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.

1 comment:

Stephen Raburn said...

Grasping for a silver lining this morning…. for whatever it might be worth, I can continue to claim that I live in a progressive, open-minded county (if not state). Seventy percent of voters in Durham County voted “No” to Amendment One yesterday. Orange and Wake, surrounding counties that include the cities of Chapel Hill and Raleigh, also overwhelmingly rejected the Amendment.

These three counties, collectively referred to as the Triangle, with its major universities, Research Triangle Park and high tech start-ups, just happens to be one of the more highly educated areas in the country (more PhD’s per capita than any other area in the country, etc.). Draw your own conclusions.

Ok, maybe I’m a little bitter this morning. But I’m thinking the Triangle should consider seceding from the state. Call me the Rick Perry of the Progressive movement. In the spirit of conference realignment among university athletic programs for which geography is irrelevant, maybe we can join a PAC-12 or Mountain West state. Durham, Oregon has a nice ring to it.

Or maybe take a page from the isolationists and build a fence around us to keep the undesirables out like they’re doing along the Mexican border. I’ll take an illegal alien crossing the border over a hate-filled bigot masquerading as a Christian any day.

I was born and raised in the Deep South and have a love/hate relationship with it (don’t ask me how it’s tilting today). When I decided to move back to the South from California to be closer to family, I picked North Carolina because it didn’t really feel like the South. Today it does. Today, it might as well be Mississippi. I had hoped to show the rest of the world that we were different.

I know this vote will taint the image of North Carolina, but please, everyone, know that there are pockets of enlightenment throughout the state. Seven counties voted “No” to the thinly-veiled bigotry of Amendment One, including counties with Charlotte, the state’s largest city; and Asheville, the state’s favorite bohemian hippie town. You may both join us in our move to Oregon.