GLAAD today announced the addition of North Carolina based anti-gay activists Ron Baity, Patrick Wooden, Mark Creech and Tami Fitzgerald to its Commentator Accountability Project (CAP). The project aims to educate the media about the extreme rhetoric of many of those who are often interviewed or quoted in opposition to LGBT people and the issues that affect their lives.
North Carolina residents will vote Tuesday on Amendment One, a proposal that would alter the state’s constitution to only recognize married straight couples, would ban civil unions and would eliminate health care, prescription drug coverage and other benefits for the partners of public employees and their children in cities that currently have domestic partnership registries.
Many anti-LGBT voices have spoken out in favor of the proposed amendment, and leading the charge have been the activists GLAAD added to CAP today.
Ron Baity’s profile can be viewed here: http://www.glaad.org/cap/ron-baity
Patrick Wooden’s profile can be viewed here: http://www.glaad.org/cap/patrick-wooden
Mark Creech’s profile can be found here: http://www.glaad.org/cap/mark-creech
Tami Fitzgerald’s profile can be found here: http://www.glaad.org/cap/tami-fitzgerald
These activists have worked to spread misinformation about the amendment in a state where, as Public Policy Polling says, “only 40% of voters actually know that the amendment bans both gay marriage and civil unions.” PPP reports that 46% of residents who knew the vast implications of the amendment said they would vote against it, while only 38% said they would continue to support it.
“Hate is not an expert opinion,” said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. “In most cases, news outlets invite reputable experts to speak on the subject at hand, but when talking about LGBT issues, open hostility and anti-LGBT bias seems to be all the credibility required. North Carolina press have a responsibility to highlight the impact Amendment One has on gay and straight residents, not in serving as a platform for blatant and violent homophobia.”
Advocate and writer Pam Spaulding, who writes at Pam’s House Blend from Durham, North Carolina, has also spoken out against the newest additions to GLAAD CAP. Pam wrote, "Vote for Marriage NC and its surrogates have declared war on gay and lesbian couples, so blinded by their homophobia that they don't mind damaging the lives unmarried heterosexual couples, children whose health insurance will be gone if domestic partnerships on the books in several municipalities here in NC are eliminated by Amendment One. What's particularly egregious is that Vote for Marriage NC's Tami Fitzgerald and partner in bigotry, Rev. Patrick Wooden, continue to lie about these collateral harms, even saying that civil unions are not banned if Amendment One passes. It's gratifying to see that GLAAD CAP is focusing its attention on commentators here who have not received the scrutiny and fact-checking that they deserve when they are quoted in the media about civil rights of LGBT North Carolinians."
GLAAD will continue its work on CAP in coming months by releasing profiles for other anti-LGBT activists spreading misinformation in other states.