Our local paper here in Moore County still won’t print the full text of the constitutional amendment we’re voting on in May. And why would they? It makes it so much easier to mischaracterize and JUST PLAIN LIE about the amendment when you keep people in the dark about what it really says.
It’s tough being a leftist these days. The state Democrat Party is torn up with scandal and controversy. Barry Obama is going down like The Titanic in November. Those vile Republicans are getting ready to take complete control of the Executive and Legislative branches of state government. The lefties are also getting ready to lose their majority in North Carolina’s congressional delegation. They are losing their grip on so many things, lately, that sanity is sure to follow.
Instead of debating the issues, the lefties — those creatures of tolerance and compassion — are pulling out all the stops with some pretty hardcore name-calling.
If you dare to criticize Barry Obama, you — sir — are a bigot. If you dare to support this constitutional amendment which reaffirms the laws of nature, as well as hundreds and hundreds of years of custom in western civilization, you are a know-n0thing Bible-thumping extremist who wants to turn back the clock on “progress” in this country. AND you are a bigot.
Our local paper here in Moore County — whose editorial page is starting to resemble that of The Soviet Union’s Pravda — put out an unsigned editorial today which follows THAT line of attack beautifully:
Amendment One appears at the very bottom of the May 8 primary ballot. That’s somehow appropriate, since it is beneath the dignity of a great and enlightened state like North Carolina.
This proposed amendment to the state’s constitution, which voters will have a chance to approve or reject, doesn’t just outlaw same-sex marriages. It goes a step further than similar laws in other states by banning civil unions as well. It deserves defeat.
The amendment has a lot of support from groups that call themselves conservative. But, as we have noted before in this space, that seems more than a little ironic. After all, aren’t conservatives the ones who are always complaining, often justifiably, about anything that smacks of Big Brother government thrusting its clumsy hands into our private lives? That is certainly what is going on here.
Seeking to Make Bias Permanent
From a strictly practical standpoint, there is no earthly need to go to all this trouble and expense to enshrine this officially sanctioned bias in our state constitution, since same-sex marriages are already illegal here. But for advocates of the amendment, a simple law is not enough. They want to be able to write this prohibition into the state’s fundamental governmental document, where it will presumably be set in concrete for all time.
Two things about that should trouble all thinking North Carolinians:
— Our constitutions, both state and federal, primarily set forth the rights of citizens and limit the power of various governmental entities to infringe on those rights. It would be wrong to modify that document by inserting something that itself narrows personal rights rather than broadening them.
— Many proponents of the amendment make no bones of the fact that they know majority attitudes on this subject will change over the years as a more tolerant younger generation grows to adulthood. N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis said as much the other day.
So what we have here is an unabashed effort by one generation to impose its own intolerance and doctrinal zealotry on future ages that are unlikely to share those attitudes. That effort to clamp the dead hand of the past on the future seems pretty arrogant and controlling.
Dictatorial and Discriminatory
Logic aside, many people are simply uncomfortable with the concept of same-sex marriage, and that’s understandable. Therefore, they should not engage in it themselves. And if they’re religious, they should make a point of joining religious organizations that share their views and refuse to perform gay marriages. What they shouldn’t do is attempt to impose their own prejudices on others, restricting their right to live their lives as they see fit — and largely for blatantly political reasons.
Besides being unnecessary, Amendment One is dictatorial, demeaning and discriminatory. Here’s hoping it will soon be dead.
State House Majority Leader Paul Stam has a great rebuttal to this kind of media disinformation:
On May 8, 2012 the voters will decide whether this provision should be added to the State Constitution:
“Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State. This Section does not prohibit a private party from entering into contracts with another private party; nor does this section prohibit courts from adjudicating the rights of private parties pursuant to such contracts.”
This Marriage Amendment would recognize only domestic legal unions between one man and one woman. Domestic partnerships or civil unions, whether opposite-sex or same-sex, would not be valid or recognized here. The Amendment would prohibit the government from creating “same sex marriage”
The meaning of “legal union” as a judicially recognized status is concrete and clear in the context of family relationships. In federal law, “’marriage’ means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife…” 1 U.S.C. §7 (2005). This definition of marriage in federal law is consistent with the long-standing definition: marriage is the “[l]egal union of one man and one woman as husband and wife.” BLACK’S LAW DICTIONARY 876 (5th ed. 1979). The word “domestic” was added to the words “legal union” to clarify that other legal arrangements, such as business partnerships, would not be affected by this amendment.
