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Republican Ted Olson Going to North Carolina to Help Fight Anti-Gay Amendment One

By Karen Ocamb
News Editor
Renowned conservative Republican attorney and marriage equality hero Ted Olson is going to Greensboro, N.C., on April 1 for a rally to help defeat the anti-gay initiative Amendment One. The proposed anti-gay constitutional amendment on the ballot for the May 8 Republican Primary would not only ban marriage rights for same-sex couples but would prohibit recognition of all same-sex unions.

During a brief interview after the West Coast premiere of Dustin Lance Black’s play 8 about the district court trial that found Prop. 8 unconstitutional, Olson noted how “opinions have shifted” considerably since Prop. 8 was passed in California in 2008. He hopes more Republicans will support marriage equality and oppose measures such as Amendment One, which Olson noted, “wipes away the whole thing,” meaning all legal recognition of same-sex relationships.

“I’m going to go down to North Carolina in April. There’s a big rally down there. I’m going to go down and do my bit,” Olson said. “We want to win one. You heard the [Perry v. Schwarzenegger Prop. 8 trial] witness talk about how the outcome [of anti-gay ballot measures] is always against gay and lesbian people. It would be really great if we started changing that. And maybe North Carolina is a chance.”

The site for the rally is significant. On Feb. 1, 1960, four local black college students sat at a Woolworth’s lunch counter at 132 South Elm Street in Greensboro and asked for a cup of coffee. They were refused service at the “whites only” counter and asked to leave. Instead, the Greensboro Four stayed and sparked a non-violent protest movement against racial discrimination. The old Woolworth’s is now the International Civil Rights Center and Museum.

Olson was invited to participate by members of the Faith Against Amendment One coalition, a part of the statewide campaign Protect All North Carolina Families.

The coalition campaign opposing Amendment One hopes Olson’s appearance will move Republicans, considering the expected large turnout for the Republican Primary, and counter the National Organization for Marriage and Religious Right heavyweight Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, which has launched a “Values” bus tour that N.C. resident and blogger Pam Spaulding notes lures kids with candy to get attention for their anti-gay message.

Please click over to LGBT POV for more on the campaign, the push by the Religious Right, how Amendment One harms kids and families and an interview with liberal actor Martin Sheen, who explains how he can be a devout Catholic and support marriage equality.  

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