Friday, April 13, 2012

Duke's Jim Rogers tees off on marriage amendment

Updated, 12:30 p.m. with his full remarks:

Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers was the keynote speaker at a business breakfast this morning. He opened it up for questions and I asked him for his take on the marriage amendment on the May 8 ballot.

Rogers hesitated, but then couldn't stop himself from telling the crowd of 300 or so how he felt.

If North Carolinians put the gay marriage ban into the state constitution, Rogers said, "You're sending a message to the world about what kind of community this is; that we're not inclusive."

Rogers emphasized that he was sharing his personal view and was not speaking on behalf of Duke Energy. He said "I believe we're all children of God," and that it's wrong to pass measures that discriminate against individuals.

"If this amendment passes, we're going to look back 20 years from now, or 10 years from now, and we're going to think about that amendment the same way we think about the Jim Crow laws" that discriminated against African-Americans. North Carolina is competing with the world for business, he said, and "we have to be inclusive and open."

Rogers' response came at Carmel Country Club, at a meeting of the Hood Hargett Breakfast Club, a business networking group. It was notable not only because of Rogers' prominence but because generally business leaders have been noticeably quiet about the amendment. The Charlotte Chamber has not taken a stand either way, for instance. Nor has the N.C. Chamber of Commerce.

It's heartening that a business leader of Rogers' stature sees the discriminatory intent of the amendment so clearly and is willing to say so in public. Now, will others in the business community join him?

Here's Rogers' full answer to my question:

"As a corporate CEO, I don't comment on social issues. But I'm going to comment on this personally.
"Our state today is known as a state that's inclusive. And any bill that we pass that basically says that we're not inclusive, we don't treat people fairly ... We live in an era now where 50 percent of the people who get married get divorced. We live in an era with (these) statistics: There are so many single households today - more than ever before in the history of our country.
"And I believe that when you pass an amendment like that, you're sending a message to the world about what kind of community this is: We're not inclusive, we don't have equal standards for all people with different points of view. You don't have to believe in them, but you have to be open to them.
"I'm old-fashioned: I believe we're all the children of God and we shouldn't have special rules for some and not for others. We have to recognize differences in people and celebrate those differences. That's just something I believe.
"And I'll go a step further - and this is going to be somewhat controversial when I say this. If this amendment passes, we're going to look back 20 years from now, or 10 years from now, and we're going to think about that amendment the same way we think about the Jim Crow laws that were passed in this state many, many years ago.
"This is the 21st century. We're competing with people around the world. We've got to be inclusive and open."

-- Taylor Batten


Clay said...

Hooray for Jim Rogers!


Jackiez said...

I agree 100% with Jim. Not only that, I don't know what this has to do with running government. If 2 gay guys get married or 2 lesbians get married it is not going to change my life one bit. People must not have enough to do to have to worry about homosexuals getting married or not getting married - get a life - people!

Wiley Coyote said...

If North Carolinians put the gay marriage ban into the state constitution, Rogers said, "You're sending a message to the world that we're not inclusive."

AT the same time you exclude polygamists...

Way to go. Discriminate against one group but support another.

Anonymous said...

It's ALREADY illegal for gay couples to get married in NC. All this amendment does is to get rid of civil unions and other contractual agreements that would allow gay couples to have at least some of the perks of married people - like splitting estates or allowing a partner access to their partner in the hospital. It's a stupid idea, and I hope it goes down.

Dolley said...

Thank you, Mr. Rogers. Gay marriage (and polygamy, Wylie) is already illegal in NC. This mean spirited ammendment is about going the extra mile to further marginalize and hurt people for having the audacity to have been created in a way that is different than the majority. Sound familiar? It is not enough to oppose this Ammendment in principle - all good people must go to the polls May 8th and VOTE NO on Ammendment One.

P.M. Davis said...

Marriage in and of itself is discriminatory. It has boundaries and rules just like Duke Engergy has boundaries and rules for the behavior of its employees. One cannot legally marry at any age that is age discrimination; one cannot marry an animal that is sexual perference discrimination. Seconly the analogy that this is like Jim Crow is a smokescreen. Blacks were discriminated against because of skin color not behavior.

