MeckPAC condemns anti-LGBTQ interference in local elections by hostile and extremist NC Values Coalition

NC Values continues to target marginalized LGBTQ people, including continued scare tactics maliciously painting transgender women as sexual predators

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — MeckPAC, the Mecklenburg LGBTQ Political Action Committee, expressed extreme concern today as a hostile and extremist anti-LGBTQ political group in Raleigh announced their endorsements in local races for Charlotte mayor and Charlotte City Council.

The NC Values Coalition issued endorsements for Kenny Smith for Charlotte mayor and a host of other council races, including at-large candidate Parker Cains and District 3 candidate Daniel Herrera, both of whom have spent time campaigning on their supposed LGBTQ friendliness and willingness to “dialogue.”

“NC Values Coalition is the most stridently hostile, anti-LGBTQ organization this state has ever seen,” said Jamie Hildreth, MeckPAC chair. “Their positions and policies have targeted LGBTQ children and LGBTQ-led families, making lives more difficult for those who are among the most marginalized in our communities. NC Values’ nearly single-minded focus on trans people has created an increasingly dangerous atmosphere of hate in our state.”

NC Values’ endorsements came on October 19, the same day early voting started in Mecklenburg County.

October 19 is also marked nationally as Spirit Day, which began in 2010 as a day to raise awareness of the disproportionate harassment and bullying of LGBTQ youth. More than 85 percent of LGBTQ youth report being bullied or harassed due to their sexual orientation or gender identity and nearly 60 percent say their school is unsafe.

NC Values is the state’s leading anti-LGBTQ advocacy group, with connections to white supremacist leaders and organizations, including Tony Perkins, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. The Southern Poverty Law Center has named the Family Research Council a hate group, due to its extremist claims about LGBTQ people. SPLC has also cited Perkins’ connections to white nationalist David Duke and a Louisiana chapter of a white supremacist organization which once called black people “a retrograde species of humanity.”

NC Values’ executive director, Tami Fitzgerald, once worked as a lobbyist for the NC Family Policy Council, a state affiliate of the Family Research Council.

Various spokespeople for the Family Research Council have said, among other extremist and outrageous claims, that LGBTQ people should be deported from the U.S., that gay men and transgender women are more likely to commit child abuse and that same-gender intimacy should be criminalized.

NC Values was also responsible for the costly and discriminatory HB2, which resulted in the state losing millions of dollars in private investment. Other hostile policies championed by NC Values include the state’s 2012 marriage amendment, which was overturned by federal courts with the U.S. Supreme Court later legalizing marriage equality nationwide.

“It is not surprising that NC Values would endorse Kenny Smith for mayor, given his penchant for using their strategy to stoke anti-LGBTQ fear by maliciously comparing transgender women to sexual predators,” said Hildreth. “Certainly more revealing is the endorsement of candidates like Parker Cains and Daniel Herrera. That they would not only receive an endorsement by NC Values, but also stand arm-in-arm with Tami Fitzgerald reveals their true, hostile intentions toward the LGBTQ community, despite their campaign rhetoric to the contrary.”

Other NC Values endorsements include Tariq Scott Bokhari, Ed Driggs, Pete Givens and John Powell, each of whom declined this year to participate in MeckPAC’s candidate questionnaire or otherwise engage with the city’s LGBTQ community. Like Smith, incumbent Councilmember Driggs voted against LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination protections in Charlotte.

MeckPAC has released its own slate of endorsements for Charlotte mayor and city council, including a wide diversity of candidates who have vowed to ensure our city continues its work to become a more equitable, more accessible and more welcoming place for all people, regardless of race, income, sexual orientation or gender identity.

You can view MeckPAC’s full voter guide online at

# # #

October 19, 2017
Media Contact: