Even Republicans are giving up gay-bashing. But, as always, and to paraphrase Rob Christensen, paradox rules North Carolina politics.
In the last 10 years, North Carolina went from a Republican Senator, Jesse Helms, who bashed “queers” and “the homosexual lobby” to a Republican Senator, Richard Burr, who surprised people by voting to abolish Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
But then Republican Mecklenburg County Commissioner Bill James howled in an email to his board colleagues that gays are “sexual predators.”
Burr’s vote is the truer sign of where society is headed. To the extent that Republicans remain reflexively anti-gay – and try to ban gay marriage – they’re out of touch with society at large. And that attitude is an anchor on their growth.
The gap between Helms and Burr shows how much North Carolina has changed. There are two explanations: the 1.5 million new people who showed up here in the last decade and society’s growing awareness and acceptance of gays.
Burr, like so many of us, probably has come to know a number of gay people – and found that they aren’t perverts or predators.
His explanation was refreshing and revealing. According to the National Review, which struggled to understand, Burr told reporters:
“This is a policy that is generationally right. A majority of Americans have grown up at a time [when] they don’t think exclusion is the right thing for the United States to do. It’s not the accepted practice anywhere else in our society, and it only makes sense.”
Give him credit: Senator Burr did the right thing.