Saturday News: Profiles in courage

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE ADVOCATE PEARL BERLIN LEAVES LEGACY IN HER PASSING: Pearl Berlin, who challenged North Carolina's refusal to recognize same-sex marriages, has died. She was 93. Berlin died Thursday, said Matt Hirschey, head of special projects for Equality NC. Berlin married Ellen Gerber in a synagogue in Greensboro in 2013 and followed with civil ceremony in Maine that year, but their marriage remained legally invalid in North Carolina. With Berlin suffering health problems in 2014, the couple rushed to join the vanguard of efforts to strike down the state ban, so that Gerber could have spousal rights over decisions about her care. The American Civil Liberties Union urged a federal judge to quickly negate the ban, which was deemed unconstitutional that same year. Berlin's memorial service will be held at UNC Greensboro on June 14.

NC'S POOR RECORD ON LGBTQ RIGHTS IS JEOPARDIZING APPLE PROJECT: Opposition stems from the legacy of the HB2 "bathroom" law that became a national flashpoint for anti-discrimination efforts. It was later partially repealed. The news site Axios reported Friday that LGBT activists are "reacting with anger and dismay" over news that Apple is looking at locating at a site in Research Triangle Park. State legislative leaders on Thursday said they would enhance financial incentives to attract major companies, which would include Apple. The Axios story quoted one unnamed activist saying "North Carolina is one of the most hostile states in the country to LGBTQ people." By Friday afternoon, a headline in the tech and entertainment site Mashable read: "Apple may build campus in North Carolina — despite the state's awful anti-LGBTQ laws."

CARRBORO HIGH SCHOOL THEATRICAL PERFORMANCE ON GUN VIOLENCE COINCIDES WITH TEXAS SHOOTINGS: Students from Carrboro High School used the performing arts Friday night to hash out issues of gun violence and gun control. The performance, "A Night for the Fight Against Gun Violence," was planned before the most recent school shooting in Texas claimed national headlines and 10 lives. The performance, included "short plays, monologues and a documentary," to shed light on the spike is mass shootings and the peace movement sparked by America's youth. "I think that tonight is just about hopefully inspiring people to do things in their community to fight against gun violence," student Ellanya Atwater said. "So many school shootings have happened. So many shootings have happened this year, and I just think that our generation has to be the people to let everyone know we're not going to tolerate it."

SOME NC DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES WARY OF TOM STEYER'S "IMPEACH TRUMP" CAMPAIGN: A California billionaire is bringing his campaign to impeach the president to Charlotte next week, though some of the Democrats he hopes to persuade call it a distraction. "Dan's not interested in hypotheticals," said Aaron Simpson, a spokesman for Democrat Dan McCready, who's running in the 9th District. "Our focus is where it has always been, fighting for affordable health care, better public education, and bringing good-paying jobs to North Carolina." In the 13th District, Democrat Kathy Manning said it's premature to talk about impeachment before special counsel Robert Mueller finishes his investigation. "In the meantime my concern is that Congress is dysfunctional," she told the Observer. "They’re not getting things done. I don’t want people to get distracted by the notion of impeachment. I want them to come together to start getting things done for the people of this country."

MISSOURI LEGISLATURE OPENS SPECIAL SESSION TO EXPLORE IMPEACHING GOVERNOR: Missouri lawmakers opened a historic special session Friday to consider whether to impeach Gov. Eric Greitens for a variety of allegations ranging from sexual misconduct to misuse of a veterans’ charity donor list for his political campaign. It marked the first time Missouri lawmakers had ever achieved the supermajority necessary to summon themselves into a special session. And depending on the outcome of the session, Greitens could become the first Missouri governor ever impeached in an attempt to oust him from office. The opening evening of the special session was quick and merely procedural. During the 30-day session, a special House investigatory committee that has been meeting since March is expected to continue hearing witness testimony before recommending whether to pursue impeachment. If the House votes to impeach Greitens, the Senate then would appoint a judicial panel for a trial on whether to remove him from office.