North Carolina Looks to Outlaw Already-Illegal Same-Sex Marriage

Amid excitement over the newly-minted same-sex marriages in New York, North Carolina’s legislature is considering an amendment to the state constitution that would outlaw same-sex marriage. Although Carrboro and Chapel Hill allow all couples to register as domestic partners, a state statute already bans same-sex marriage in the state. While the House’s proposed amendment only addresses marriage, the Senate’s version would extend to all forms of partnership.

North Carolina representatives have pushed for years to get an amendment passed. They believe that with a Republican majority in place, this could be the year. Even so, it didn’t make it to the floor during the General Assembly’s regular session. Paul Stam, the House majority leader, said it could come up for a vote during a special session in the fall and Thom Tillis, the House speaker, believes that if it does, the House will pass the bill.

If the bill passes, it could go to voters as early as 2012. This could be good news for NC couples and reasonable people everywhere. An Elon University poll shows that support for an anti-equality amendment had fallen nine percent in the past two years to 35 percent. But you know what they say about the more things change… Earlier this year, Minnesota passed a similar bill and is poised to join the other 29 states where gay marriage is double illegal.

Although the bill hasn’t been officially taken up in either the House or Senate, groups on both sides of the debate are getting ready to fight. Playing for team right we have LGBT rights group Faith in AmericaUniversalist Unitarian leaders and university and community centers around the state. On the losing side of history are the usual suspects: NOM, conservative Christians and (unfortunately) university and community centers around the state.

via: the bilerico project

While introducing gay-ish legislation to voters hasn’t done much for us in the past (see: Prop 8), if Elon’s poll is any indication, people could be coming around. It’s true that a vote against the bill wouldn’t do anything to advance equality, but it could signal a change in the community. As the only southeastern state without an anti-gay amendment in place, North Carolina has a lot riding on the upcoming decision. Let’s hope its neighbors are taking notes; everyone deserves Southern hospitality.

Laura is a tiny girl who wishes she were a superhero. She likes talking to her grandma on the phone and making things with her hands. Strengths include an impressive knowledge of Harry Potter, the ability to apply sociology to everything under the sun, and a knack for haggling for groceries in Spanish. Weaknesses: Chick-fil-a, her triceps, girls in glasses, and the subjunctive mood. Follow the vagabond adventures of Laura and her bike on twitter [@laurrrrita].

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33 Comments

  1. We get rights, someone else wants to take them away. It feels like a homo-hokey pokey.

    You get gay marriage in, you get gay marriage out,
    You get gay marriage in, and you shake the rights about!
    Do the legal-hokey-pokey, putting rainbows all around,
    Now all the gays come out!

  2. I’m really hoping this doesn’t happen. As I’m originally from Massachusetts, NC can never really compare, but it actually has grown on me in the 8 years I’ve been year (though I’m sure it wouldn’t be nearly as fun if I didn’t live in Chapel Hill). Either way, it’s a beautiful state and it would break my heart for it to get even more fucked up than it already is.

  3. Having grown up here, I notice that more and more people seem increasingly live-and-let-live about gay rights. Yes, Republicans most definitely included. Even if the rural areas do their damnedest and the more high-strung conservative churches raise hell, I can’t see either version of the bill coming to pass. The liberal and moderate churches have gained a lot of popularity in recent years and will likely balance out the homophobic rhetoric. I’m cautiously optimistic but I think the strides we’ve taken nationally on this issue have had a large, positive impact on the cultural attitudes in NC.

    Assuming the bill passes– I think that by 2012, there’ll be enough conservatives (namely people who may have been fully opposed to gay marriage a few years ago) who will opt to not vote on the issue should the House or Senate’s version comes up for a vote. With every passing year it’s pretty clear NC is becoming more and more socially progressive on gay rights.

    small PS, It’s spelled Carrboro*

    • Yeah, I agree with this. I also grew up in NC– granted, in Asheville, which is probably one of the more liberal areas (and I think it also recognizes domestic partnerships, or it’s at least passed and will go into effect soon?), but I’ve seen it and other areas of North Carolina go from moderate to fairly liberal over the past 10 years or so.

      I think/hope the rural areas and fundamentalist mega churches are a minority, but a lot of the state’s pretty swing vote-y. So it’s going to depend how much they push the scare tactics, I feel like.

  4. I have been pissed about this for months. Mark Hilton, co-sponsor of the bill and my own lovely representative, recently e-mailed me back hoping we could “disagree agreeably” because he “believes that traditional marriage must be protected from judicial activism.” Last time I checked, civil rights wasn’t an issue you could agree to disagree on. I really didn’t expect anything different with the e-mail or even the bill itself, but I am angry regardless.

