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All North Carolina members please take a moment to read this


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Ahead of voting this Tuesday I wanted to take a minute to discuss two major legal issues within “Amendment One.” It is my hope that understanding the way that the legal side of this issue will severely damage North Carolina as a state will help convince some of you to vote against the amendment. For those planning to vote solely on the basis of religious beliefs, I know the legal reasons why the amendment is bad for our state will not persuade you, but I hope that you can at least find it within yourselves to put the American understanding of the separation between church and state ahead of whatever personal beliefs you hold and refrain from voting at all.

The major legal problem with “Amendment One” is that it flatly violates the U.S. Constitution. The Equal Protection Clause guarantees all persons the full enjoyment of the laws. In 1967 this was held to apply to marriage. Specifically, anti-miscegenation laws were ruled unconstitutional as, even though they allowed blacks to marry blacks and whites to marry whites, they denied rights to those who wished to marry outside of their race. This logic, whenever it is eventually applied to gay marriage at the federal level, will codify the fact that laws banning gay marriage are unconstitutional, and therefore void.

The second legal problem is that whenever a federal law is passed or a Supreme Court case is decided on the issue, the Supremacy Clause will immediately cause all state laws against gay marriage to lose effect. Moreover, any provisions of state constitutions against gay marriage will also lose their effect. Given that North Carolina already does not allow gay marriage, passing “Amendment One” will change absolutely nothing in this state. Let me be clear, passing “Amendment One” will change zero substantive rights in this state as gay marriage will still be illegal right up until the Federal Government says otherwise. What this means for our state then is that passing “Amendment One” will do nothing but publicly declare our ignorance of the laws to the rest of the United States, and heighten any future embarrassment we will suffer at being one of the last states to recognize how wrong it was to ever treat this particular group as second class citizens.

There is not a person in this state with anything to gain from this amendment being passed, and passing it will violate the Constitution of the United States of America. Please take this understanding to the ballot boxes Tuesday. 

 

135 Replies (last)

I voted against the silly amendment last week. To me, there are are far too many issues with it. I haven't heard an argument for it that wasn't based in the empty notion of protecting marriage. I should be able to marry whomever I want to - discrimination shouldn't be embedded into the constitution. Seems like Christians are meddling with state affairs. The amendment not only defines marriage, but also union, which is unfair. I could go on and on.

Thank you for a very rational, intelligent, and informed discussion of this proposed amendment.  I have always been a supporter of gay rights--or human rights, to be more to the point---and I am appallled thqt this proposal has even made it to the ballot.  The fear-mongering and ignorance that characterizes the pro-amendment campaigns is reprehensible to me.  The argument that we must "protect" the definition of marriage in order to preserve procreation is nothing short of sensationalism.  I am heterosexual and childless.  Have I failed to contribute to the perpetuity of mankind?  I can think of plenty of people who should never have reproduced!  But these are just a few of the arguments that are designed to mask the judgement and fear of those who profess to come from a place of righteousness.  They have waged an organized and agressive campaign.  I only hope that enough of us will cast votes that send the message that harrow-mindedness has no place in our personal lives.

I'm voting against it.

I try to pay attention to the yard signs for and against the amendment when I'm driving around, although, that might not be a great gauge for how people will vote. But I usually see a balance of 3 to 10 'against' signs for every 1 'for' sign, depending on the neighborhood.

I'm hopeful it will be defeated. I'm also hopeful that I'm not deluded about it.

Eh, I hope it passes.  We need more court cases that end up in the mire that Proposition 8 has entered:  Yeah, you voted it down, but those who are for it can keep same-sex marriages from happening anyway (or at least delay them) through making esoteric requests of the appeals courts.

Thonx, I hope you are right that this will lead to court cases, and that those will do more than voting down this awful amendment would have.

In case folks are interested, I thought this was a fascinating visual representation of how different state laws deal with gay rights.

It's stunning to me the divide between the educated, young(er), professional vote vs. the less educated, old(er), non-professional vote. I graduated from UNC just a year ago, and I can tell you my FB was blown up with status updates with everyone's opinion on the issue, and only one person from the university was pro the amendment. Orange County was by a huge majority against it. So were a couple of others with a higher student/young(er), professional population.

 

Education goes a long, long way. I'd even argue that the infographic amethystgirl provided supports that. I don't want to start a war of words or hurt anyone's feelings but I strongly believe the NE is overall much more educated than the rest of the country, and coincidentally they have the most accepting laws when it comes to these issues.

I am not usually embarassed to be a North Carolina citizen, but this one shames us.  I am appalled at the fervor and influence of the religious right.  The inconsistencies in the messages, the hypocrisies, the overt disregard for fundamental humn rights.....these sicken me.

very cool infographic a-girl.  and I appreciate the call of this post for a separation of church and state. this is a HUMAN rights issue ffs. 

ETA: I am very proud to be a MA resident. 

Here's the results map -

the amendment was defeated in the counties with the population centers - Asheville, Boone, Charlotte, Durham, Chapel Hill, Raleigh and also Chatham county, which is a bedroom community area for Raleigh & Chapel Hill.

So essentially, in the vast majority of the places where lots of people live near each other, they didn't want to pass the amendment.  But in all the rural areas where your neighbor is a mile away, they did. 

And in Guilford County, there were 68 more people who voted for it than against it out of 116,652 votes cast.

depressing.

I tend to agree with Sully who has previously pointed out it's an issue of gender discrimination. That, IMO, holds a lot of water.

Thanks, I was looking for that.

Very depressing.

Original Post by nomoreexcuses:

Here's the results map -

the amendment was defeated in the counties with the population centers - Asheville, Boone, Charlotte, Durham, Chapel Hill, Raleigh and also Chatham county, which is a bedroom community area for Raleigh & Chapel Hill.

