Early voting starts today in North Carolina for their primary. The actual primary date is May 8. So starting today people will be able to vote on Amendment 1 in the state. The amendment's sponsors claim that it's about simply preserving marriage as between a man and a woman but it does a lot more than that. The language says that passage of the amendment would make marriage between a man and a woman "the only domestic legal union" allowed in the state. There would be no civil unions, no domestic partnerships or any other type of legal recognition. This would of course have wide-ranging effects from domestic abuse law to families with unmarried parents raising children. It's been reported many times that the amendment would harm women and visit untold effects upon families and children - LGBT or heterosexual.
The current Democratic governor, all the Democratic gubernatorial nominees, and everyone from the NAACP to business organizations to religious and secular organizations now oppose the amendment - which has been polling at majority support levels, but becomes less supportable once people in North Carolina know what the amendment actually does as opposed to what the pro-Amendment 1 campaign says it is for.
If LGBT folks could beat back an anti-LGBT amendment in North Carolina that would seriously change the course of history for the movement. It really can't be overstated. North Carolina is the only southern state without a constitutional amendment banning marriage equality. The state still has a law in place making it illegal for loving gay and lesbian couples to marry, so the amendment is not only an excessive, animus-based attempt to single out LGBT North Carolinians for special pain, but it's also pointless and a true waste of time and money and energy in a state that isn't going to enact marriage equality very soon anyway (though polls now say that a plurality of voters in North Carolina think the state will have it within 20 years.)
Thankfully, for those of us who can't be in North Carolina but are very anxious about the outcome of this odious amendment, there are things we can do. There's an effort by the Courage Campaign to Call for Equality in NC. It's a phone banking project, similar to ones we've seen here for elections in the past. Whether you're in state or elsewhere you can help families in North Carolina as well as the LGBT community in the fight to defeat this thing.
This is probably one of the most significant fights for us - it's certainly been keeping me awake at night and I'm nowhere near the state. Over at my new place I've been writing about the amendment pretty much daily for weeks now, and we've been trying to cover it as much as possible over here as well. It's a huge deal. So if anyone wants to participate in calling NC and helping us win there, it would be really great if you'd give some of your time up for that. And of course if you're in the state, or have friends or family there, definitely tell them that they can vote against it on May 8 or go ahead and do early voting now.