This morning as I woke up and put my plan in place to get some work done and visit my son in the hospital, I couldn’t help but feel sad. Since I moved to NC I have often be proud of the state, but last night was not one of them. I will never understand why we had to go over and beyond what was already illegal. Gay marriage was already illegal according to the state constitution. Why did we have to go over and beyond that. Is there that much hatred towards our gay brothers and sisters, that we had to go so far to discriminate against them? Is the hatred so much that we needed to harm straight couples who don’t believe in marriage, or weaken protections for victims of domestic violence who aren’t married, or potentially harm children of unmarried couples.
That is what makes this so hard for me. The state didn’t just further prevent gay marriage, instead it stripped the rights of tens of hundreds of people and children in the state. I can’t imagine what it must feel like for any of those impacted to wake up this morning and know that over 1 million people in their home state voted against them and their rights. How do we explain to our children that hatred won out? How can we expect our future generations to not be driven by hate, if we can’t lead by example. North Carolina had another chance to lead the south by example, only this time we failed. I hope every couple gay and straight, and their children will take solace in the fact that over 800,000 people stood with them, and that they do have support here. I hope that those same couples who live in other states, who once considered moving here, will not be discouraged and change their minds, and realize that there are people here who will stand and fight with them. I hope that the coalition of people who stood together to fight this hateful amendment will continue to work together to keep the fight going, and show those impacted that we love and support them and will stand with them to the end.
The quote that I live my life by forbids me from believing that hate will win out in the end.
“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
Update: 9/13/11 – Senate passes it as well 30-16
I have previously written about the possibility of NC succumbing to southern peer pressure on same-sex marriage. Well the process is off to a good start for supporters of the constitutional amendment. In a move that will surely upset opponents of this, about 5 hours after the bill was introduced it had passed the house by a vote of 75-42. It now heads to the senate where passage is a little harder to determine. While there is support in the senate the question is whether they have enough votes to get it through.
The real tricks in the night are about how they got the votes in the house. This bill would make the constitutional amendment a ballot initiative and let the NC voters determine its fate. They wanted to get support from some house democrats and so they made a slight change in the details. Some of the house democrats supported the measure, but thought that putting on the November 2012 ballot, was a way to increase voter turnout in a presidential race for conservative republicans. State republicans though, know it was less about voter turnout in a presidential election and more about pushing same-sex couples out of this state. So they gladly moved it to the May primary ballot, which got them enough support from house democrats.
The majority of people voting in the May primary will be republicans since they are the only ones with a contested race. This move virtually guarantees that the ballot initiative will get the votes it needs. Pending what happens in the senate, opponents are going to have to do GOTV efforts to people who would not ordinarily vote in the May primaries to push this back. It was a sneaky move done in the night hours.
You already know my feelings on the issue of same-sex marriages, so I won’t go into those details again. But for a state with high unemployment this is a great way to welcome new people and businesses to our state. Go ahead and tell the gay community they are not welcome in this state. Don’t move here, don’t spend money here, don’t open a business here, don’t raise children here because you are not welcome. Also, what a great way to show support for those already living here. What message are you sending them? You can live here and spend money here, but we won’t allow you the same rights as others.
Sad day for the state of North Carolina!