Any benefits extended by government to a person based on a domestic legal union other than marriage would be prohibited. But Government could still extend employment benefits that impact or benefit non-married domestic households. The extension of such benefits, however, could not be predicated only upon the status of a domestic relationship other than marriage. For example, a city could still allow an employee to pick one other person of his or her choice to be the beneficiary for health insurance.
The second sentence of the Amendment makes clear that the Amendment would not prohibit private companies from entering into private contracts based on relationships chosen by the company. Private employers, for example, could continue to offer domestic partnership or civil union benefits to an employee’s same sex or opposite sex partner. The Amendment would prohibit the government from forcing a company to provide such benefit.
During the debate I was amazed at the baseless claims made by opponents. Several continue to be repeated by the media. Let’s set the record straight:
1. The Marriage Amendment will not adversely affect North Carolina’s economy. A 2011report by the American Legislative Exchange Council ranked states by economic performance between 1999 and 2009 and by economic outlook. 8 of the top 10 economically performing states have marriage amendments. None have legalized same sex marriage, civil unions or domestic partnerships. 9 of the 10 states forecasted to have the poorest economic growth have legalized same sex marriage, civil unions and/or domestic partnerships.
2. The Marriage Amendment Will Not Affect The Enforcement Of Domestic Violence Laws. Opponents would have you think the Amendment obliterates our domestic violence law. The cases they use as authority are Ohio appellate cases later overturned by the Ohio Supreme Court which found the domestic violence statutes consistent with the state’s marriage amendment. In Kansas the outcome was the same. Marriage amendments have had no effect on the enforcement of domestic violence statutes. 30 other states have marriage amendments. In all 30 states domestic violence laws continue to be enforced. I have read and reread our domestic violence statutes. I am unable to even comprehend the logic of this objection.
3. Legally Recognizing Only Heterosexual Marriage Isn’t Discrimination Against Homosexuals Wanting To Marry. Marriage between a man and a woman has existed in virtually every known society. It has served the purpose of channeling procreative sexual activity into an institution which will provide a stable environment for children produced from the sexual union of the partners in marriage. Recognizing that heterosexual marriage has provided the best environment for the rearing of future citizens North Carolina has regulated marriage for at least 340 years. Same sex marriage is an entirely different relationship with a completely different purpose. Expanding the marital institution to other relationships which serve completely different purposes ultimately undermines the institution which has proven to be the best and safest environment for children.
4. The Amendment Will Not Nullify Medical Powers of Attorney (MPOAs), Wills and Trusts if the parties are homosexual partners.
Under G.S. 32A-18 “any competent person who is not engaged in providing health care to the principal for renumeration, and who is 18 years of age or older, may act as a health care agent.” The relationship between the patient and the designated agent does not matter. The intent of the testator and trustor is the “gold standard” in NC for interpreting wills and trusts. The Amendment does not change the intent of the testator in either type of these instruments. The Amendment explicitly states that it will not affect the rights of parties to enter into private contractual agreements.
5. The Marriage Amendment Will Not Determine the Custody and Visitation Rights of Unmarried Parents Unless Their Behavior Affects the Child. Custody orders are based on the “parent”/child relationship, not on the domestic relationship between the “parents”. Courts have based custody and visitation on the “best interest of the child.” NCGS 50-13.2(2007) The sexual behavior of the party petitioning for custody or visitation is not determinative except as it affects the child.
The “de facto parenting doctrine” was applied in 2010 in Boseman v. Jarrell. The Supreme Court refused to allow adoption to an unmarried same sex partner but did award joint custody and visitation rights to that non-biological same sex partner who had become a de facto parent to the child.
There is a real threat to the institution of marriage. In several states same sex marriage has been imposed upon the people by courts that have engaged in tortured judicial reasoning – Massachusetts and Iowa for example. These courts have used the state constitutions to reverse the very pro marriage policies that were in effect when the state constitution was adopted.
Now it’s happening in North Carolina. Same sex couples in Asheville went to the Courthouse for two weeks last fall seeking to obtain marriage licenses. A lawsuit was filed by the Register of Deeds of Guilford County in December challenging our state’s marriage laws and asking the Court to declare them unconstitutional because they don’t allow same-sex partners to “marry”.
This Marriage Amendment will ensure that marriage between one man and one woman will be protected from result-oriented judges.