Skippy said...

How died and left you king? You are the same genius that asked for a 17% increase in our of our energy bills because you just like our failing President have bought into the global scam which of course also means that you were given and accepted $250,000,000 in green tax credits. Just stick to what you do best and that is ripping us off.

asdfawer said...

Why is this man's opinion any more notable or valid as anyone else's?

And Jachiez, your infantile argument that "if 2 gays married it's not going to change my life one bit" is the same (valid) argument that the gay-agenda can stick it and continue to accept the reality that same sexes do not have the social option of "marriage."

With more sarcasm, I ask, what difference does it make to me (in my own selfish world) if there are valid laws on teh books preventing pedophilia, or polygamy? Or bigamy? Or adultery? Or someone doing drugs?

Right, break the law or do anything amoral or socially taboo as long as it SUITS YOUR ENDS or MEANS...

tomdon01 said...

As a former Duke employee (who's father was a Duke employee for almost 40 years!), I thnk that it is time to sell my Duke stock!

Bob Marley said...

Mr. Rogers is free to offer his opinion, but it sounds a bit conflicting, "I am a child of God..." but the Bible is clear about homosexuality (feel free to read about it..). He also discounts the past (look back at least 50 years...), where this NC law has been in place and hasn't hurt Duke Energy (Duke Power) or Charlotte 1 bit. There is value in the people of NC who have a history of a foundation of marriage based on NC law, no matter how it looks in the 21st century.

Archiguy said...

Once again it is necessary to point out that there is no "slippery slope" toward polygamy or any other deviant practice religious conservatives can dream up in their fevered minds if we allow gay people equal marriage rights. None whatsoever. So one more time for the slow kids in the class:

Polygamy is illegal because it subjugates and abuses women and children. There is nobody advocating for it, nobody. The handful of people that practice it out west are leftover Mormon fundamentalists who typically try to keep their heads down and avoid any publicity at all. They are generally ignored by law enforcement unless specific accusations of abuse surface, which happens from time to time. Their biggest "leader" is in jail for pedophilia. It is a non-issue.

This is an intellectually bankrupt argument that exists simply to divert attention from the real issue. Approximately 3% of any human population is born gay, it is NOT a choice for those people, and they deserve the same rights to marriage as anyone else.

We cannot write discrimination into a state or national constitution based solely on a Biblical or religious reference, and the majority does not get to vote on rights for a minority. This amendment is the real abomination, and the people that support it ought to be ashamed of themselves. They're certainly not Christians.

jason6311 said...

Even though I disagree with you, thank you "Bob Marley" for at least being civil in your position, unlike many of the angry diatribes of other pro-amendment commenters.

My problems are that the proposed amendment is poorly conceived, badly written, unnecessary, and has been disingenuously snuck onto a primary ballot by supporters who try to mock it up as "defending traditional marriage" instead of specifically saying it targets gay marriage (and happens to affect every other domestic partnership along the way). Jim Rogers is right to be concerned about the unintended consequences of this God-awful amendment, and has every right as both a citizen and Christian to point this out. Hopefully there will come a day when we outgrow such laws that pander to people's ignorance and bigotry.

Wiley Coyote said...

Polygamy is illegal because it subjugates and abuses women and children.

Remove the word polygamy, insert homosexual and you just confirmed yourself as a bigot.

One person in jail for pedophilia who is a polygamist?

No homosexual has ever been charged with being a pedophile?

bozz man said...

It doesn't matter what or how long you Lib whine and cry, come May 8
Amendment 1 will pass!

Archiguy said...

Wiley - I'm sorry but if you are unaware of how polygamy abuses women and children that's not my problem, it's yours.

