If you live in North Carolina, chances are good that you’ve heard a lot about Amendment One, which is on the ballot tomorrow. Amendment One states that “marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized by this State.”
Our state constitution already outlaws gay marriage, so the reason for this amendment is not to protect the sanctity of traditional marriage.
In fact, I’m not sure what the reason for this amendment is. It has the potential to take away rights from many different groups of citizens- not only LGBT couples, but also unmarried victims of domestic violence, unmarried straight couples, and the children in those families. It doesn’t protect anything, except the notion of a small group of small-minded people regarding what is appropriate behavior according to their religious belief system.
I have not yet heard an explanation of why Amendment One is acceptable that did not reference religious beliefs. I’m an atheist, but I’m not anti-religion. I have many religious friends who use their beliefs as a reason to do good in the world. I use my personal moral beliefs to try and do the same. We’re on the same page, we’re just reading in different languages- but the meaning is still the same. They don’t force their beliefs on me; I don’t force my lack of belief on them. We respect and honor our differences. This is what our constitution is supposed to do, too- respect and honor that we are a state made up of many different groups of people. We are all citizens and deserve to have our beliefs respected and honored, not legislated. The same people that back Amendment One would be horrified if we suddenly began to write Buddhist tenets or Muslim laws into our constitution. Why is it ok, then, to try and write laws based on one group’s interpretation of Christian teachings?
Once, not that long ago, a group of small-minded people interpreted certain Christian teachings as meaning that it was unacceptable for people of different races to get married, and they made that interpretation the law in North Carolina. Looking back, we’re horrified that such bold racism was the standard. We have to stop Amendment One. We cannot let such bold homophobia become the law.
There are many reasons to vote against this amendment, and many people I respect have weighed in with their opinion on the matter. My conservative, evangelical friend Jimmy speaks out in this video. My liberal friend Matt writes about it on his blog. Progressive mom Ilina passionately describes her views on her blog. And in this article, even noted conservative John Hood presents thoughtful reasons he opposes the amendment.
There are many, many more examples and many, many more reasons to vote against this amendment. But for me, what it comes down to is this- do I want to support homophobia? Do I want to support bigotry? Do I want to support hate, instead of love?
Please vote against Amendment one tomorrow.