    • I don’t believe it’s possible to disagree agreeably when some one is trying to deny your rights based on religious beliefs. You should write back and insist as much and ask which traditional marriage he is defending? The one where women were property? The one where people of different races weren’t allowed to marry? The one were men were allow many wives?

  5. Yeah, it’s already illegal- but not immune from an assault by left-wing judges who regard themselves as so much more enlightened than everyone else. We have reached a point where the very idea of popular sovereignty is under assault. ‘Fundamental rights’ are not simply determined by lawyers. No federal appellate court has ever recognized a right to marry a member of the same sex, and no court is NC has either. When there is disagreement about fundamental rights, it is resolved through a democratic mechanism (e.g. a referendum). Furthermore, it is so cynical for people who support redefining marriage to say the amendment isn’t needed because there is already a statute defining marriage in the normal way.

    Do you folks honestly think that NC is more liberal on this issue than ME? Or CA? Or FL? Florida’s amendment passed with 62% in 2008- as Obama was carrying the state 52-48. According to CNN’s exit poll, it had support from 71% of African-Americans (the highest level of support of any ethnic group) and 47% of Democrats. Are those voters all bigoted, fundamentalist reactionaries too? Do those African-Americans not know how to identify true discrimination? Incidentally, whereas only about 25% of the Democratic vote in FL is from African-Americans, in NC, 45% of the Democratic vote is from African-Americans. The ballot measure is going to expose very unflattering divisions within the Democratic party- between the generally white liberal gentry and the more religious working class.

    If MN’s legislature approved a marriage amendment, do you honestly think NC’s wouldn’t? There are 5 Democratic co-sponsors of the bill in the House and are certainly more who will vote for it when it comes to the floor. It will have between 76 and 93 votes in the House and between 31 and 37 votes in the Senate.

    Finally, if you don’t like NC, don’t live in NC. People have been voting with their feet for decades- and they have been leaving the Northeast, which has defined itself as a liberal utopia. If you want to live there, live there. It couldn’t be simpler.

    • …all I have to say is no, it’s not as simple as living where you want. People are tied to places for a myriad of reasons–I’m personally stuck in NC right now for several, though I’d rather not be, I don’t have the means to move.

      And people like where they live. NC can be a lovely place with a lot of cool, appealing things. It’s not as simple as live in a place you like.

    • Hi Mike,
      And I’m really sorry to tell you this, but you’re wrong. Normally, I don’t make such baldly assertive statements on The Intertubes of all places, but there’s really no room for equivocation in the matter.
      You’re just plain wrong. Sorry.

      “The institution of marriage”, whatever that may be, is not under ‘assault’ by left wing judges. Marriage, as a social construct, changes with the times. Fifty years ago in your fine state of North Carolina, a black person could not marry a white person. It would have been against ‘traditional’ values.
      Funnily enough, some left wing judges decided that that probably wasn’t fair, and made some judicial adjustments. Would you care to argue that they were in the wrong? Should they have allowed miscegenation laws to remain on the books?
      Fifty years before that, left-wing activist judges decided that a woman was not chattel–you know, property?–of her man; that she was an independent sapient being with all the rights and privileges bestowed upon her thereof. But that went against the ‘traditional’ mold, and was wildly unpopular back in the day.
      Should we return to that instead?

      If you want to be a truly Traditional Marriage Purist, by all means be my guest. I hear it’s still very popular in places like Saudi Arabia and Iran.
      You can always vote with your feet, you know. If you don’t like those silly liberal leftist judges changing your version traditional marriage, you are by all means welcome to take your sweet self and get gone.

      As for putting rights up to a referendum and popular vote?
      Fuck that.
      There’s this thing, called a tyranny of the majority. Google it, and having googled it, pray to whatever diety helps you sleep at night that you are never so unfortunate as to find yourself in the position of the minority whose rights are being determined by others.
      Until then, why don’t you educate yourself so you don’t look stupid in front of the whole wide internet.

    • Mike P,

      If the senate bill passes the house and people support the measure it will be proof that the state does not want to provide same-sex couples with the same rights as a heterosexual married couple. Mike, it is one thing for the state to ban same-sex marriage but why change the law to prevent prevent same-sex couples recieving the same rights as a married couple? As a gay person, Im sure most GLBT would leave NC if they could, but its not that simple and you know it. I wonder why heterosexual people such as yourself continually troll GLBT websites, A straight agenda? – You bet.

