19 April 2012

Please vote against Amendment One

Question: How does Amendment One benefit the citizens of the state of North Carolina? Even when I remove the liberal prism from which I admittedly view the world and try as best I can to be objective, for the life of me, I can’t find a good answer. And that’s the best argument I can make for opposing it.

Certainly, there are those who would be harmed.

Passing the amendment would deny legal recognition of civil unions and benefits that accompany domestic partnerships across the state. A child of an unmarried parent could lose health coverage or even be taken away from a loving parent and denied visitation. Unmarried couples wouldn’t be able to make emergency medical decisions or potentially even visit one another in the hospital. It could invalidate trusts and wills and domestic violence protection orders. And who knows what other intended and unintended consequences?

But who does it help?

Even if you’re not keen on gays marrying each other, is it really worth the hassle and cost of a statewide referendum and lawsuits which would undoubtedly follow and the undeniable polarization and divisiveness it's causing? For what? For the majority to monopolize rights that they themselves are in no danger of losing? The lives of married heterosexuals won’t change one bit whether Amendment One passes or doesn’t.

One would think that the desired result of a constitutional amendment would be improvements to the quality of life of its citizens. Or at least some sort of economic gain for the state. This amendment does neither. Quite the opposite. It specifically harms a significant percentage of our population and threatens to damage the reputation of our state as a fair, friendly place to visit and do business.

The issue doesn't affect me directly. I’m a recently divorced straight man. I doubt I’ll ever get married again and if I do I’m pretty sure it will be to a woman. But the jury is still out on whom exactly my two young daughters will love. It wouldn't bother me one iota if it happens to be someone of their same gender. My hope for them is that they find true love and happiness in this life. It breaks my heart to think that their rights could be compromised and the legitimacy of their love nullified if they happen to love someone the State doesn't approve.

Where are the libertarians and anti-government throngs when you need them?

Like certain immigration laws, Amendment One is hardly thinly-veiled in its bigotry. It specifically attempts to identify a minority group to exclude and marginalize and strip away rights. It’s profiling. It’s the bully on the playground. It's separate water fountains revisited. It’s a big step backwards in the civil rights movement, for which this state played such a major role.

And it’s a slippery slope.

Maybe you’re not directly affected by this issue, either. But ask yourself: who will they come after next?

There are those who feel passionately on either side of the debate and will show up at the polls. For us, there’s no changing our minds. I’m appealing to the majority in the middle who may still be straddling the fence: If in doubt, please defer to a position of inclusion (not exclusion), open-mindedness (not close-mindedness), acceptance (not rejection) and tolerance (not intolerance).

Vote "No" on May 8.