The above video, featuring some of my favorite people and places in my home city of Greensboro, NC, sums it up nicely. Please, if you live in North Carolina and haven’t already, be sure to vote no on Amendment 1 on May 8. You can skip the rest of the ballot if you like, but this one thing is vital. More after the jump.
Amendment 1 would add a new definition of what counts as a legally recognized union to the state constitution. Same-sex marriage is already illegal in NC, but this would go beyond that: Because of the way it’s worded, it invalidates any recognized union between anyone, gay or straight, that isn’t marriage.
Proponents have admitted it will force cities like Greensboro, which extend health insurance and other benefits to the partners of employees and their children, to revoke those benefits. That will, without exaggeration, result in children losing insurance coverage. That’s not an emotional ploy–it is a very real side effect of this amendment passing. Proponents claim that cities and employers will be able to remedy this by writing laws that circumvent the amendment (which makes you wonder why they want it on the books in the first place), but this is ignoring legal precedent set in Michigan, where courts invalidated such attempts.
And it gets worse: In other states that passed a similar law or amendment, defense attorneys in domestic violence cases used it to try and circumvent domestic violence laws when the victim and the accused were not married. Unlike the previous example, proponents are quick to point to legal precedent this time and note that courts eventually ruled this defense invalid. But that takes time. Why potentially endanger victims in the meantime, just to make something already illegal even more illegal?
There are other negative side effects to this amendment, which is so poorly worded and conceived that it may as well be written in crayon. Frankly, I shouldn’t even have to go into them, because the purpose of the thing is rooted in the worst aspects of the human spirit to begin with. Constitutions are not designed nor intended to limit rights, especially not the rights of minorities. The only Federal amendment to pass that limited rights of citizens was Prohibition, and it was a complete failure that had to be undone. Thus will be the fate of this state amendment and all like it: In fact, the state GOP has said as much. Why wreak so much havoc on the lives of our citizens in the meantime?
You may think I’m preaching to the choir here, and maybe I am. But it’s vital that you vote against this, because polls show we have a very real chance of defeating it. In fact, most citizens, even those opposed to gay marriage, turn against this amendment once the legal ramifications are explained to them. Only the most worthless of human beings would do otherwise.
We need your vote. We need your friends’ votes, and your family’s. It’s rare that an electoral choice can so immediately and obviously hurt citizens, but this is it. This isn’t a matter of voting for one rich man or the other one. A vote for Amendment 1 helps no one and hurts many, and I mean directly makes their lives worse. Not voting at all makes you just as morally culpable as a vote for, equivalent to watching a crime and doing nothing.
A vote against Amendment 1 has the potential to stop it. It has the actual power to prevent another person’s life from becoming worse. At the very least, when all is said and done, voting against puts you on the right side of history. Because someday, someone who wasn’t alive now and never had the chance to stand against so powerful a wrong is going to ask you what you did to stop it.