Republican state Sen. James Forrester says he will update his resume after a number of LGBT and gay rights advocates found inconsistencies in his medical credentials.
Forrester, 74, is a retired family practice doctor from Mount Holly. He came under fire last week from critics who targeted him for his sponsorship of a referendum to put a ban on gay marriage and civil unions into the state Constitution.
His critics suggested that he padded his resume by listing himself as a "fellow" of numerous medical organizations that had no records of his designation. He also listed himself as a member of other organizations, even though his membership lapsed.
"I think the gay community wants to discredit me in anyway they can," Forrester said in an interview Monday. "I think that's what they are trying to do. I feel real bad about it because I didn't do anything wrong."
Forrester said any mistakes were inadvertent. He said his resume is out-dated and it should read "former associate fellow" at the Aerospace Medical Association and "past fellow" the American College of Preventative Medicine. He offered to provide certificates proving his achievements and past memberships.
Reached last week, those two organizations said Forrester is not listed on their websites as a member because he stopped paying dues. The aerospace organization confirmed his connection and past title, but the preventative medicine group said its records don't go back that far.
Forrester said his credentials currently are being updated online, but a check of his website, jimforrester.net, and the Gaston County GOP's website, gastongop.org/james-forrester/, showed no changes by noon Monday.
All the attention has Forrester on edge. He said he never expected the vitriolic phone calls, emails and letters that he has received in the weeks after the Republican legislature approved the ballot referendum. "The homosexual people I know are pretty nice people, they are intelligent people, but I didn't expect this," he said.
The threats have Forrester fearing for his safety. He said he called the Gaston County police to report the threatening messages he is receiving and suspicious cars driving by his home.
"Sometimes I fear a little bit for my life, if some of them are as violent as they say in their phone calls and emails," he said. "It may be that I'm just getting a little paranoid, I don't know, that's what they want to happen."
The Gaston police didn't immediately return a call to confirm Forrester's report.