On May 8th, voters at the polls for the presidential Republican primary will see a referendum on their ballot for an amendment to the North Carolina constitution. You will have the option to vote for or against this amendment, and the text will read, “Constitutional amendment to provide that marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized by this state.” I implore you to disregard prejudice and partisanship and vote against Amendment One.
I would like to make one thing absolutely clear: you do not have to support same sex marriage to vote against this amendment. Same sex marriage is already illegal in North Carolina, but Amendment One will ban civil unions and take away domestic partnership benefits offered by several local governments in North Carolina. According to the Huffington Post and Equality NC, the amendment could create “legal chaos” that could take away health coverage from children of unmarried parents, whether gay or straight, and threaten visitation and child custody rights for unmarried couples and the right of one unmarried partner to make emergency medical and financial decisions for the other.
Amendment One also spells bad news for women; in Ohio, a similar amendment was used in court to argue that unmarried women were no longer protected by domestic violence statutes, endangering women and children until the Ohio Supreme Court threw out that defense three years after the amendment was passed.
In the cases of children’s health care and domestic violence, your views on gay marriage should not decide whether rights are taken away from children and women who undoubtedly deserve them.
Amendment One could deter businesses looking to move to North Carolina. Facebook co-founder and North Carolinian Chris Hughes stated, “The amendment would effectively show that his state ‘does not welcome the diverse workforce that any state needs to compete in the international marketplace’…the next Facebook, Apple, or Google could be created by another North Carolinian, so be mindful of how you treat them and their families.”
Finally, if you are religiously opposed to gay marriage, consider this. Another first amendment—the First Amendment to the United States Constitution—guarantees that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Denying people legal rights based on your religious belief is a mockery of the principles upon which this country was founded. Besides, Christian leaders of many denominations—Rev. Michael Curry, the bishop of the Episcopal diocese of North Carolina; Rev. Mark Burnham of First Presbyterian Church in Asheville; and Rev. T. Anthony Spearman, the president of the NC-NAACP and senior pastor of Clinton Tabernacle AME Zion Church in Hickory, just to name a few—have already pledged opposition to Amendment One. Many young adults, the future of our state, realize the detriment Amendment One will cause, so much so that that the UNC system Association of Student Governments, representing all 17 schools in the UNC system, voted to express opposition to the amendment.
Please help support the fight for equality in North Carolina. Go to the polls on May 8, and vote against Amendment One.
The North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics