An open letter to Jim Rogers at Duke Energy

Still no answer.


Dear Mr. Rogers.

As you know, there will be a proposed constitutional amendment on the May 8, 2012, ballot in North Carolina. I am writing to find out where Duke Energy stands on this initiative.

Excerpting from the actual bill:

The question to be used in the voting systems and ballots shall be:


Constitutional amendment to provide that marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State.

You will be tempted, no doubt, to avoid taking a stand, but you should know that silence on this issue will be interpreted as support for discrimination. Which brings me to two specific questions:

  1. Will Duke Energy stand for equality and oppose Amendment One?
  2. Will Duke Energy refrain from contributing to any candidate for any office who supports Amendment One?

We await your response.


James Protzman


Sloooooowwwwwwwwwww pay

I'm sure Mr. Rogers and Duke Energy think we're all captive to their monopoly, and in many ways we are. But there's a simple way to make our point clearly understood if they remain silent on NO AMENDMENT. Stretch out your payments until they're 29 days past due. And maybe even longer. Make their customer service departments jump through all the rigamarole required to notify you of the threat of service termination. Contest and refuse to pay late penalties. File complaints with the Public Utilities Commission. If a third of their customers delayed payments for 29 days, their cash flow would be in a world of hurt.

By the way, this kind of delaying tactic works for any company you're not happy with.

How not to respond to a pissed-off blogger

(expletive deleted)

Dear Mr. Protzman,

We appreciate your interest in Duke Energy. We receive many requests to participate in surveys. Due to the large number and the broad range of topics we receive, we are unable to respond.

Thank you again for your interest in Duke Energy.

Best regards,

Web Support Team

Dear Ashley. I'm not sure if

Dear Ashley.

I'm not sure if you're a robot or a real person, but in any case, you might want to reread my inquiry. It is not a survey, it is an open and public letter to Mr. Rogers that has already been read by more than 150 North Carolina citizens at BlueNC.

And just to be clear, you are not "unable to respond." You are choosing not to respond.

And finally, I have no "interest" in Duke Energy beyond getting an answer to my question.


It would get through

but it wouldn't get answered. Duke Energy has too much invested in Pat McCrory to take a stand on this issue. They'd have to repudiate their golden boy, which will never happen after a decade of cultivating buying the one candidate that could give them their own key to the governor's mansion.

I hope their gay employees give them holy hell.

Duke Energy offers Domestic Partner Benefits

I honestly can't imagine they would suffer anything negative (other than verbal attacks in the comment section of the CharO by local bigots) by supporting the "Vote No" efforts.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Hey Betsy

It's not clear to me that companies will be able to offer such benefits in a state with the specific constitutional amendment the GOP has put on the ballot.

Nice signature line.

Hiya James :)

The media reports I saw stated or quoted Republicans stating this issue had been addressed for private companies who offer their employees domestic partner benefits. Unfortunately, public employees afforded these benefits would lose them.

It doesn't make sense to me that private companies would be worried about protecting benefits only for their employees. If they want equality for their employees, wouldn't they want to protect these rights for all citizens of the states in which they operate? I don't know...I'm sure I'm just being naive.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

"The bill's second sentence, which clarifies that the ban

doesn't prohibit businesses from offering benefits to domestic partners, isn't included on the ballot.

Michael Gerhardt, a constitutional law expert at UNC Chapel Hill, said it's not just semantics. It opens the amendment to further legal challenge and interpretation by the courts -and the courts would likely favor what appeared on the ballot, he said.

Please read this Charlotte Observer article. Republicans are trying to make people think this ammendment will do less damage than it will.


The morons rushed the amendment through without having that "clarifying language" in the amendment itself. And if it's not in the amendment, it's not in the Constitution. And if it's not in the Constitution, it doesn't exist in terms of strict interpretation.

And we all now how much the Tarheel Taliban love them some strict interpretation.

The amendment takes existing benefits away

... from first responders and other local government employees.

The second sentence of the amendment doesn't define "private party" in any way.

Is a huge state-regulated monopoly a "private party" under this amendment?

I'm sure we'll get a court case to find out.


Good point, by not defining private parties they draw

a bullseye on undefined non private parties.

Who will that include? Some private healthcare providers get much, if not most, of their money from public funds whether Federal, State, or Local.

Arizona example

Didn't Arizona defeat the amendment one time around because people were concerned they'd lose rights, not just others losing rights. Maybe we can play up the uncertainty aspect because its a very real possibility.

I think people connecting to people they know because everyone knows an LGBT person is another piece.

I think another important piece is getting pro-equality storefronts to have a sign in their storefront, and doing other approaches to make sure this amendment isn't invisible and passing by default.

Defeating voter suppression/election skewing efforts is important too because any victory will be by a slim margin.

Then voter turned and education and registration is important too.

But I think the arizona case (if I'm remembering that right state) shows that as much as we want people to care about others equality, they will really start paying attention if it starts affecting their rights.

That sounds like a good approach

...along those lines, are we aware of any companies that provide domestic partner benefits to heterosexual couples in the state? I know I've read this document from University of Iowa that specifies domestic partners can also be opposite sex partners. I imagine this is not as large a group, but the bill states that a marriage between one man and one woman will be the only legally recognized domestic union in this state. So, in theory, this amendment would discriminate against unmarried heterosexual couples not wishing to enter into a traditional marriage.

I realize I'm grasping at straws here....guess I was just brainstorming ways this might hurt people beyond the obvious.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

what about personally owned

private insurance contracts? That may be what you meant by policies.

I'm sorry to be so behind on learning all the intricacies of the proposed amendment.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

In my post, I meant a policy such as a standard

procedure that would.happen with domestic violence, that might not happen otherwise, such as denial of a concealed carry permit. If marriage is the only thing that can be recognized, then what?

Calling Jim Rogers

Hey there.

Look. We have a lot in common, including the same first name. How about we talk this through.

Where does your company stand on the Amendment?

You're spending a lot of money to control conversations that control the government in North Carolina. The least you can do is make your agenda clear.

Drop me a line.

Duke Energy: Action required

As a person who spends a lot of time consulting with businesses, I can tell you without a doubt that Duke Energy will ignore this question until they are up against the wall of public opinion. Unless this goes viral and becomes a source of embarrassment and annoyance for them, Mr. Rogers will be able to dodge the issue with impunity.

So get off your ass and spread the word. Click the Facebook link and the Twitter link on the post above.

Do it now.

Do NOT believe the hype that private benefits are safe

I attended a progressive community meeting last Saturday with legal expert Barbara Fedders of UNC School of Law, who was one of several experts prepared to testify on amendment impact when Tillis shut down public debate.

The vague language (and the "mitigating" language that won't be on the ballot) -- "domestic legal union" is fraught with danger of interpretation.

Duke University has received inquiries about what could happen to same-sex spousal equivalent benefits and it released this completely useless, non-definitive statement that could lull people into a false sense of security (I work at Duke, so I received this as well):

‘Defense of Marriage Act’ Not Expected to Impact Duke’s Benefits
With recent actions by the North Carolina House and Senate regarding the Defense of Marriage Act, questions have arisen about the impact on Duke’s same-sex benefits. The referendum to amend the state constitution to define marriage solely between one man and one woman will be voted on during the general election next May, but at this point the legislation is not expected to impact the ability of private employers such as Duke to continue offering same-sex benefits. For more information about Duke’s same-sex benefits, visit:

Duke cannot say that the amendment will not affect staff benefits, it can only give what I think is a dangerously obtuse statement with the useless "at this point the legislation is not expected".

If the amendment passes, there's nothing to stop some fundie from saying "name a private company" is "recognizing" a domestic legal union other than marriage according to state law, and it will be tied up in the courts.

Please let people know that second paragraph of the amendment is hogwash.

Pam Spaulding
Durham, NC USA

Pam's House Blend

Renee Ellmers outflanks Jim Rogers on Amendment One

In Sunday's Paper-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named, GOP Rep. Renee Ellmers says she will be voting against the marriage amendment because it is too broad. Specifically because it would ban civil unions.

Well, hell.

Ellmers has come out against the amendment yet we're still waiting on Perdue and a host of other Democrats (from Obama at the federal level right on down to Roy Cooper).

Attention every politician and business owner and citizen in North Carolina:

Renee Ellmers just gave you cover to come out against the amendment because it is overly broad.

There is no longer any reason not to do so.



Thanks for calling this to our attention.

Note to Speaker: You know you've screwed up when the Queen of Crazy in Waiting Twice Removed (Myrick and Foxx are way ahead) disses your amendment. That said, we'll see how fast flip-flops on this.

Note to Guv: I represent all progressives (more or less) when I say, "Please get on this issue and get on it fast. You're the leader of the Democratic Party in North Carolina. We're waiting."

Gov. Perdue's quote got 667 thousand views, doing

the right thing might change the subject.

Going on the record now against the ammendment would show the kind political courage that she was criticising Congress for lacking in her misinterpreted quote.

Which goes a long way toward

explaining why media plays up these "gotcha" comments. For-profit news orgs are desperate to build the online readership to a level that can attract the advertising dollars they need to survive.

