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Sep 9, 2013

Equality NC Reflects on the Legacy of LGBT Advocate Sen. Ellie Kinnaird

Ellie Kinnaird

Ellie Kinnaird

Raleigh, N.C. - Following yesterday's nomination of Rep. Valerie Foushee, D-Durham, to fill the N.C. Senate seat that Ellie Kinnaird vacated last month, Equality NC today reflected on the legacy of Sen. Kinnaird, a long-time advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender North Carolinians.

"In her more than 15 years as a state senator, Ellie Kinnaird represented what it truly means to be a legislative champion for all citizens - including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender North Carolinians," said Chris Sgro, Equality NC's executive director. "In working to protect our state's vulnerable LGBT youth from bullying and mistreatment in schools, as well as strongly opposing rewrites to our constitution targeting gay and lesbian North Carolinians, Sen. Kinnaird's legacy is one of promoting fairness, justice and equality."

Rep. Valerie Foushee

Among her work for the LGBT community, Sen. Kinnaird co-sponsored the 2009 School Violence Prevention Act, historic anti-bullying legislation protecting gay and transgender students, as well as the Healthy Youth Act, a 2009 state law that updated North Carolina’s sexuality education to align more closely with public health best practices, including those proven effective in preventing the transmission of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. Kinnaird was also a vocal opponent of Amendment One, the 2011 constitutional rewrite barring relationship recognitions for same-gender couples in North Carolina.

Last night, an Orange County Democratic Party committee voted unanimously to appoint Foushee to Ellie Kinnaird's open seat. Foushee would represent Orange and Chatham counties for the remainder of Kinnaird’s term, which ends December 2014. Gov. Pat McCrory is now tasked with formally appointing Foushee to the seat. He has five days to appoint Foushee, and, if he does not take action, she will be automatically appointed.

"We are hopeful that, with her appointment to the N.C. Senate, Rep. Valerie Foushee will follow in Eliie Kinnaird's pro-equality footsteps and, in her new role, represent all citizens in Orange and Chatham counties, including the many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens who call these counties home."

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