Bill James, a North Carolina city commissioner, was not among those who voted on Tuesday to grant domestic partnership benefits to Mecklenburg County workers. He was, however, the guy who leaned over in his chair during the hearing to whisper to Commissioner Vilma Leake, who just gave a touching speech about her son who died of AIDS, to ask her, “Your son was a homo, really?.” To which she appropriately responded: “I’m going to hit you, don’t talk about my son that way.” And it was all. caught. on. tape!
Asked for comment by a local news station, James responded in part: “In justifying her position last night in public she used her son’s ‘lifestyle’ and his death from HIV-AIDS to justify voting for benefits to allow individuals to use tax dollars to engage in the same 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. In doing so, it is legitimate to ask her what ‘lifestyle’ and in particular whether her son was a homosexual. Her response was to threaten me with physical violence (typical for her). Of course, this isn’t the first time she has threatened elected officials. On the School Board she had a long and checkered history threatening to harm those she disagrees with.”