WASHINGTON -- When North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) first nominated attorney Buddy Collins to the state school board in March, he faced significant criticism from LGBT groups because of Collins' long history of opposing anti-bullying measures aimed at protecting LGBT students. Nevertheless, the GOP-controlled North Carolina General Assembly confirmed Collins.
And in a further disregard of the LGBT community's concerns, McCrory on Wednesday elevated Collins again, appointing him to a two-year term on the governor's Task Force on Safer Schools.
"School safety is a top priority of my administration," said McCrory. "One of my first actions after taking office was tasking the Department of Public Safety with developing a comprehensive plan to make our schools safer for students, parents, teachers and administrators. I am pleased to announce a very diverse, talented and functional task force that will provide guidance and sound advice that is needed to improve school safety in North Carolina."
Collins is an attorney and was a longtime member of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School Board of Education.
While on the local school board, Collins resisted the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network's efforts to make "sexual orientation" a protected category in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school system's nondiscrimination policy, and voted against allowing the school system to amend an annual parent-student survey to include new questions about bullying, racism, homophobia, sexism and discrimination against handicapped students.
In 2002, he published a column in the Winston-Salem Journal advocating against the "public endorsement of a homosexual union and homosexual sexual practices."
On Wednesday, the LGBT community in North Carolina seemed incredulous at the news of Collins' new appointment. GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard tweeted that it was a "cruel joke."
"We call on Gov. McCrory to reconsider his incredibly disappointing and controversial appointment of Buddy Collins to a two-year term on the state Task Force on Safer Schools," said Equality NC executive director Chris Sgro. "Given his derogatory views of the LGBT families and his willingness to put some of our states most vulnerable children at risk of bullying -- it defies logic that Gov. McCrory would appoint Mr. Collins to a position so directly tied to protecting the rights and safety of all North Carolina students."
McCrory's office did not return a request for comment.
(HT: LGBT Youth Allies)