  6. Mike,

    As an NC college student who hopes to stay in-state after graduation, I can say one thing for young queers here: we are bright. We are educated. And we have so much we could contribute to North Carolina. As a matter of fact, many of us love it here and don’t want to leave. With the economic realities of the world, your little corner of it could use energetic college grads like us to settle in Raleigh or Chapel Hill or Asheville or even Charlotte, to work in your industries and create jobs for your children.

    And yet, you’d throw all that away because you have hate in your heart and you can’t stand the sight of two women or two men in love. If this amendment is passed, you can say goodbye to us, and it really is your loss. Trust me.

  7. Hello Ava,

    You can think I’m wrong all day. The difference between you and I is that I do not make the extraordinary claim that every policy I think is a good idea is required by the state or federal constitution. I can speak for my church, the Catholic Church, which never opposed interracial marriage. Incidentally, you need to explain why the vast majority of black people do not support same-sex marriage: are they all bigots? Why do they not see this obvious historical parallel you are attempting to draw? Furthermore, most states did not, in fact, have laws prohibiting interracial marriage at the time Loving v. Virginia was decided. As for ‘treating women as chattel,’ I am not sure which case you are referring to, but I do know that the reason women can vote is because of a constitutional amendment- and that’s the proper way for it to happen. If you want to force same-sex marriage on NC, then pass a law or propose your own constitutional amendment. But if you insist on litigating in order to get your way, you can hardly blame those of us who actually want the people to have a say for fighting to let them have a say. You act as if everyone agrees what all rights are. Of course, nobody does. There are profound disagreements about whether there is, for example, a ‘right’ to discriminate against various people. If there is disagreement about rights, it is best worked out in a democratic fashion: that is, through legislative vote or referendum. If you think that a judge should basically determine everything about what is good, or true, or noble, it is not clear to me what role the population should have in governing themselves. They can be told by the Nietzschean ubermensches what they ought to think.

    Autolurker,

    If you are so convinced that passing this amendment will cause an exodus from NC, how do you explain the fact that states with marriage amendments actually have much higher population growth rates and interstate migration rates than states without marriage amendments? See here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_population_growth_rate and here http://pewsocialtrends.org/2008/12/17/u-s-migration-flows/. What attracts people is not marriage law. It is low taxes and less regulation. And you can trust me about that, as someone who has spent much of his time in the Northeastern states.

    • Hi Mike,
      First of all, thanks for the reply–it’s always good to have a civil discourse, especially when one finds oneself on the opposite end of an ideological divide. Be warned, though: the reply is a doozy. While I’m all for pithy soundbites, they’re not condusive to a discussion of politics.

      That having been said; I won’t apologize or water down my comment. In the realm of civil rights, there is no room for equivocation; it might be because I’m Canadian, but I’m firm in the belief that all (fully recognized–immigration is a different kettle of fish entirely) citizens are entitled to certain unalienable rights.
      One can’t say, “Population X has a full complement of rights and privileges, but ahh, I’m sorry Population B, you can only have rights i, ii and iii.” Civil rights either apply to all, or to none, which was the case with suffrage (ALL citizens above X age must be able to vote, or else none might), as well as the majority of civil rights litigation (ALL American citizens must have equal rights, or else none will). Do you see my drift here?
      As an outside observer, it seems incredibly twisted–and indeed perverse–to parcel out civil rights as though they were of limited quantity.
      In addition, though I WISH I had made an extraordinary claim (how cool, to be extra-anything), I have not. Nor have I claimed that everything I think is spiffy should become a constitutional amendment. If that was the case, you can bet there’d be Same-Sex Sunday every day of the week.
      What I HAVE stated is that civil rights are the foundation of a stable and effective democracy, and that the current system in the US privileges certain subsets of citizens over others–when it needn’t do so, and when CHANGING that unfairness would do absolutely no harm (if anything, it’d probably help matters–North Carolina is beautiful, and I’m sure there’d be loads of gays willing to pump pink dollars into your state’s economy).

      In regards to the Catholic position on miscegenation, I say this with full sincerity: congratulations on being on the right side of history in regards to miscegenation. It’s a wonderful thing when organized religion works as it ought to, and supports the downtrodden that are its flock.
      Now, if you could convince them to do the same THIS time around, I’d appreciate it!
      In regards to the lukewarm support for SSM in the African-American community–I’d say that a lot of that revolves around two things:
      One, statistics from the Barna Group show that African American congregants are a)a churchgoing population, b)more religious, on average, then their caucasian counterparts and c)far more likely to adhere to biblican orthodoxy. The Barna Statistic states that “77% of Blacks hold an orthodox perspective on the nature of God.” In addition, “They strongly agree that the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches”, and that they are more likely then Caucasians and Hispanics to hold a literalist/scriptural view.
      [http://www.barna.org/faith-spirituality/510-major-faith-shifts-evident-among-whites-blacks-and-hispanics-since-1991]
      Consequently, they are more likely to ‘toe the party line’ in regards to GLBT rights, and often (and unfortunately), the party line is unfriendly to GLBT populations.
      In addition, Wikipedia tells me that 78% of African American individuals adhere to some branch of Protestantism–which in its iteration as Baptist and Pentecostalism, tends to be relatively hostile to GLBT concerns. That, combined with the Black community’s tendency towards scriptural literalism, is fairly self-evidently a main contributor to their lack of enthusiasm for LGBT causes.

      Secondly, and this is less social-sciency and more conjecture-y, it seems like people have gotten it into their heads that ‘If someone else gets rights, there will be less for me’. I mean, this isn’t just a ‘Black’ phenomena. You see it all over the place. “If gays can marry, IT’LL RUIN MY MARRIAGE!” Why? Will the passage of equal marriage make you instantly run out and get divorced? I would wager that, subconsciously, that current runs through a great deal of the antipathy towards gay marriage–if X people get Y rights, then will someone be taking away my right to Z?

      In regards to different states having different statues re: SSM or Loving v Virginia–as a canadian, it doesn’t seem quite right to me. After all–how can one be LESS of a citizen in Arkansas and more of a citizen in New York? Either you’re a citizen, with the full complements of rights thereof, or you’re not. There shouldn’t be a middle ground wherein some states can curtail a civil right–at least, I don’t think so.

      The ‘women as chattel’ comment is based on the history of ‘traditional’ marriage, not a legal case (though I’m sure I could find one–as if this comment wasn’t long enough!). TRADITIONALLY, a woman’s husband was selected for her by her parents (read: father) for some social or economic gain. Prior to the wedding, she remained her father’s daughter, that is–his chattel to do with as he wished (read up on the Rule of Thumb. Awesome.) Most weddings included a dowry, with some versions also including a ‘bride’s gift’ (read: bride price). At the wedding, the father ‘gave away’ his daughter, escorting her down the aisle and bodily handing her into the control of her new husband–from which point on she was HIS chattel, and he could do what he pleased with her and whatever finances she might have brought into the relationship.
      That is truly the ‘traditional’ version of marriage, but it’s the rare few I see fighting to bring it back. Obviously, the concept of ‘wedding’ can change from ‘business arrangement’ to ‘love match’, so it’s not a static institution by any means.
      As for litigating to get ones’ way–there MUST be litigation. Leaving civil rights to a referendum or popular vote is the very definition of the Tyranny of the Majority–wherein the many are allowed to decide the rights of the few, often with piss poor results.
      For example: in the early Colonial days, Catholics were not extremely welcome. The majority of settlers took a fairly dim view (having been founded by Protestants and all), and had they been able to, they probably would have banded together to restrict the rights of Catholics.
      Or, more recently: There were more whites then blacks in the south, and we let the majority decide what rights the minority should have. As any passing glance at a history book will tell you, that shit didn’t turn out so well.
      Sunni and Shi’ia, the same damn deal. The same with the Kurds, and the Ugyars and just about any other possible minority.
      History has taught us that the majority are really shitty arbiters of civil rights, because they power trip and get cruel. So no, I’m not a fan of ‘lets everyone vote on someone’s rights’, because that, while strictly PURE democracy, leaves smaller groups open to victimization by larger ones–which in the case of civil rights, can be really fucking dangerous.
      I’d also argue that the average Joe Schmoe will not have a very good idea of the question at hand–how many people still believe that gays molest kids on a higher average (even when that’s been shown over and over and OVER to be false)? Gut instinct will be the arbiter of the vote, and between you and me, I’d rather have someone who has spent their entire life studying The Law be the deciding factor. After all, would you trust Jim-Bob McFuckwit with your rights? Doubt it!

      I’d also like to add that we’re not talking about CREATING rights here. You say that “there is a disagreement about what rights are”–which I will agree with you on. HOWEVER, we are not pulling a new right out of thin air.
      The entire SSM is simply to EQUALIZE the playing field. The right exists (consenting adult heterosexuals may choose to marry). Consequently, if a RIGHT exists and is considered ‘valid’, it should apply to ALL. Otherwise, we run into the ‘everyone is equal, some just more than others’ trap.

  8. Ava,

    I certainly agree it is good to have a civil discourse. I did not, however, ask you to water down your comment at all. I do not think that the right to marry a member of the same sex is the same as the right to marry a member of the opposite sex. Marriage is not simply about love. There are abiding loves between parents and children, siblings, friends, etc.; marriage is also about children. The reason that marriage has always been understood to be a union of a man and a woman is that it takes a man and a woman to make a child. In other words, it is based on biology, not bigotry. To deny this is to deny basic sexual difference, which is the basis of procreation. Marriage’s basis in biology explains its universality in human cultures (you can read Justinian’s Code or the current Chinese Civil Code to understand how universal the idea is). Here is my question for you: on what basis does the law say ‘no’ to some marriage claim? Can siblings marriage each other? Can three people marry each other? Is there any principle that would justify same-sex marriage that would not also justify polygamy? Usually, proponents of same-sex marriage rely on a principle such as ‘the government must recognize as marriage any relationship anyone wishes to engage in based on their sexual preference’ or, more simply, ‘love makes a family.’ If these principles are taken seriously, there is no reason not to allow these other exotic relationships to be called ‘marriage.’ The fact that proponents of same-sex marriage are unable to put forth an exclusionary principle is evidence of the fundamental incoherence of the novel definition of marriage you are advancing. If you accuse me of making a ‘slippery slope’ argument, I will simply quote the following from Betty Friedan in the NY Times in 1981, discussing the debate over the then-defeated Equal Rights Amendment: “Discussion of [the ERA] bogged down in hysterical claims that the amendment would eliminate privacy in bathrooms, encourage homosexual marriage, put women in the trenches and deprive housewives of their husbands’ support.” The claims at that time were derided as ‘hysterical’ but it was only 15 years later that the Hawaii Supreme Court was ready to impose same-sex marriage by virtue of the ‘equal rights amendment’ in the Hawaii Constitution.

    My point about black people is not that they are automatically right about everything simply because they have been subject to oppression. My point is that the fact that most of them do not see discrimination where you do should give you some pause in making the interracial marriage analogy. I understand why the argument is made –there is (rightfully) an extreme well of guilt over racism in the U.S. that you’d like to tap into– but it makes no more accurate as an analogy. There is not ‘lukewarm support’ for same-sex marriage in the black community. There is strong opposition. How did Florida in 2008 vote 52-48 for Obama and 62-38 for the marriage amendment? Consider the only black-majority county in Florida, Gadsden county. It voted 69% for Obama and 74% for the marriage amendment. Incidentally, there are six such counties in North Carolina.

    My point about Loving v. Virginia is that it was not as if the Supreme Court was making some brave stand against the bigoted, unenlightened views dominating the country when it declared anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional. Most states did not have those laws at the time the decision came down. If every state had had them in 1967, it would be highly unlikely that the Supreme Court would have voided them. You place far more too much trust in the courts, which do not have as spotless a historical record as you suggest. Again, the courts did not, in fact, end slavery or achieve suffrage in the U.S. You say you do not want a ‘constitutional amendment’ for every policy- but that was not my claim. It is that you want the courts to do everything for you. I’d prefer if you would propose an amendment to redefine marriage and then let North Carolina voters vote on it.

    As for states having different laws, I can see why a Canadian might be miffed by it, but that is a fundamental part of us being the United ‘States.’ States have different laws about many things: for example, my birthplace of Connecticut will not recognize a firearms license from North Carolina. The public policies of the states are different on any number of issues. Domestic relations law has always been reserved to the states under the 10th Amendment.

    I suppose the difference between you and I is that you think voters should not be allowed to vote on anything that could be called a ‘right.’ I believe that this happens all the time, and unless there is near-universal agreement about the right, the people should be allowed to vote. I would, in fact, trust ‘Joe Schmoe’ with my rights sooner than I would most lawyers (judges) in this country. I do not think courts can be counted upon to pull our laws towards heaven.

    • What is it with you people and assuming that same-sex marriage leads to incest, bestiality, and polygamy? Honestly, you’re so perverse. It’s funny that you say marriages should be for biological reasons: brother and sister should be able to marry if they can reproduce, right? What about all the Biblical heroes and all their wives and scores of children? You want to talk about marriage-for-procreation, every man should be encouraged to marry multiple wives. But wait…that’s bad? Hold up, please clarify.

