-martell-california-transgender-woman-shooting_n_1471209.html?ref=gay-voices&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>
The Rev. Billy Graham urged North Carolina voters Wednesday to support an amendment to the state constitution banning gay marriage, a move that an observer said was highly unusual but another said was in keeping with the minister's moral beliefs. "Watching the moral decline of our country causes me great concern," said Graham, 93, who lives near Asheville. "I believe the home and marriage is the foundation of our society and must be protected." His complete statement about Amendment One will be part of full-page ads slated to appear in 14 North Carolina newspapers throughout the weekend. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/02/billy-graham-backs-nc-ant_n_1472485.html?ref=gay-voices&ir=Gay+Voices&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>
Yesterday Mayor Bloomberg released a budget that guts a wide array of services to the disadvantaged youths of New York City. But most stunning is his proposal to eliminate 160 of the city's 250 youth shelter beds. How can he possibly think that an appropriate way to deal with budget challenges is to throw poor children out of their shelter beds and into the streets? I wonder if the mayor understands what it means to put a kid on the street. Does he know that many will be forced to resort to prostituting themselves in order to survive? Does he know that 20 percent of the LGBT kids will become infected with HIV on the streets? Does he know that 60 percent will consider or attempt suicide? He ought to know these things, as his administration released a report in 2010 that documented the horrific risks LGBT youths face on the streets. Read the full blog by Carl Siciliano, Executive Director of the Ali Forney Center, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carl-siciliano/bloomberg-homeless-youth-shelter-beds_b_1478028.html?ref=gay-voices" target="_hplink">here.</a>
The debate over marriage equality continues to heat up in North Carolina, with yet another religious leader speaking out against allowing same-sex couples the right to wed. <a href="http://www.goodasyou.org/good_as_you/2012/05/audio-amendment1-pastor-says-same-sex-marriage-not-far-from-man-beast-marriage.html" target="_hplink">Good As You is reporting</a> that Tim Rabon, pastor at Raleigh's Beacon Baptist Church, condemned states such as Massachusetts, Connecticut and Maryland which have already "re-defined" marriage to include lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) couples. As heard in this recording, Rabon asked his congregation, "What is stopping them from refining marriage from a person and a beast? We're not far from that." <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/04/tim-rabon-north-carolina-pastor-gay-marriage-_n_1478735.html?ref=gay-voices" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>
A Texas-based transgender woman <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2012/05/02/475043/transgender-veteran-bathroom/" target="_hplink">said she was humiliated after being ticketed for using the ladies' room</a> at a Dallas hospital. <a href="http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/05/02/11501842-transgender-woman-ticketed-for-using-ladies-room?lite" target="_hplink">As MSNBC is reporting</a>, Paula Witherspoon was cited for disorderly conduct on April 25, after a Parkland Hospital official received a complant received a complaint from a female patient about a man in the women's restroom. An officer with the hospital's police force wrote the citation for a class-C misdemeanor. Witherspoon, who has been transitioning since 2006 but lives full-time as a woman, called the experience both "humiliating" and "degrading." She went on to note, "I felt like I was being discriminated against...I went to the bathroom, took care of my business, washed my hands and left. I didn't even see anyone." <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/02/paula-witherspoon-transgender-woman-womens-rest-room_n_1471716.html?ref=gay-voices&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>
The wife of a North Carolina state senator reportedly told poll workers during early voting Monday that an amendment sponsored by her husband was intended partially to protect the Caucasian race. Jodie Brunstetter is the wife of state Sen. Peter Brunstetter (R), a supporter of Amendment 1, <a href="http://www.ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/North_Carolina_Same-Sex_Marriage,_Amendment_1_(May_2012)" target="_hplink">which would change North Carolina's Constitution</a> to permit only heterosexual marriage. According to <a href="http://yesweeklyblog.blogspot.com/2012/05/racialized-remark-about-marriage.html" target="_hplink">the alternative <i>Yes! Weekly</i></a>, writer and campaigner Chad Nance spoke to a pollworker who told him that Jodie Brunstetter said, "The reason my husband wrote Amendment 1 was because the Caucasian race is diminishing and we need to uh, reproduce." Nance has volunteered for a group working to defeat the marriage amendment and was until recently the campaign manager for a Democratic candidate for Congress. Nance resigned from the campaign to speak about Jodie Brunstetter's alleged remarks, according to <i>Yes! Weekly</i>. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/02/north-carolina-gay-marriage-amendment-1_n_1470956.html?ref=gay-voices&ir=Gay+Voices&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>
CORRECTION:This article has been updated to indicate that Harris is from the Berean Baptist Church in Fayetteville. He is not affiliated with Baity's church in Winston-Salem. The spelling of the church has also been amended.