The North Carolina General Assembly has confirmed attorney Buddy Collins to the State Board of Education, despite opposition by a gay rights group over Collins' long history of opposing anti-bullying measures aimed at protecting LGBT students.
The state House and Senate met for a rare joint session on Wednesday, approving Collins and several other nominees put forward by North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R). The GOP-controlled legislature rejected an amendment by Democrats to remove Collins from the list of confirmed nominees.
Collins is an attorney and a longtime member of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School Board of Education. He has clashed with the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) over the years surrounding the group's efforts to stop bullying on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
"Buddy Collins has always been a retrograde voice, inimical to the interests of youth, on the school board," GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard told The Huffington Post last week. "He has directly tried to block efforts to fully understand [students'] experiences in the service of making things better in schools in his district."
While on the school board, Collins resisted GLSEN's efforts to make "sexual orientation" a protected category in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school system's nondiscrimination policy and voted against allowing the school system to amend an annual parent-student survey to include new questions about bullying, racism, homophobia, sexism and discrimination against handicapped students.
In 2002, Collins published a column advocating against the "public endorsement of a homosexual union and homosexual sexual practices."
Equality NC, a pro-LGBT group, had called on McCrory to withdraw Collins' nomination.
"Gov. McCrory should reconsider his appointment of Buddy Collins to the State Board of Education. Surely, there are others Gov. McCrory could appoint that would protect the rights of all North Carolina students,” said Stuart Campbell, executive director of Equality NC, in a statement. "All students, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity, deserve a high quality education, in a safe environment and free of harassment of any kind."