      I also like how with your argument, infertile heterosexual couples should not be able to marry, and every heterosexual couple should be mandated to reproduce. Oops, hold up, that doesn’t happen? Huh, THAT’s weird!

      Nice to pick and choose when you’re privileged and bigoted, isn’t it?

      Bottom line: You can argue all you want, but today and for the rest of the future, you’re going to be wrong.

    • Sorry, everyone, it seems like this is gonna be another long one!
      Mike, once again I am sorry, but I do think you’re wrong. After all, the biologically essentialist view is somewhat flawed, as PaperofFlowers points out. If the right to marry relies upon the ability to procreate, then the right to marriage should be limited only to fertile couples. So, no elderly individuals, no infertile people, no childfree couples–it’s an inherently flawed idea.
      I’d also like to point out that you don’t NEED a marriage to make a baby–illegitimate children are common as mushrooms in the historical record as well. I’d argue that the purpose of marriage, historically, has been to assure the husband that his line ostentibly remained pure, via controlling his ‘chattels’ access to other partners. Again, marriage as we know it today has only existed for about fifty years, which in the global timespan, is less then the blink of an eye. I’d also like to point out that a great many LGBT individuals -adopt- their children, which removes the necessity of biology and gives desperately needy children a loving, good home. (Also, scientific studies have shown that children raised by lesbians are every bit as well adjusted as children raised by heterosexuals (if not moreso in some cases [http://www.webmd.com/parenting/news/20100607/kids-of-lesbian-parents-are-well-adjusted]), so the Maggie Gallagher argument to think of the children please falls just a little stale.)
      I’d also point out that science has made a baby from two female mice, soooooo, everything else aside….. maaaaybe that whole hetero-sex-thing isn’t going to be as pivotal as we think soon. [http://www.gizmag.com/possibility-of-genetic-children-from-same-sex-couples/17228/]
      I would ALSO agree with you that marriage is not JUST about love. Marriage also carries with it certain privileges as a married individual when it comes to taxes, and health care. Namely, a SPOUSE may access their partner’s pension, and is legally considered to be next of kin and deciding factor in any necessary medical situations in which the individual is incapacitated. By denying same-sex couples the right to marriage, you deny long-term partners the ability to so much as sit beside their dying partners’ bedside, because they are not ‘next of kin’.
      Take, for example, the case of Lisa Pond. She was a lesbian in a committed, long term relationship–with children!–and then she fell ill with a brain aneurysm. While dying in hospital, she was DENIED the -right- to see her partner, Janice Langbehn and their children, precisely because they were not the next of kin. [http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/life/new-no-brainer-law-millions-now-allowed-to-comfort-their-sick-loved-ones-2442529]
      Now, can you tell me why this is? What about it is fair, or just, or right? When a dying woman cannot be surrounded by her loved ones? These were two women who had built a family together, and loved each other–and then one died frightened, scared and alone. Her -children-, which you argue is the raison d’etre of a family in the first place, were not allowed to comfort their mother, or say goodbye.
      I’m sorry, but that’s fucking horrific.

      Also, nice try with the incest thing, but there is a biological reason behind why you can’t pull a Cersei Lannister and schtupp your brother: your kid comes out with gills. For christsake, I’m a SOCIAL scientist and even I know that.
      As for polygamy–don’t forget, there are places in the world where the TRADITIONAL definition of marriage DOES include it. Your own Bible includes it as an admirable way to live. After all, HOW many wives and concubines was Jacob said to have? Two of the first, and two of the latter? So obviously, polygamy couldn’t have been too too bad, if one of the Patriarchs was doin it.

      “Usually, proponents of same-sex marriage rely on a principle such as ‘the government must recognize as marriage any relationship anyone wishes to engage in based on their sexual preference’ or, more simply, ‘love makes a family.’”
      Again, not quite true. You have the general gyst of it, but what we’re ACTUALLY asking is that the government must recognize as marriage—the marriage of two committed, consenting adult individuals, regardless of their sex or gender. Which seems the same when you look at it, but has a few differences. Namely, that the majority of marriage advocates don’t want a NEW marriage system–they simply want to be included under the old.
      To use an example, your conceptualization of what SSM advocates are asking for is a leopard. What they’re REALLY asking for, is a jaguar.
      They might both have spots, and they might both be cats—but they are not at all the same beast, if you catch my drift.

