However, Amendment One is different. I picked up a yard sign a month ago. I voted during one of the first few early voting days. Everyone here has voted early, except for younger (13 yo) son, who said that he wished he could vote against it.
For those who are not in NC, Amendment One reads:
Constitutional Amendment to provide that marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State.
Amendment One makes me so angry because it's unnecessary, frivolous, badly written, un-American, un-Biblical, bigoted, and immoral.
- Unnecessary: Gay marriage isn't legal in NC anyway. There's a 1996 law saying that same-sex marriages aren't valid in NC. This is just enshrining this law in the NC Constitution.
- Frivolous: NC used to be a great place to find jobs. Now, unemployment in NC is fifth highest in the nation. Traditional, working-class, NC jobs in industries like tobacco and textiles have disappeared, and they haven't been replaced. We have environmental issues, health issues, infrastructure issues, etc. Yet, we're wasting time, money, and energy on an unnecessary amendment!
- Badly written: The intended consequences are bad enough, but the wording could lead to various unintended consequences. Children may lose insurance, cohabitating couples may lose domestic violence protections.
- Un-American: I have yet to read or hear a good argument for the amendment. Most rely on religious premises - establishing state policy based on the religious values of some churches (Some arguments rely on tradition). You can practice your religion all you want - you can't strait-jacket others with it. This nation was founded on freedom of religion.
- Un-Biblical: Those in favor say that we need to keep to a Biblical view of marriage. Really? Old Testament or New Testament? If we're talking Old Testament, then we need to legalize polygamy (and we need to close all the restaurants down at the coast that serve those delicious shellfish). If we're talking New Testament, then, according to Matthew 19: 8 - 10, divorce should be illegal. My apologies to those who are divorced for pointing this out, but, there it is, in the first book of the New Testament. If you're going to be Biblical, don't just pick and choose.
- Bigoted: There is no logical way around that last argument. I've looked. I have yet to read a logical argument which allows heterosexual divorce but prohibits gay marriage. If you have one, please mention it in the comments. Traditional views of marriage didn't used to allow divorce. Churches didn't used to allow divorce. Churches didn't even used to approve of artificial birth control.
I do not throw the word bigoted around lightly. I use in this case because same sex couples are being held to a Biblical standard that heterosexual couples are not held to - and the vast majority of the arguments for the Amendment are religious. If the Amendment said that marriage was between only one man and one woman (i.e. no divorce), it would sink without a trace.
- Immoral: Why should marriage change for people who are straight but not for people who are gay and lesbian? Why should the majority gain the freedom to expand their ability to marry, remarry, and conduct their marriages as they want (birth control) but the minority cannot marry at all?! It's not because of the Bible, because we allow for divorce under any circumstances which is not Biblical. It's not because of tradition, because we've changed plenty of traditions regarding marriage (nobody wants to go back to the symbolism regarding the white wedding dress!). Is there any explanation besides a bigotry which says that divorce is okay because straight people are like us, but same sex marriage is bad because those people are different?
The 1996 law was bad enough. Now, the amendment would enshrine bigotry in the NC Constitution. This time I wasn't holding my nose and voting. I was voting while breathing fire.
The robo-calls on my phone today have said "All children need a mother and father." So - we're going to what - forbid divorce? - go back to shotgun marriages? No, this need for a mother and father applies only to the children of same sex couples. The commonly heard rhetoric for this Amendment makes no sense.
Quite frankly, I don't understand why people have a problem with same sex marriage in the first place. Fears of rampaging hordes of gay and lesbian customers registering china patterns? If two people of the same gender get married, you have another marriage. That's it.
I'm not impartial on this one. I have too many friends and relatives who are gay and lesbian. I've heard their stories and the ways they've been hurt. This unnecessary Amendment just hurts them further and enshrines their second-class status.
It's just mean.
- I've written this post in my head for the last few weeks, but I can't type it out to be as good as I would like so I'm going to leave it as it is. Maybe I should have just posted this video instead - he says it so much better than I have. Here is Reverend Dr. William J. Barber, the pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, NC speaking on the Amendment [Hat tip to the friend who posted it on Facebook]:
* My only (current) bumper sticker says: "Got Moose?"