In polygamist communities, many of the young boys are cast out and dumped on the streets of a nearby city - often Salt Lake City - at the age of 13 or so, forced to fend for themselves as best they can. That way, they won't pose any competition to the older men in the community for the teenage girls born there. Thus, the old men's harems grow and their reward in Heaven's will be that much richer. This is only one reason why polygamy will always be illegal. Those reasons have nothing to do with civil marriage.

If you think I'm a bigot because that behavior sickens me, then I guess I'm guilty as charged. But if you equate that behavior with the average gay person, then I think what it says about you is pretty clear.

Anonymous said...

I am conflicted about whether the amendment should pass or not.

My views on the subject are extremely conservative / fundamentalist - I believe homosexuality to be wrong, and I do not believe anyone is born gay (and thus, I think that my company CEO is out of his mind to compare the amendment to Jim Crow). However, I think this is a morality question rather than a legal one. At one time, I reported to a manager who is gay. It was never an issue and we had an excellent working relationship, and I still consider her a friend. My wife and I each have a cousin who is gay. We both long ago resolved that they were free to make their own choices. We did not need to agree or attempt to force our beliefs on them.

So, the moral premise behind the amendment I agree with, but I'm leaning toward voting against it because I don't think legislating one version of morality is a good thing.

CU TLGTN said...

Jim Rogers needs to be worried about the crappy customer service out of his call center before worrying about social issues.

femery said...

I've seen some arguments on here that are just silly and old, to be quite honest. An animal cannot consent to marriage or sex. A child cannot consent to marriage or sex. Two adults...even three or four....can consent to marriage or sex. I don't care of Gays marry or people want to be like "Sister Wives" and practice polygamy. I'm straight and married to one person, but I think we should spend more time enriching our own lives as opposed to telling others what to do with theirs. As long as you're not inflicting physical harm on me or my family or other members of the community, then I don't see why it even matters who gets married. I'm more concerned with, you know, people getting raped and shot and going hungry. Perhaps our resources would be better served there.

Jackiez said...

AMEN to femery!

DistrictSix said...

He is saying what he is saying so Duke Energy can get some competent employees.

Or that is what they are selling us by saying Gay People will avoid working in NC and our companies.

REX said...

well I for one will be crossing NC OFF my list of places to go too/tour, I dont spend my money in places that are Bigoted & Discriminate...NC will just be another state in this hateful country to avoid IF this passes.

DistrictSix said...

@Rex, mark off Europe and the Middle East. Russia and the Slavic Countries too.

beky said...

@ Wiley: No homosexual has ever been charged with being a pedophile?

Ninety percent of child abuse is committed by heterosexual men. In one study of 269 cases of child sexual abuse, only two offenders were gay or lesbian. Of the cases studied involving molestation of a boy by a man, 74 percent of the men were or had been in a heterosexual relationship with the boy's mother or another female relative. The study concluded that "a child's risk of being molested by his or her relative's heterosexual partner is over 100 times greater than by someone who might be identifiable as being homosexual, lesbian, or bisexual."

Carole Jenny, et al., Are Children at Risk for Sexual Abuse by Homosexuals?, Pediatrics, Vol. 94, No. 1 (1994);

DistrictSix said...


Bell, A. & Weinberg, M. HOMOSEXUALITIES. NY Simon & Schuster, 1978

Shows 25 percent of Gays do what is being inferred. Where did you get your facts?

beky said...

@ DistrictSix
I've referenced my facts below my post. Considering the dates of your statistics (1978) vs. the dates of the referenced article (1994) and the fact that when your article was written, homosexuality was still considered a mental illness, I am more likely to believe the current findings.

Additionally, studies written in the 70's and today label pedophiles who prey on children who are the same gender as they as homosexuals, when they should be labeled as pedophiles.

Convicted pedophiles generally self identify as heterosexual, i.e. they have had or are currently in an opposite sex relationship with an adult or as strictly a pedophile, i.e. they are unable or uninterested in having a sexual relationship with another adult and prefer children. Rarely do pedophiles express interest in adults of the same sex - homosexuality. Although it does occur, it occurs at a rate 100 times less than among those who identify as heterosexual. (same article)