      And yes, it has only been a couple years since all the quibbling over the Equal Rights Amendment. However–none of what that woman ranting about sounds like a bad thing–with maybe the exception of privacy in bathrooms cause really? noone wants to be heard peeing.
      BUT all you need to do is look at a quick timeline of the world to see how quickly and thoroughly it’s changed since 1981. AIDS culled a generation, science uncovered the basis of our genes, the internet connected a planet (and gave us 4chan, so mixed blessing there).
      It seems silly to stick our heads in the sand and pretend the future didn’t happen–and trying desperately to hold on to long-passed cultural norms doesn’t help either.

      And again: I thought I explained very clearly just WHY some African Americans wouldn’t see it as a similar struggle. Was I unclear? I can try to clarify, and be as succinct as possible:
      African Americans are, statistically speaking, more likely to belong to scripturally literalist congregations, more likely to feel the need for evangelization, and more likely to belong to a church (Baptist, Pentecostal, ect) that has taken a hard line on gay rights.
      Consequently, they aren’t going to see this as a civil rights issue.
      HOWEVER, just because someone can’t SEE it a civil rights issue doesn’t mean it isn’t one. And equal marriage advocates wouldn’t like to ‘tap into’ anything–we’re simply making a very logical and clear comparison between two similar civil rights battles especially in regards to freedom to marry. I’d think the similarities are self-evident, but you disagree. However, when it comes down to the admittedly piss-poor support for same-sex marriage in the african-american community at large (geeeneralization!), I fully believe it is on account of religion–and a hefty dose of religiously inspired misinformation. After all, look at the nonsense that went around during Prop 8–all those fibs NOM was telling left right and centre? I’m sure those did have an effect.

      “Most states did not have those laws at the time the decision came down. If every state had had them in 1967, it would be highly unlikely that the Supreme Court would have voided them.”
      I’d like to point out that just because MOST states did not have miscegenation laws doesn’t mean that SOME states didn’t, and that in some states, conditions were so perilous that legislation WAS the appropriate answer, because a referendum would have had no effect in changing the injustice.
      Can you really tell me that, in 1967 Arkansas, the (caucasian) majority would have voted to give the (black) minority rights? Please don’t make me call you a liar.
      So what you’re saying is that it is both appropriate and just to allow white racist bigots to decide upon the civil rights of an oppressed minority? And that when they decide that no, these black folk shouldn’t have those rights and FURTHERMORE, we declare lynching season well and truly open for business–that that, as the ‘will of the majority’ is the appropriate answer?
      You seem like a nice guy, so I’d really like to think that’s not the way of it.

      “Again, the courts did not, in fact, end slavery or achieve suffrage in the U.S.”
      Ironically enough, you’re very right! Do you know what did? Activism, and marches, and agitation and making yourself a nuisance–which is, I believe, pretty much bang on what equal marriage folks are doing.
      And yeeeeet, the abolitionists and the suffragettes are seen as heroes–so I can only assume that in due time, so too will equal rights activists.

      “let North Carolina voters vote on it”
      Again, here is the tyranny of the majority. I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but REALLY: you cannot EVER trust the majority to care about the issues of the minority. Ever. It just isn’t in their interests, and they won’t bother. That is their perrogative, of course, but it is unethical to allow citizens to decide what rights their fellow citizens can have.
      I hate to whip out the ‘privilege’ card, but as PaperofFlowers does mention–it is all very good to hold that belief when you ARE the majority and your rights are not at risk. It’s a different thing entirely to be the one staring down the barrel of legislation that would bar you from your partner’s hospital room, or force you to give up your place of ‘next of kin’ of a loved one in medical distress (often transferring that power to relatives who might not have the patients’ best wishes at heart, and may be actively homophobic).

      While I am familiar with the States Rights school of thought–and feel that in some cases that is appropriate (municipal and state-wide issues such as gun regulation, taxes, ect)–I do not think that civil rights should be left up to the states.
      Just like there are some laws that exist on a federal level:
      For example, Alaska or Wyoming, you CANNOT murder someone, you CANNOT traffic in drugs/people/arms, and you CANNOT (legally, since people do it anyways) infringe upon the rights of protected minorities.
      I strongly feel that CIVIL RIGHTS (ie: the right of two consenting adults to marry) should be a federal issue and not one left to the states, lest you end up in the quagmire you’re in now, wherein Julia and Juliet are full citizens/legally recognized married couple in Vermont, and legal strangers in Arkansas.
      To use a Canadian example: gun rules in Alberta are lax, while in Ontario, they’re strict. In Quebec, the primary language of business and commerce is French, while in Vancouver, it’s English. However, IN ALL PROVINCES, gay marriage is legal, because it is a FEDERAL issue, not something that should be decided on a province by province basis.

