Facebook co-founder and Hickory native urges NC legislators to reject anti-gay-marriage amendment

Saying, “Gay and lesbian North Carolinians work hard, contribute to society, and want to protect their families like everyone else,” the co-founder of Facebook and a native of Hickory has, in an open letter, urged the N.C. General Assembly to reject a same-sex marriage amendment currently under consideration.

Chris Hughes and his fiancé, political activist and philanthropist Sean Eldridge, have pledged to donate $10 for each person who “likes” Equality NC’s page on Facebook – up to $10,000 – between now and Tuesday.

Hughes writes, “In short, this amendment is bad for business, bad for the perception of my home state on the national stage, and a far cry from job-creating legislation that North Carolina lawmakers should be focused on.”

The Equality NC page referencing Hughes’ letter is here.

Hughes’ open letter to the North Carolina General Assembly, dated Sept. 9, 2011, follows:

I’m writing today to express my deep concern and fervent opposition to the proposed anti-gay constitutional amendment, SB106/HB777. As the co-founder of Facebook, I have some experience with the challenges of attracting the kind of driven, dynamic and diverse employees it takes to build a fledgling start-up into a fullfledged economic success story.

Companies like Facebook, Google and Apple are the future of our global economy. But the proposed anti-gay constitutional amendment signals to these and other major employers, as
well as their mobile, educated employees, that North Carolina does not welcome the diverse workforce that any state needs to compete in the international marketplace.

In short, this amendment is bad for business, bad for the perception of my home state on the national stage, and a far cry from job-creating legislation that North Carolina lawmakers should be focused on.

But the negative business impact is far from the only harm of this amendment. Growing up in a conservative atmosphere in Hickory, North Carolina, I felt first-hand the stigma of being different in a Southern state—a feeling that made it clear to me that I was not welcome in North Carolina.

The proposed discriminatory legislation will only perpetuate this stigma for a new generation of creative, talented youth, uninterested in second-class citizenship in a state they call home. Gay and lesbian North Carolinians work hard, contribute to society, and want to protect their families like everyone else. Their families deserve the same respect and the same treatment as
everyone else, and they should not be exposed to the derogatory and harmful anti-gay rhetoric that inevitability accompanies these kinds of campaigns. North Carolina deserves better than

The next Facebook or Apple or Google could be created by another North Carolinian. Be mindful of how you treat them and their families.
— Chris Hughes, co-founder of Facebook and North Carolina native

The letter concludes with a postscript: “Because there could not be a more critical time to support the work of Equality NC, my fiancé, Sean Eldridge, and I have pledged to donate $10 for each person who likes Equality NC’s page on Facebook – up to $10,000 – to support the work of the organization between now and Tuesday. We hope that others will join us and contribute what they can of their time, energy, and resources to help defeat this anti-gay measure.”


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About Jeff Fobes
As a long-time proponent of media for social change, my early activities included coordinating the creation of a small community FM radio station to serve a poor section of St. Louis, Mo. In the 1980s I served as the editor of the "futurist" newsletter of the U.S. Association for the Club of Rome, a professional/academic group with a global focus and a mandate to act locally. During that time, I was impressed by a journalism experiment in Mississippi, in which a newspaper reporter spent a year in a small town covering how global activities impacted local events (e.g., literacy programs in Asia drove up the price of pulpwood; soybean demand in China impacted local soybean prices). Taking a cue from the Mississippi journalism experiment, I offered to help the local Green Party in western North Carolina start its own newspaper, which published under the name Green Line. Eventually the local party turned Green Line over to me, giving Asheville-area readers an independent, locally focused news source that was driven by global concerns. Over the years the monthly grew, until it morphed into the weekly Mountain Xpress in 1994. I've been its publisher since the beginning. Mountain Xpress' mission is to promote grassroots democracy (of any political persuasion) by serving the area's most active, thoughtful readers. Consider Xpress as an experiment to see if such a media operation can promote a healthy, democratic and wise community. In addition to print, today's rapidly evolving Web technosphere offers a grand opportunity to see how an interactive global information network impacts a local community when the network includes a locally focused media outlet whose aim is promote thoughtful citizen activism. Follow me @fobes

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8 thoughts on “Facebook co-founder and Hickory native urges NC legislators to reject anti-gay-marriage amendment

  1. C Abel

    This is the very thing that is tearing our country apart…unless we start standing on the Bible and turn back to God this nation will fall. People need to stand for what is right and stop knuckling under to this gay agenda….What does gay rights have to do with job oportunities…nothing..but the gays want to use every excuse they can find to push their agenda…Yes we need this anti-gay marriage bill to pass…God created Adan and Eve..not Adam and Steve….You might not like hearing this but somebody needs to stand up in Washington for the Bible !!!!!

  2. Jesse Michel

    Anti-gays of today are like the anti-civil-rights activists of yesterday…

  3. bill smith

    [b]somebody needs to stand up in Washington for the Bible[/b]

    Why does the MX print such obviously trolling comments? I it a way to generate more page views?

  4. Paul

    Yes, just look at all of the other successful countries which base their laws on the Bible, such as…………………………………

  5. sharpleycladd

    C Abel has doubtless struggled long and hard to maintain a heterosexual lifestyle, and his tireless efforts should be applauded.

  6. dpewen

    Religion is the main cause for the problems of this country and the world … my god is better than your god stuff. People reading made up stories about how to live your life … use common sense and allow people to live their lives … what harm do they cause you? Think for yourselves … I thought god gave you a free will??

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