The business community has been largely silent about Amendment One; certainly the ballot initiative will profoundly affect the ability for forward-thinking businesses to recruit and retain the best and brightest if it looks like the state is moving in the wrong direction — restricting rights, rather than extending them.

In a surprising development, the CEO of Duke Energy, Jim Rogers, took the opportunity as a keynote speaker at a business forum to take questions and he was asked about the amendment by Taylor Batten of the Charlotte Observer’s O-pinion blog. Rogers took the plunge:

Rogers hesitated, but then couldn’t stop himself from telling the crowd of 200 or so how he felt.

If North Carolinians put the gay marriage ban into the state constitution, Rogers said, “You’re sending a message to the world that we’re not inclusive.”

Rogers emphasized that he was sharing his personal view and was not speaking on behalf of Duke Energy. He said “I believe we’re all children of God,” and that it’s wrong to pass measures that discriminate against individuals.

“If this passes, we’re going to look back 20 years from now, or 10 years, and think of it like Jim Crow laws” that discriminated against African-Americans. North Carolina is competing with the world for business, he said, and “we have to be inclusive and open.”

Batten also noted that the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce and the N.C. Chamber of Commerce have not taken a position on A1, though Durham’s  and Chapel Hill’s have put out statements strongly opposing it.

***

Did you know that today is the last day to register to vote for the May 8 primary in NC?

How do you register to vote? There are several ways to get a registration form to fill out and return by tomorrow:

•    Visit your county Board of Elections during regular business hours to register.
•    Obtain a voter registration form at any public library and return it to your local Board of Elections (must be postmarked April 13, 2012).
•    If you are a student, be aware that high schools are required under state law to have registration forms for you to use.
•    Obtain a registration form at your local Department of Social Services or public health office and return it to your local Board of Elections.

*Use Same Day Registration & Voting to register and vote on the same day at designated sites during the Early Voting period only (beginning April 19 in many areas.) Keep in mind, you may not use this “same day registration” option on Election Day (May 8)!

Before you turn in your registration form, review it carefully. Be sure you sign and date it, fill in all the questions, including your date of birth, and check all the appropriate boxes. Spell out your name as it appears on the identification card you provide. If you do not give your NC driver’s license number or the last 4 digits of your Social Security number, be sure to provide the documents requested on the form, or be prepared to show one of those documents when you first vote in person. Include a phone number on the form; it’s only used by election officials to call you for missing information.

If you have trouble understanding the form, review this tip sheet or call your county Board of Elections. It’s that important…so make it happen!

And remember, anyone can vote on May 8 and AGAINST Amendment One. Republicans will get a Republican ballot. Democrats will get a Democratic ballot. Registered Independents can choose to vote on either of those ballots. People who don’t want a ballot affiliated with either major party can get a wholly non-partisan ballot that will exclude partisan races and only have things on it like ballot initiatives.

CLICK HERE for more answers to your Election FAQs from your friends at Equality NC.