So essentially, in the vast majority of the places where lots of people live near each other, they didn't want to pass the amendment.  But in all the rural areas where your neighbor is a mile away, they did. 

And in Guilford County, there were 68 more people who voted for it than against it out of 116,652 votes cast.

depressing.

Heh.  So much for Winston-Salem fitting your trend.

Neither Winston nor Greensboro fit the trend, which is why I said in the vast majority of places instead of in all the places

And there was a lot of confusion associated with it too, so it's hard to say what people thought they were voting for or against.

 

I would honestly love to understand the reasons for voting yes.  Religion? Fear? Hate? It just does NOT make sense to me.... at all.

Original Post by thesuperbex:

I would honestly love to understand the reasons for voting yes.  Religion? Fear? Hate? It just does NOT make sense to me.... at all.

Religion.

Fear.

Probably for some people, Hate.

Maybe they don't want Fortune 500 businesses to locate here.

There's one company that might leave now. The owner is gay and he spoke out earlier saying that if it passed, he would probably relocate.  It's Replacements, Ltd., which is a pretty big deal in that area. I hope he'll wait until any lawsuit is resolved.

Original Post by ncxcrnnr:

The major legal problem with “Amendment One” is that it flatly violates the U.S. Constitution. The Equal Protection Clause guarantees all persons the full enjoyment of the laws. In 1967 this was held to apply to marriage. Specifically, anti-miscegenation laws were ruled unconstitutional as, even though they allowed blacks to marry blacks and whites to marry whites, they denied rights to those who wished to marry outside of their race. This logic, whenever it is eventually applied to gay marriage at the federal level, will codify the fact that laws banning gay marriage are unconstitutional, and therefore void.

 

I am not from NC and am not really familiar with the details of "Amendment One" (I understand it is at least in part about the definition of marriage), but conflating the striking down of anti-miscegenation laws with attempts to redefine marriage is faulty logic.  Laws against interracial marriage were racist laws about who was allowed to get married, not about what the definition of a marriage is.  Marriage has always been defined by gender, even in racist societies that did not want races to mix. 

Like it or not, unlike race, there are fundamental, concrete differences between the genders, and so there are fundamental, concrete differences between opposite gender relationships and relationships  of like genders.  A (male/female) marriage, regardless of whether the individuals are gay or straight, is fundamentally different from a male/male or female/female union, regardless of whether those individuals are gay or straight.  It is just common sense for fundamentally different things to have different names. 

Being denied the ability to fundamentally redefine marriage is not the same as being denied the ability to enter into a marriage.   As far as I know, in NC, anyone, regardless of race or sexual preference, has the ability to enter a marriage as it is defined today, as it was defined when the Constitution was created, as it was defined when the 14th Amendment was adopted, and as it was defined for millenia before then, so you don't have the same equal protection argument based on sexual identity today that blacks had based on race years ago. 

To describe marriage laws that were created years ago as "laws banning gay marriage" is silly and misleading.  They were just laws about marriage, which everyone understood to be a male/female institution.  "Gay marriage" was not something anyone knew of, let alone something they set out to ban.

Original Post by thesuperbex:

I would honestly love to understand the reasons for voting yes.  Religion? Fear? Hate? It just does NOT make sense to me.... at all.


It's the word "marriage", Bex.  This is why I think Government should have nothing to do with marriage.  Folks have been getting married by their priest and pastor for centuries before Government got involved.  I say let folks form unions that are recognized by the government.  If people want to be married, they should go through their church.

Original Post by crazineko:

Original Post by thesuperbex:

I would honestly love to understand the reasons for voting yes.  Religion? Fear? Hate? It just does NOT make sense to me.... at all.


It's the word "marriage", Bex.  This is why I think Government should have nothing to do with marriage.  Folks have been getting married by their priest and pastor for centuries before Government got involved.  I say let folks form unions that are recognized by the government.  If people want to be married, they should go through their church.

so you don't think I should be able to get "married" since I'm an atheist and it'll be by a Justice of the Peace? Interesting.

Original Post by jules817:

Original Post by crazineko:

Original Post by thesuperbex:

I would honestly love to understand the reasons for voting yes.  Religion? Fear? Hate? It just does NOT make sense to me.... at all.


It's the word "marriage", Bex.  This is why I think Government should have nothing to do with marriage.  Folks have been getting married by their priest and pastor for centuries before Government got involved.  I say let folks form unions that are recognized by the government.  If people want to be married, they should go through their church.

so you don't think I should be able to get "married" since I'm an atheist and it'll be by a Justice of the Peace? Interesting.

I understand how certain people are upset with the term "marriage" but this also impacts a handful of other rights as well (hospital visitation, adoption, taxation, etc) correct?  To deny people that right based on sexual orientation is despicable. 

Original Post by jules817:

Original Post by crazineko:

Original Post by thesuperbex:

I would honestly love to understand the reasons for voting yes.  Religion? Fear? Hate? It just does NOT make sense to me.... at all.


It's the word "marriage", Bex.  This is why I think Government should have nothing to do with marriage.  Folks have been getting married by their priest and pastor for centuries before Government got involved.  I say let folks form unions that are recognized by the government.  If people want to be married, they should go through their church.

so you don't think I should be able to get "married" since I'm an atheist and it'll be by a Justice of the Peace? Interesting.

Those Justice of the Peace marriages are through Government.  In these marriages, replace the word marriage with union.  I think anyone should be able to form a union with anyone else as long as those folks are consenting adults.  Everything that come with marriage currently and all the rights married folks have now would be valid for these unions.  

The folks that want to get married would only be the religious folks who believe their union should be recognized through their church and thus by God.

135 Replies (last)
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