Mecklenburg County, North Carolina Commissioner Bill James is under fire for mocking the AIDS death of a fellow commissioner’s son during a debate on adding same-sex partner benefits.
Toward the end of an emotional, two-hour debate on the topic, James leaned over to commissioner Vilma Leake and asked: “Your son was a homo, really?” Leake responded: “You’re going to make me hurt you. Don’t do that to me. Don’t talk about my son.” Leake had just finished speaking about her personal connection to the debate, including mentioning her son’s 1993 death from AIDS. “To be insensitive to that is completely inappropriate,” Roberts said Wednesday. “I think he does owe her an apology.” But James said he won’t apologize, and said he was only asking Leake to clarify an earlier comment she made about her son’s death and his lifestyle.
James first denied having made the comment, but when faced with news media clips of the exchange, he posted this insulting editorial WSCO-TV’s site.
Vilma is a religious hypocrite. She was married to a Bishop in the AME Zion church. A church that has historically opposed homosexuality. She used her son’s ‘lifestyle’ and his death from HIV-AIDS to justify in public voting for benefits to allow more individuals to use tax dollars to engage in the very behavior that resulted in her son’s death. It is akin to someone whose son is an alcoholic and died from the disease, using his death from drinking as justification to have the taxpayers pay for more booze. Her position was that her ‘faith’ demanded that she do this to support her son and his ‘lifestyle’ which she acknowledges killed him. Since she didn’t define what ‘lifestyle’ she was referring to I asked her.
Asking the question is completely legitimate since she used him as the basis for explaining her public vote. Her response to me was threaten violence. This is also nothing new for Vilma as she did that on the School Board as well. Leake: “Don’t make me hurt you. Don’t do that to me. Don’t talk to me about my son.” Well, with all due respect to Ms. Leake – if she didn’t want to talk about her son then why did she use his death from his ‘lifestyle’ contracting HIV/AIDS as the public justification for spending tax dollars to support the very behavior that killed her son.
Despite James’ assholery, the bill passed 6-3. In 2011, Mecklenburg County will become the seventh in the state to offer same-sex partner benefits to its employees. An online petition calling for the resignation of Bill James is here.