I can understand this on a strictly business level, but that type of focus is exactly what produced tabloids that even 70 IQ readers find hard to believe.

It's been almost four months, Jim Rogers

It's been almost four months since I asked you if Duke Energy would contribute to candidates who stand for discrimination against your gay employees.

Given your silence on the matter, I can only conclude the you and Duke Energy place your corporate political agenda ahead of the rights and freedoms of the people who work in your company.

Too bad you don't have the balls to say that publicly.

I wrote this post almost five months ago

it was on my birthday ... when I turned 61.

Today, nearly half a year later, Duke Energy has been entirely silent on the question of whether it will use its corporate coffers to back candidates who will vote to make the company's gay employees second class citizens.

It's not that anyone expects Duke Energy to take a stand for their gay employees. They have decades of contributions at stake in their support for Pat McCrory ... and they are coming to his aid again this year. But it sure would be nice if some mainstream reporter would put them in the spotlight and get them on the record as being proponents of marriage discrimination. Such clarity might even come into play in hearings related to their power play to take over Progress Energy.

We all know where Duke Energy stands: In the goddamned gutter with Tea Party haters. I'd just like to have them admit it.

Or maybe miracles can still happen:

To All Gay Persons:

We write you from down upon our knees, our hearts so filled with contrition they are like stones whose weight we cannot bear.

For a grievously long time we have treated gay people in a way that we now understand brings nothing but shame upon the God we purport to emulate. With bilious fury have we systematically maligned, denigrated, condemned, cursed, shamed, and bullied you literally to death.

For no reason beyond animal ignorance we have tried to obliterate you: to rob you of your identity, crush your self-worth, destroy your hopes, turn you against yourself. We have harnessed our almost unimaginable power to bring to you the singular, unceasing message that God finds you reprehensible.

Shamefully, we have turned the way you love into the way we hate.

And for that we now know that it is we, and not you, who deserve hell.

Over and again we have asked ourselves how we could have been so wrong. How, in the name of a loving God, we could have perpetrated, encouraged, and spread the reprehensible evil we did? We now look at the Bible’s six or seven fleeting mentions of homosexuality, and are astounded that we ever dared claim them as evidence that God cannot abide the gay and lesbian people that he so lovingly created and sustains.

How could we have ever done such a thing? What in the name of God—literally—were we thinking?

Why were we moved to with such ferocious vigor supplant God’s healing light with our own wretched darkness?

Our repentance demanded of us that we tirelessly ask ourselves that question—and keep on asking it, until we arrived at its answer.

And so we did.

The reason that we have so hated you is because we have so feared you. We feared you because we fear our own sexuality. We fear our own sexuality because its power is so far beyond what we’re capable of controlling: so utterly, quickly, and inevitably does our sexual lust transform us from pious, composed believers into fevered, bucking animals.

Like all people (we now see, praise God), there are two natural phenomena that, in the overwhelming magnitude of their power, finally render us insensible of ourselves: the awesome presence of the divine infinite, and sex. We have always believed those two to be in competition, to be mutually exclusive: traditionally our conviction has been that where God is, sex cannot be. And so we have always, if grimly, shunned our sexuality, and clung fast to God.

And then there you are, out and proud.

There you are, embracing that within you which we can barely acknowledge in ourselves.

There you are, consciously, purposefully, and wisely integrating your sexuality into the whole of your identity.

There you are, with an audacity we now find inspiring and humbling, daring to believe that you, just as you are, are worthy of the most supreme love.

You joyously claimed the rainbow; while we, mired in our stubbornness, continued to insist on seeing only blacks and whites.

But now! Now has the terrible veil been mercifully lifted from our eyes! And therefore do we come before you today—repentant, ashamed, mortified to behold our transgressions against you—seeking not your forgiveness (for we would not dare), but only the slightest chance of proving to you that we have changed.

God can, after all, change hearts. And he has most certainly changed ours.

It might take a year for you to consider us your true brothers and sisters. It might take five years, or ten. It might take generations. But however long it takes, we promise you one thing: as of this day, the Christian church has renounced—and will forever, and with utmost vigor, continue to renounce—that wicked, vile, and manifestly false theology which holds you as anything but our equal and friend.

With God as our witness, we will reconcile ourselves to you. That bright new day, so long in coming, has finally dawned.

With all we are and hope to be,



Dream on brother.


"...the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be."

Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail

I know you're right

I guess we don't get miracles without having a god ... and from what I've seen, having a god comes with more downsides than benefits. Except for FSM, of course, which comes with marinara sauce and grated cheese.

: )