Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue of North Carolina raised some eyebrows in the South when she not only lashed out at her own citizens for an anti-same-sex marriage ban but adding that the measure made the state “look like Mississippi.” People in Mississippi were understandably put out by the notion that they are now an interchangable synonym with “backward,” “prejudiced,” and “frighteningly homophobic.”
The marriage ban vote was not close in North Carolina — passing by an overwhelming 62-to-38 percentage points. Perdue proclaimed
“It’s wrong for North Carolina, clearly, clearly and simply . . . People around the country are watching us, and they’re really confused. To have been such a progressive, forward-thinking, economically driven state that invested in education and that stood up for the civil rights of people, including the civil rights marches back in the ‘50s and ‘60s and ‘70s — folks are saying, ‘What in the world is going on in North Carolina?’ We look like Mississippi.”
That last comment did not go over well with Mississippians from both parties and frankly I thought was rather uncivil for a sister state. However, the defense from Ole Miss was almost as off-putting. It is notable that Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves did not try to defend his state as committed to equal rights of any kind. Instead, he insisted that Mississippi is better for business because “[w]e are creating an environment which encourages the private sector to invest capital in Mississippi, and I would invite any North Carolina-based company wanting to move to a lower-taxed, less-regulated state to look at our business-friendly opportunities.” That sounds a lot like, we come for the lack of equal rights but stay for the lack of environmental protections and taxes. Notably, Mississippi has the lowest per capita income of any state as well as the lowest level of health care protection for its citizens. It has secured the top spot for most obese state, however. Yet, Reeves wants people to know that the state is also a leader in lacking environmental protections for its citizens.
I am not sure which is worse: the comparison by Perdue or the defense by Reeves.
Source: New Observer