Bill James is a Commissioner of Mecklenberg County in North Carolina. A year ago, during a debate about giving benefits to the partners of county workers, he muttered an anti-gay slur towards a fellow commissioner, whose son died of AIDS in the 1990s.
It’s always terrible to see an elected official using his or her office to spread hateful and hurtful rhetoric about LGBT people. We’ve seen it from Oklahoma's Sally Kern for years. We saw it from Arkansas' Clint McCance just a few months ago. Now Bill James is at it again.
This week, County Commissioner Chair Jennifer Roberts requested that the board send a letter thanking some members of the Charlotte-area congressional delegation for their “yes” votes on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal. James then fired off an e-mail in response, in which he repeated some of the worst anti-gay lies and rhetoric being spread by opponents of LGBT rights. This behavior has rightfully prompted a swift and powerful reaction from the LGBT community and supporters.
"Both Senators from North Carolina voted to strengthen our national security last week when they voted to repeal the military's ban on openly gay and lesbian service members," said GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios. "Commissioner James' remarks show the true character of anti-gay activists, willing to defame even those brave gay and lesbian people in uniform who are serving their country. This type of hateful language does nothing more than fuel a climate of intolerance that puts gay and transgender Americans and our families in harm's way."
It’s inexcusable to call your colleague’s deceased son an anti-gay slur. It’s even more inexcusable to willfully spread misinformation about the lives of all LGBT people and claim that open military service will do anything but strengthen our national security by allowing all of the best and brightest to serve, regardless of who they are.
EDIT: I hadn't combed through the blogsophere as thoroughly as I should have before posting this yesterday, or I'd have noted the stellar work done by Pam Spaulding at Pam's House Blend on this topic - which includes some more lowlights from James's career. Be sure to check out the bottom of that post for "The Best of Bill James."