North Carolina has on its primary ballot on Tuesday, May 8, 2012, a vote on Amendment 1, which is a noxious and hateful attempt to write discrimination into our state constitution in the form of an anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment. I’m proud to have partnered with Neighbors for Equality to work to spread the word about the vote, so that we can become the first southern state to defeat one of these constitutional amendments.
I remember when I first explained to my older daughter a few years ago what “being gay” meant, and how there were some people who thought it was wrong to be gay and to allow gay people to marry. Her response (and this was at age five): “Who cares who people love?” [Always the fashionista, she later came back with some important questions about what attire the spouses would wear at their wedding]. When I explained to her more recently about Amendment 1, her first reaction was fear that her friends with two moms would have to move away from North Carolina. So you can imagine – in a world where we are trying to convince LGBT teens that “It Gets Better” – how downright welcoming something like this makes gays and lesbians feel in our state.
She was thrilled to join me as part of the Vote Against photo project celebrating the people of North Carolina against Amendment 1 and I think our picture turned out amazing:
The thing is, gay marriage is already against the law in North Carolina by statute. N.C. Gen. Stat. §51-1.2 (marriages between persons of the same gender not valid). But the North Carolina legislature decided that wasn’t anti-gay enough. You know, later legislatures might change the law, because that’s what legislatures are supposed to do from time to time, and then – ohmygod – all people in all loving relationships could marry and have their stable loving families recognized by the state. I know. You’re thinking – that would totally suck make complete sense.
Amendment 1 is harmful on so many levels beyond its outright bigotry. I’m a former lawyer, and even a quick read illustrates that the amendment was written overbroadly to ban not only civil unions and domestic partnerships for LGBT couples, but also for straight couples in unmarried relationships, thereby eliminating protections, rights, and benefits for their partners and their children. Here’s the language:
- Ban civil unions
- Strip domestic partnership benefits in those municipalities that currently allow them
- Eliminate health care, prescription drug coverage and other benefits for public employees and their children receiving domestic partner benefits
- Threaten protections for all unmarried couples – straight and gay – in North Carolina, including domestic violence protection for unmarried women. [This is not hypothetical – it already happened in Ohio].
- Threaten existing child custody and visitation rights for children of all unmarried relationships.
Most of all, Amendment 1 would ENSHRINE HATE AND FEAR in our state constitution and allow the majority to vote on the civil – the human – rights of our LGBT family members, friends, colleagues, and neighbors.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
1. GET INFORMED about all the BROAD HARMS of AMENDMENT 1. Visit The Coalition to Protect All NC Families for all the latest information on voting and organizing, and for The Truth About Amendment 1 – a PDF document that you can share with friends and family.
2. RAISE YOUR VOICE. Lots of like-minded people simply don’t know Amendment 1 is on the primary ballot. Because even the civic minded among us sometimes skip primaries if there aren’t contested races in our parties, or if we are independent voters unaffiliated with one of the major parties. So tell everyone you know ABOUT THE AMENDMENT’S HARMS and THAT THE VOTE IS MAY 8TH.
3. USE YOUR PLATFORMS. Got a blog? On Facebook or Twitter? Do you use Pinterest? Do you have email? (Or a voice? Or a pencil?) Then you’ve got a platform. Social media isn’t just for our everyday stories or for pinning home decorating porn (and yes, I have a board on Pinterest called “Home Decorating Porn.”) Social media can move mountains, foment revolutions, and ignite passion. Just this year we’ve stopped SOPA and decimated Rush Limbaugh’s advertising base. So MAKE SOME NOISE.
4. VOTE and ENCOURAGE OTHERS TO DO SO. Find your GROUP OF 20 – twenty people you can call or email to ensure that they know about Amendment 1 and are committed to making it to the ballot box to VOTE AGAINST.
My family raises its voice to stand with ALL FAMILIES. Will yours?