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Chely Wright: North Carolina vote a "sucker punch" to LGBT community

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Country music artist and LGBT activist Chely Wright is lending her voice and her support to the marriage equality activists who are staging rallies in North Carolina this week, in response to a stunning move by the state legislature to pass a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage -- and civil unions -- across the state.

The measure was passed by the NC House on Monday, September 12, 2011 and by the Senate on Tuesday, September 13.

North Carolina is currently the only southern state without a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

Wright, who married her partner Lauren Blitzer just last month in Connecticut, was outraged by the news and flew to Raleigh, the state's capital, to show her support in the wake of the polarizing votes.

Thomas Roberts of MSNBC interviewed Wright upon her return to New York on Wednesday. When asked by Roberts why she is getting involved, Wright said, "to whom much is given, much is required."

Wright came out very publicly in May of 2010 and has been a staunch advocate for LGBT rights ever since.

"I wanted to help kids, youth, I work with the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Alliance, GLSEN, to eradicate bullying in public schools. I have to say, what we are seeing in North Carolina is bullying of the highest order by legislators and I can't sit back and watch it happen."

Now that the amendment has passed both the House and the Senate, it will be placed on the primary ballot in May 12, 2012 and left up to the voters to decide.

Wright called same-sex marriage and civil unions for same-sex couples a "hot button issue" being manipulated by religious conservatives.

"It is my opinion that this is a cynical, unnecessary political move to get out the conservative vote," Wright said.

"It's an unfair act being leveled against a lot of North Carolinians who are doing their best to just live their lives. I might add that the laws that exist in North Carolina right now prohibit same-sex marriage, so this is essentially putting a dead bolt lock on an already locked door.

"This is a sucker punch to the LGBT community and it's disgusting," she said.

Just yesterday, September 14, 2011, also in North Carolina, an out lesbian won the primary for the Charlotte city council. Charlotte is the largest city in the state of North Carolina.

See Chely's complete interview with Thomas Roberts: