CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Just months before the Democratic National Convention (DNC) was set to arrive in Charlotte, North Carolina passed an amendment banning same-sex marriage within the state. Not long after, a New York-based group called“Gay Marriage USA” launched a petition asking that the DNC be moved out of North Carolina.
“On May 8th, the people of North Carolina voted in support of Amendment One, a constitutional amendment that discriminates against Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) people, couples and their families,” the petition reads. “In protest, the Democratic National Convention Committee should move its convention to a state that upholds values of equality and liberty and which treats all citizens equally.”
The petition titled “Democratic Party: MOVE the 2012 National Convention OUT of North Carolina!”has already well more than 32 thousand signatures from citizens around the states, just short of one-third of its 100,000 signature goal. President Obama has also gone on record saying that he isdisappointed in the state’s decision to add an anti-gay clause to the state constitution.
But that has not stopped the LGBT Center of Charlotte from scheduling new DNC-related events and activities to increase public understanding of the LGBT community in Charlotte. A community development project team was formed in January to identify and address community needs.
“Take the Lead” is the first of several initiatives from the group. Sixty were in attendance at the first official event at Petra’s Piano Bar where concerned Charlotte residents met to discuss the role of the initiative at the DNC.
I spoke to R. Craig Snider, a volunteer at the LGBT Center who has been working on the community development project team about the group’s plans for the convention.
“We are currently planning the next event,” Snider said. “However, the overall theme is the same. We are looking to highlight community leaders who can share their leadership experiences well as inspire the next generation of leaders.”
For about two months, a group of North Carolina residents has worked to develop an event that will welcome these guests to Charlotte and showcase the Charlotte LGBT community. The welcome event will be on September 2, according to Snider. The location has not been decided, but it is expected to take place near uptown.
“As the Queen City continues to grow and as the nation’s and world’s eyes turn our way in September, now is the perfect opportunity for LGBT Charlotteans to step up and take the lead,” said Cate Eble, LGBT Board Member and organizer for the LGBT Center’s “Take The Lead” initiative.
“We seek to build a stronger, more diverse and more united community. We invite LGBT and ally Charlotteans to join us.”
This article was originally published on Yahoo! News through the Yahoo Contributor Network which was shut down in July 2014. For more content by this author that was originally published on Yahoo! News, click here.