cross-posted at dKos
We expected area Repubs to be up in arms over Richard Burr's vote in favor of repealing "don't ask, don't tell." But even by this state's standards, a county commissioner here in Mecklenburg County has gone several miles over the top.
Earlier this week, Democratic commission chairwoman Jennifer Roberts asked her colleagues if they wanted to sign a letter thanking Burr, Kay Hagan, Larry Kissell and Mel Watt for voting to repeal the policy. When Bill James, a Repub who represents the southeastern part of the county, found out about it, James hit the roof.
In an e-mailed response Monday to Roberts, James wrote, "Homosexuals are sexual predators." He also sent around a copy of a 1988 article about child molesters from the Archives of Sexual Behavior, and he highlighted one out-of-context sentence: "Eighty-six percent of offenders against males described themselves as homosexual or bisexual."
Staggering bigotry, even by North Carolina standards. And it's something that absolutely cannot stand.
It isn't the first time that James has stuck his foot in his mouth about gays. In its writeup about James' latest screed, QNotes brought up what may have been an even worse slur than this.
He often uses derogatory language or slurs to describe LGBT people in debates or communication with fellow public officials and constituents. During debate last December on domestic partner benefits for county employees, James leaned over to his Democratic colleague, Vilma Leake, and called her son a “homo.” Leake’s son died from AIDS in the 1990s.
And back in 2005, James sent an email (h/t to Pam's House Blend) to his fellow commissioners suggesting that one favorite pastime of gays was "buying gerbils and hamsters from the pet store and cramming them up their rears in an activity called feltching". I'm not kidding.
Granted, Roberts' initial idea of sending a letter from the county commission may have been questionable, especially given how closely divided the board is (Dems have a 5-4 majority). But James' comments are beyond inexcusable. Especially in light of his past history, and the fact that the three other Repubs on the board were able to express their objections without resorting to hateful, uninformed garbage.
Change.org has started a petition calling for James' colleagues to censure him. Additionally, tell him what you think--but try to be more civil than James was. His email is Wjames at carolina dot rr dot com.