By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
WILMINGTON — The sponsor of the most egregious legislation passed by the General Assembly this year says she will not run for re-election in 2010. Sen. Julia Boseman (D-New Hanover) announced last week that she wants to spend more time with family. Her lesbian partner is expecting a baby in January and, after a two-year legal battle she also shares custody of the son of her prior partner.
The only openly gay member of the General Assembly, Boseman sponsored the School Violence Prevention Act (S 526), which unfortunately made “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” protected legal classes under state law. Her efforts earned her Equality NC’s Legislative Award, which she accepted earlier this month, using the opportunity to spur others in the homosexual community to run for office.
“When I won this seat it didn’t become my seat, it became our seat….” she said. “When I’m in that back room of the caucus and we’re talking about the marriage amendment, it makes a difference that we’re there. When we’re talking about the bullying bill, it made a difference that we’re there. When we have Republicans saying that comprehensive health education, sexual education means that you’re going to teach all our kids how to be gay, it makes a big difference that we have a seat at the table.”
Endorsed by Equality NC PAC and NARAL Pro-Choice NC PAC in the last election, she received campaign contributions of over half a million dollars from the N.C. Senate Committee in 2008. An ardent supporter of Hillary Clinton for President, Boseman campaigned with the Clintons across N.C. last year, and in return, Bill Clinton hosted a fundraiser for her in January.
Priority to announcing her decision not to run, Boseman told the Equality crowd on Nov. 15, “I won’t always have this seat; and it’s time for other people to step up. I’m asking you and your friends to please get involved, run for office … it makes such a difference us being there.”
While homosexual activists pushing for the anti-bullying bill had argued repeatedly that the measure was only about protecting children and not about advancing the gay agenda by making sexual orientation a protected class, the Senator said during her speech “this is first time in our general statute that we actually have sexual orientation and gender identity here in North Carolina.”
In addition to the School Violence Protection Act, Boseman was the primary sponsor on some 32 other bills this year and signed on to an additional 53 pieces of legislation. She was the main sponsor of the ABC Rules/Private Clubs bill that has opened the door to more bars across North Carolina and also supported Sunday hunting, two bills opposed by the Christian Action League.
A native of New Hanover County, Boseman was ranked the 20th most effective senator during her first term by the N.C. Center for Public Policy Research. She won re-election in 2006 by 11,000 votes, but faced stiffer competition in 2008, taking 51.7 percent of the vote. She was in the news frequently that year after the $1.3 million home she had once shared with her former partner was foreclosed on. Also in 2008, the senator admitted during a child-custody battle that she had used marijuana in 2003.
The custody case, which may yet come before the State Supreme Court, was the result of Boseman and her former partner, Melissa Jarrell, finding a judge who would circumvent North Carolina adoption laws. During the pair’s relationship, Jarrell gave birth to a son in 2002 via artificial insemination and three years later she and Boseman found a judge in Durham willing to sidestep the law and grant an adoption to the Senator without severing the legal relationship between Jarrell and the child.
Fewer than nine months later, Boseman and Jarrell split and rather than void the adoption decree because it violated state law, a court in Wilmington granted joint custody. On appeal, the Court of Appeals acknowledged that the adoption did not follow state law, but refused to find it void, even though N.C. Statutes requires that biological parents sever their parental rights in “direct placement” adoptions.
Jarell has filed a petition for discretionary review with the State Supreme Court, a motion supported by several groups which filed their own motion last month asking for a High Court ruling and requesting that the Christian Action League, North Carolina Family Policy Council, the American College of Pediatricians, and the Christian Family Law Association be allowed to file friend of the court briefs in the case.