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James Forrester, Sponsor of N.C. Anti-Gay Marriage Amendment, Under Heavy Scrutiny

10/05/2011 06:55 pm ET | Updated Feb 02, 2016

In May 2012, North Carolina will vote on an amendment barring gay marriage in the state. But as the discussions and debates about this amendment are taking place, its lead sponsor has come under heavy fire for statements he made and for allegedly falsifying his credentials.

Gaston County state senator James Forrester had been trying for eight years to push a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage, civil unions and domestic partner benefits for same-sex couples. It was finally approved by the legislature on Sept. 13.

On Tuesday, Sept. 27, Forrester was interviewed by gay author and activist Michelangelo Signorile on the importance of the amendment. Needless to say, the interview did not go well.

In early September, Forrester made the claim that gay men have shorter lifespans than heterosexuals. Signorile challenged him on this (starting at 6:11 in the video below), and when push came to shove, Forrester could not verify his claim.

Forrester finally hung up on Signorile after a terse exchange regarding the need for the amendment:

Then on Thursday, Sept. 29, another story broke that Forrester may have falsified his credentials. According to QNotes, a North Carolina gay publication:

In an open letter posted at Pam's House Blend ... contributor Scott Rose details efforts he made to reach out to the American College of Preventive Medicine and their response. Forrester has claimed he is a fellow of the medical association. Officials at the group say he has never been a member and never a fellow.

"The quick answer to your questions is that Dr. Forrester is not, and never has been, a member of ACPM (much less a Fellow, which is our highest designation of membership)," writes Michael A. Barry, executive director of the group. "However, this is troubling to us, too, that he's apparently claiming to be a Fellow of ACPM, and we would like to know where Dr. Forrester is making these proclamations so that we can approach him and demand that he cease falsely using ACPM credentials in his campaign or wherever else he's using it. If you can point us to some places where he's using those credentials, we'd be most appreciative."

QNotes also pointed out that Forrester and his wife are persistent advocates of anti-gay legislation in North Carolina, and that his wife is a member of that state's chapter of the Concerned Women for America. Last year, CWA was included on the Southern Poverty Law Center's list of anti-gay hardline groups.

Note: This post has been modified from its original version.