With the vote on North Carolina's gay marriage ban amendment less than two weeks away, bill proponents have found themselves outflanked on every front but one.
- Economic argument: There is no economic argument for passing it. They can not find even a single business leader to endorse Amendment One, while many, many have said it will impede North Carolina's economic growth, including local Bank of American Vice President Cathy Bessant, and Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers.
- Public policy argument: Wednesday, North Carolina Pediatric Society joined a chorus of public policy scientific and medical professionals to condemn Amendment One. Previously the NC Psychological Association, NC Psychiatric Association, National Association of Social Workers NC Chapter and the Carolinas Chapter of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists have all come out en mass against the amendment.
Tanya Roberts, MSW, Board President, National Association of Social Workers, North Carolina Chapter sums up well the educated family professional views on A1 saying,
"This amendment not only affects our profession but the clients we serve... Protecting our citizens is important to ensuring a productive society and this Amendment does not protect North Carolina’s citizens.”
- Legal argument: The legitimacy of the law is in serious doubt with the state's Attorney General Roy Cooper yesterday calling it "unclear, unwise and unnecessary" and saying passing it "will also result in a significant amount of litigation on many issues." Every University law professor in the state signed a joint letter of condemnation (PDF) expressing very serious concerns about the unintended consequences of this poorly written law. The law professors' conclusion:
"It is impossible to predict how courts would finally resolve the issues raised by this vague and untested language. However, two things are clear: First, it would take years of expensive litigation to settle the Amendment’s meaning. Second, when the dust clears, [all] unmarried couples would have fewer rights over their most important life decisions than they would have had otherwise."Not the least of the concerns are the effect the law may have on domestic violence protections for heterosexual single women.
It is "unnecessary" legislation as regardless whether it passes or fails, gay marriage will remain banned in North Carolina. And a majority of voters actually oppose its intention to ban civil unions.
- The small "d' democratic argument: Democracy for America's Jim Dean in announcing DFA's GOTV efforts, summed it up the abomination that is Amendment one very well saying, "We should never use democracy to legitimize discrimination." Constitutions are documents intented to protect the rights of citizens, not winnow them away.
Proponents have been blithe about addressing any of this, they dismiss it all as nonsense. They know they cannot prevail on these grounds. Forced to make only secular arguments in a court of law with Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act they have lost many times. So they tact to the only ground they are comfortable on: they know the mind of God and are empowered speak for him. Yes, they think they have:
- Religion argument: God wants Amendment One to pass.
It is very noticeable is how blatantly and overtly religious the campaign for Amendment One is, it hasn't been the slightest bit subtle. The proponent's television ad (seen at top) says marriage "is what God created," and zooms in several times on a Christian Bible.
Proponents are entirely depending on conservative churches as the hub for their GOTV operations, and have organized a "marriage Sunday" sermon swarm this Sunday to preach politics from the pulpit. (Opponents however have a much more diverse coalition which includes the NAACP, Planned Parenthood and women's groups, the Democratic and Libertarian parties, and even progressive Churches.)
In the news report above of a recent pro-Amendment One rally, the reporter describes it as a have a tent revival atmosphere. A speaker says that not passing it would be "treason" against God. Another man weeps as he says,
"They need Jesus, they just don't see it."Speakers show complete contempt and total disdain for secular law emanating from DC and NC's capital:
"At the end of this day, at the end of all of our days, Lord, may we not seek Washington's approval, may we not seek Raleigh's approve, may we seek the approval of you."Reporter:
"Amendment supporters say they are doing God's work and the Bible makes it clear marriage is between a man and a woman and that same-sex marriage violates God's Law."Speakers:
"To not pass this amendment is treason in God's court."I guess since LGBT discriminatory laws like Defense of Marriage Act, Proposition 8 and "Don't ask, don't tell" keep getting struck down as unconstitutional in Man's court, you can only defend Amendment One in "God's court."
If this passes, the state of North Carolina taxpayers will almost certainly eventually have to pay to defend Amendment One in a similar lawsuit.
"They need Jesus, they just don't see it."One can only intrepret this man's statement and his support for Amendment One as an effort to aggressively prosthelytize his version of faith with the force of the state constitution.
I honestly can't help thinking of all the times it's said gays are "shoving their lifestyles down our throats" as that man says,
"They need Jesus, they just don't see it."No, really.
You can have your Jesus—really! I really can't impress upon you how totally fine that is with me that you can go to your Church and have your Jesus as you like.
I'd just like to exercise my First Amendment rights to not have your Jesus.
Would that be OK?
Of course, the Christian voice is not the monolith that the Christian right would have you believe. There are coalitions of pastors making a faith based argument against the amendment.
Wednesday, the Bishops of The Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina have released a letter making the Christian case against the amendment, saying:
"We oppose Amendment One because the love of God and the way of love that has been revealed in Jesus of Nazareth compels us to do so."I rather appreciate the tag line on a video I saw, it said,
"Love your neighbor, Vote No on Amendment One."Well, if these extremist, anti-science theocrats win, let's not be surprised if they come for our birth control pills next. They're quite explicit about their agenda: "God's law," as they see it.
Next stop: The Republic of Gilead.
What you can do to help defeat Amendment One:
- Contribute to the campaign on ActBlue so they have the resources they need to get our message out.
- Sign up for a Courageous Conversation about Amendment One with someone you know in North Carolina.
- Follow the campaign on Facebook and Twitter.
- Download social media tools and yard signs to show your opposition to Amendment 1.
- Volunteer to Call for Equality—a national, virtual GOTV phone banking effort against Amendment 1.
Breaking update: Having been taken to task by a constituent, for voting for the amendment in the House floor, WRAL is reporting Rep. Jim Crawford, (D-Granville) has publicly repudiated his previous sponsorship of the bill:
"I will definitely vote against it because I think it goes to far," Crawford said.People are coming to their senses and running fast away from this bill.
Here is a very powerful video of a lesbian constituent confronting Rep. Crawford to his face, saying "I want to put a face on this amendment," and she says, "I am what I am, and I'm a damn good citizen of this county."
She asks, will you tell me to my face, that you will support this amendment?
Watch Rep. Crawford fold:
He can not tell her to her face he'll vote to disenfranchise her as a citizen.