      I will worry about heaven when I get there, thank you kindly. For now, I worry about the laws here on earth, especially the blatantly discriminatory ones that serve no purpose other than to discriminate.
      Again, I would point out that you are (and this is a wild guess): probably a heterosexual male in the age range of 23-30, most likely educated (working towards or earned your Bachelors), and I would go further as stating you are PROBABLY caucasian or some mix thereof, especially if your name Mike is short for Michael, which leads me to believe you probably have North-Western European [English, Irish, Scottish–but probably not Welsh] ancestry, and are thus the quintessential ‘white dude’.
      Consequently, you ARE Joe Schmoe–and don’t have to worry about your own rights, since YOUR rights are already very well enshrined as the ‘base’ level of rights.
      You’re entirely safe. It’d be nice, though, if you could act FROM that safety and share the rights with others–it’s not like there’s a limited quantity.

  9. As a lifelong North Carolinian, I am appalled. As the daughter of a trial lawyer who defends hurt people, I am used to being appalled. But what others have said holds true. I live in a city basically founded by Quakers and Jews that, like anywhere that isn’t South Beach, isn’t all WOOHOO GAYS, but is actually a pretty decent oasis of tolerance in the South. If the majority voted in favor on this legislation, they would probably only win by a smidge. There are plenty Jerry Falwell disciple types in this state, but there are quite a few pockets of existence where openly queer people are respected members of the community. I hold hope that if it comes to a referendum, this does not pass, because I must. If I choose to settle down with a woman and raise a family (a goal I have regardless, but I do not yet know whether the person filling this spousal role will be male, female, or other), and if I choose to do it in this state, this oppressive piece of paper will not only screw up our lives financially and keep us from each other’s hospital bedsides, but it will also deny us the basic rights of parents. Some couples are finding all the legal loopholes they can to bind the children to both of them, but there’s only so much that can be done. THEN what about the children, huh? This whole majority decision idea being somehow fair is bullshit. Human rights are non-negotiable.

    “Incidentally, you need to explain why the vast majority of black people do not support same-sex marriage: are they all bigots? Why do they not see this obvious historical parallel you are attempting to draw?”

    ^50, 60 years ago, the vast majority of the South belonged to the Democratic Party. As in, the people who took no issue with cops beating black demonstrators senseless. When the Civil Rights Movement gained a certain level of success, the Republican party exercised a brilliant strategy for gaining the votes of the racist bigots AND the black vote as well. They found other groups for the racist bigots to oppress, and they knew (as per the stats Ava has mentioned) how religious the majority of blacks were. So they also adopted a highly religious “Christian” platform. The marriage of these things produced the religious right now so prominent in the South–an expertly blended combination of Christianity, bigotry, and Republican economic policy. Hence, a party that continually seeks to further disenfranchise the already disenfranchised, so many of whom are unfortunately black, can still get the black vote because their way is the “good Christian” way. In a sense, they have made it so many people are voting against their own rights. I would like to close this explanation with the statement that I care about issues, not parties, and this is not a rant on Republicans by an extreme Democrat.

    Ava…WE’RE NOT WORTHY. You’re so freakin’ awesome. I could have a lot more to say on this, but you’ve already said it all, and you’ve done it so well.

  10. Aww, thank you Lily!
    I try–I was very worried I was going to come off professorial, or like a little Hermione-in-First-Year, always with her hand raised bein obnoxious.

    So I’m glad it didn’t come off like that. And I think you raised some extremely valid points about the Republican Party’s actions in the South; they were brilliant when they managed to pull it off.
    I disagree with the modern day neoconservativist/tea party tack it’s taken, but as the Grand Old Party of Mr A. Lincoln? It weren’t too shabby. If we could get back to that, I wouldn’t even be mad.

    • Yup, that’s why I don’t care so much about parties. I bristle when I hear the words “Republican,” or “conservative,” but only because of their current connotations. I’m only registered as a Dem so I can vote in the primaries. And the tea party…they freak me the hell out. I feel like they would be the result if somehow Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann were sisters who could mate and produce an incest child with fetal alcohol syndrome.

      And you’re welcome. It’s good to see someone with strong arguments containing justifiable anger without childishness like name-calling and such. I’m also frequently afraid I come off as a Hermione. My first college roommate (whose mom is a lawyer) called it “child of a lawyer syndrome.” In law school, my dad’s class had this game called gunner bingo with a bingo sheet of the names of all the people who raised their hands in class. My dad was the free space, haha. I want so much not to be annoying, but it can be very hard for me to keep my thoughts to myself.

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