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North Carolina Republicans blast Sen. Richard Burr for his 'don't ask, don't tell' vote

By April Bethea, The Charlotte Observer

Some county commissioners are upset with fellow Republican and U.S. Sen. Richard Burr's vote to repeal a Pentagon ban on gays serving openly in the military.

The harshest remarks came from commissioner Bill James, who said he suspects Burr will pay a price for his vote. He said he won't support the senator in future elections.

"I think there are a lot of things that people of all political stripes tolerate from their politicians," James said. "But endorsing immorality and allowing military recruits to be preyed on by homosexuals is not one that I will tolerate."

James' comments referring to homosexuals as "sexual predators" drew quick criticism this week. Some commissioners have received e-mails asking them to censure James, and some say they may speak against James at next week's meeting.

"When are we going to stand up and say that this type of hate speech is not acceptable?" said Richard Thomas, chair of the Mecklenburg Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgender Political Action Committee.

Republicans Karen Bentley and Jim Pendergraph also say they disagree with the repeal, which passed the Congress on Dec. 18. Bentley said she was disappointed in Burr, but acknowledged she didn't know the full rationale behind Burr's vote. Pendergraph did not criticize Burr directly, but said he opposes the repeal.

To read the complete article, visit www.charlotteobserver.com.

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