by Jesse James DeConto
DURHAM - "We are on the doorstep of the most important political election of our day," Chapel Hill Town Council member Mark Kleinschmidt told the crowd (at the N.C. Pride Festival on Saturday) on Duke's East Campus.
Kleinschmidt and others celebrated the late Chapel Hill Town Council member Joe Herzenberg, who in 1987 became the first openly gay elected official in North Carolina. The path to the stage passed beneath a 20-foot-high inflated arch -- the Rainbow Memorial Arch -- in Herzenberg's honor. He died in October.
"His election opened the door for the rest of us who followed," said Orange County Commissioner Mike Nelson, former mayor of Carrboro.