Top North Carolina Anti-Gay Activist Mulls Senate Run

The pastor who helped organize and finance the campaign to pass North Carolina’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex unions, Rev. Mark Harris of Charlotte’s First Baptist Church, is pondering a run for US Senate against Democratic Senator Kay Hagan, a marriage equality supporter.

As reported by Jeremy Hooper, Harris, who leads North Carolina’s Baptist convention, emphasized that the Amendment One campaign wasn’t just about marriage but attacking the gay community:

Harris also preached that God would mourn the anti-gay amendment’s defeat:

His church also promoted a column by his wife that put marriage equality advocates in the same category as Nazis and eugenicists, argued that people are gay as a result of sexual abuse, warned that the supporters of the “gay agenda” like Oprah Winfrey and Katy Perry are warping the minds of children and contended that gay youth are simply deluded.

Harris has informed his congregation about his potential run for Senate, the Charlotte Observer reports:

Harris, 47, met in Charlotte last week with about 70 people from around 20 North Carolina counties who are trying to draft him to run.

“I’m certainly humbled and flattered by the confidence that these folks have expressed,” he said. “It’s a little bit overwhelming to be honest. Right now we’re doing two things. One … doing a lot of listening to people and the second and most importantly to me is just to pray and seek God’s leadership … and see if that’s his plan for me.”

Harris announced that to his congregation at the end of Sunday’s service, and walked off to a standing ovation.



Last year, Harris campaigned heavily for Amendment One, which recognizes marriage between a man and a woman as the only valid union recognized in the state.

He has hosted Republican precinct meetings at his church and last year brought in a number of prominent conservative speakers, including former presidential candidates Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee and Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council.

A few weeks ago, Harris met with GOP consultant Tom Perdue of Atlanta, onetime chief strategist for former U.S. Rep. Robin Hayes, now the state’s Republican chairman. Among the many GOP candidates Perdue has helped were former U.S. Sens. Paul Coverdell of Georgia and Bill Frist of Tennessee.