It's not every day North Carolina lawmakers hear from a new media legend like Chris Hughes. But the Facebook co-founder and Hickory native is weighing in on the debate over whether to amend the state's constitution to ban same-sex unions.
Hughes was one of the four Harvard students who founded Facebook. He went on to create Jumo, a social network for non-profits, and was the architect of the Obama campaign's unprecedented online presence in 2008.
"As the co-founder of Facebook, I have some experience with the challenges of attracting the kind of driven, dynamic and diverse employees it takes to build a fledgling start-up into a full-fledged economic success story," Hughes writes.
"Companies like Facebook, Google and Apple are the future of our global economy. But the
proposed anti-gay constitutional amendment signals to these and other major employers, as
well as their mobile, educated employees, that North Carolina does not welcome the diverse
workforce that any state needs to compete in the international marketplace.
"In short, this amendment is bad for business, bad for the perception of my home state on the
national stage, and a far cry from job-creating legislation that North Carolina lawmakers should
be focused on."
Hughes, who is gay, said he felt stigmatized and "not welcome" in conservative Hickory.
"The proposed discriminatory legislation will only perpetuate this stigma for a new generation of
creative, talented youth, uninterested in second-class citizenship in a state they call home," Hughes wrote. "North Carolina deserves better than that."
"The next Facebook or Apple or Google could be created by another North Carolinian," he concludes. "Be mindful of how you treat them and their families."
Hughes's partner is Sean Eldridge, the political director of pro-gay-marriage group Freedom to Marry.
The full letter is here.