RALEIGH, N.C. — The North Carolina General Assembly on Wednesday confirmed six appointments to the state Board of Education, despite an objection raised by Democrats who said one nominee had offended gays with a vote on a bullying measure.
Rep. Paul Luebke (D-Durham), tried to pull Kernersville attorney A.L. “Buddy” Collins from consideration, but his effort was squashed by a motion in the GOP-dominated House.
Collins has served on the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education for more than 15 years. Luebke said his opposition came because of Collins’ 2002 vote against the inclusion of language in an anti-harassment policy specifically outlawing bullying based on sexual orientation.
“His feelings as expressed toward gay and lesbian citizens of our state are offensive to me, I think, to many people in this chamber, and to many people in this state,” Luebke said.
Collins has said the policy already prohibited bullying against any student, and his personal views against homosexual lifestyles didn’t influence his vote.
Rep. Tim Moore (R-Cleveland), and House Rules Committee chairman, opposed Luebke’s amendment, noting appointments from a governor typically pass without partisan discord.
The House confirmed the appointments by a vote of 80-33 after Moore used a parliamentary maneuver to quash Luebke’s amendment without voting on its content. The Senate approved the appointments 42-5.
According to Equality North Carolina, a statewide LGBT advocacy group, Collins has a history of antagonizing LGBT rights advocates in Forsyth County.
Collins has, on numerous occasions, clashed with the Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) of Winston-Salem over LGBT-supportive issues, and once said of the group, “Their opinions are of no value to me.”
In an editorial in the Winston Salem-Journal in 2002, Collins described same-sex unions as an effect of the “disintegration of the American family.”