James Forrester, the North Carolina State Senator who led his state’s battle against gay marriage, is dead at the age of 74. Forrester was rushed to the hospital Sunday and was on life support until 11:00 AM. He passed away at noon.
In a $50,000-a-day special senate session, Forrester led the charge against same-sex marriage, pushing a bill to allow North Carolina citizens to vote on placing a ban on marriage between same-sex couples into the state’s constitution. The bill passed and voters will be able to vote on the discriminatory ballot measure next year.
Doctors suspected he might have had a stroke.
One of his daughters, Mary Paige, answered the phone at the Forrester home Monday afternoon.
“He died peacefully at approximately noon today,” Paige said. “He was taken off of life support shortly after 11. It was very quiet and very peaceful. His entire family was around him.”
Matt Comer at the time of the marriage vote last month reported:
“This is the eighth year I put in this bill,” Forrester said. “The bill never had a hearing. I’m very happy to have this bill before us at the time.”
Forrester said the amendment was intended to defend the “an institution in our society based upon the complementary male and female loin.”
“Moms and dads are not interchangeable,” Forrester continued. “Two dads don’t make a mom. Two moms don’t make a dad. Children need both a father and a mother.”
Additionally, Forrester said last month that gays were “out baring their breasts and everything,” and have turned LGBT-friendly Asheville, North Carolina into a “cesspool of sin.” Forrester had added, “They have a lot of homosexuals that live in the Asheville area.”
Forrester, who was also a medical doctor, and, as Think Progress reported in early September, said:
“I’ve got a few homosexual patients and I treat them just the same as anybody else. I love them perhaps even more because I know they are going to die at least 20 years earlier and it’s something I have no control over and we need to reach out to them to try to get them to change their lifestyle and back to the normal lifestyle which we can accept.”
Gaston County Republican Party Chairman Craig Collins issued the following statement in response to the news that eleven-term North Carolina Senator James Forrester passed away today:
“We are deeply saddened to hear of Senator Forrester’s death and send our prayers out to his wife, Mary Frances, and all of his family. Those of us who have worked in politics with Senator Forrester for years know him as an honorable and kind man who always stood for what he believes and fought to defend the values that made North Carolina and America great. Jim Forrester’s life is a model of public service, as a family physician, as a general in the national guard, Gaston County Commissioner and for the last 22 years as Gaston County’s senior State Senator. He will truly be missed by those of us in his GOP family.”
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