Amendment One: The Morning After

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.


Why I oppose Amendment One

I know it has been a long while since I wrote a post.  My last post gave some insight to what is going on in my life that has kept me from blogging.  However, as I sit here this morning trying to mentally prepare for my son to have his sixth surgery in under six months, I believe this is an issue that I must write about.

While I know that this amendment is about more than gay marriage, despite what supporters want you to think.  That is what I want to focus on.  I can’t bring myself to believe that supporters of this amendment really want to prevent children from healthcare, or protect people from domestic violence, or discriminate against their straight brothers and sisters who believe in relationships not defined by marriage. Instead, this amendment is rooted in hatred of people who love differently from what society deems as normal.

I was raised in what most Christians would say was a good Christian home.  My parents were loving parents who were fundamental Baptists and took the King James Version as the only true Bible.  The churches we attended were always very conservative in their politics and anything that strayed from the teachings of the Bible were not looked at favorably.  One result of that was being raised in a very homophobic environment.  Until I went to college, I never had any real interactions with the gay community.  My only view on the situation was that they were sinners destined for hell unless they changed their immoral lifestyles.

It wasn’t until college, when I made friends with people who were not anti-gay, and friends with people who were gay, that my view began to change.  I started to see that they were no different from me other than who they chose to love. The big lesson I learned though, was that I had no reason to hate them, and that who they loved had no impact on who I wanted to love.  My love for my girlfriend was in no way diminished by their love.  One friend in particular, Jason Willis, was very passionate with his boyfriend at the time, and that passion was no different from the passion I wanted in my relationship.  Other than the fact the he was with a man and I wanted to be with a woman, we were no different.  Those nights of hanging with him and his significant other and our mutual friend Terica West changed my perspective on the whole situation.

Fast forward to today.  I am married with three children and in no way feel threatened by gay marriage.  Even if this amendment was only about gay marriage (which it isn’t), I would still oppose it.  My marriage is in no way threatened by gay marriage, I don’t believe the sanctity of my marriage changes one bit.

Even though I do not attend church on a regular basis, I still am a Christian.  I don’t understand how my other Christian brothers and sisters who speak about loving their neighbor as themselves, or who talk about the love Jesus showed for everyone, could support this.  I will not believe for one second that Jesus’ message of love included stripping the rights of people we are supposed to love.  How can people see the love of Christ in us when we want to take away their rights and attack them for who they love.  I don’t think we can.  And I don’t think one can preach about the love of Christ, while demonstrating hate at the same time.

This is simply about love versus hate.  I for one stand for love and hope that others including my fellow Christians will stand for love. If we truly want to carry out the love of Jesus, we can’t vote for hate.

Will BBQ cost Rick Perry a shot at NC?

If Governor Rick Perry, stays on his current path as a GOP front runner, he is going to have to campaign in NC at least once.  Depending on how well he does, multiple times.  Something from his past may come back to bite him.  People in NC are passionate about their BBQ.  There are debates about whether eastern or western carolina has the best, Lexington who has a style of their own likes to make claim to theirs being the best.  One thing most everyone here can agree on is that any NC BBQ is better than no BBQ and definitely better than BBQ from somewhere else.

Apparently, Rick Perry doesn’t like NC BBQ.  Eastern NC BBQ to be more specific.  In fact he claims roadkill tastes better!  I have never eaten at the place who catered the meal, but after looking them up and their reviews, to prefer roadkill you have to just hate that style of BBQ.  I think I may have to make a trip and try it myself (when I do, I will report back).

The point is, we love our BBQ in NC no matter what side of the state you live.  Some of you may say that BBQ has nothing to do with the issues Perry is campaigning on.  That may be true, but when someone from a state who claims to have the best BBQ (false claim), and attacks our BBQ as lower than roadkill he will have an uphill battle to win support.  Maybe he will just avoid the Eastern Part of the state altogether and avoid the issue.  But no matter where he goes, he will have to answer for his comments.

Don’t mess with Texas, whatever.  When it comes to BBQ, don’t mess with NC!

In the Heat of the Night: NC Begins Assault on Gay Rights

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!

Is NC Caving to Southern Peer Pressure on Same-Sex Marriage?

For those who live in NC know by now that a fight is shaping up on a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. The coverage is showcasing the battle lines.  Democrats are coming together and taking the stance the amendment hurts job creation among other things.

Republicans are utilizing African-American ministers to lead their public fight to get the amendment through.  This has been an ongoing battle for years, but with the democrats being in control for so long the votes were always blocked.  Since the 2010 mid-term elections, when republicans took control of the house and senate.

It seems like they have been using this time to either introduce bad policy, or turn back good policy from years past. On the issue of same-sex marriage, they can finally succumb to southern peer pressure and push this through.  If they are successful, NC will no longer be the only southern state without a constitutional prohibition on same-sex marriage.

I for one, hope that they fail.  I fully support fight for same-sex marriages, and do not understand the harsh fight against it.  We supposedly have the separation of church and state and so any religious reasoning for an amendment should be nullified.  Also, I am not sure how it hurts straight couples to allow same-sex marriages.  How would allowing this impact your marriage, or what your marriage means?  Marriage is supposed to be a life long commitment between two people who love each other.  This should be the case regardless of the sexes involved.

With divorce rates hovering around the 50% mark, it seems straight couples have their own problem protecting the sanctity of marriage. So here’s to hoping that the current attack on same-sex marriage fails, and NC can hold off peer pressure.

Whose Money was behind the Resegregation of Wake County Schools?

If you live in North Carolina, no doubt you have heard of the struggle in Wake County over neighborhood schools. In 2009, the Wake County School Board obtained a new majority of Tea Party members backed by the state chapter of  Americans For Prosperity.  This new majority pushed for and won the ending of busing policy in favor of neighborhood schools.  Wake County had a policy of busing students around to avoid racially divided schools.  They wanted to have socio-economic diverse schools by limiting the number of free and reduced lunch students allowed at each school.  Because minorities make up a disproportionate number of students who qualify for this, the policy basically led to a resegregation of schools.

Under the message of saving the school system money, this new majority wanted to end this policy and return to neighborhood schools.  This sparked a bitter fight between the school board and groups like the NC NAACP.  There were protests and arrest, and enough noise made that the national media picked up on the story. There are plenty of issues with all aspects of the story.  There are pros and cons to both sides of the issue.  For me, the biggest issue was voter turnout.  These new members all ran on the message of ending the policy, and returning to neighborhood schools.  Voters simply did not turn out to vote.  The new majority was able to take over with minimal voter participation.  If the same number of people who participated in the protest, had turned out to vote or do get out to vote work, maybe this would not have happened but I digress.

There were other forces at play that may have made this inevitable though.  There have been a number of growing stories about the money the extreme right is dumping into campaigns and where it is coming from.  The names range from the Koch brothers to Art Pope, and they have received both local and national attention for their contributions.  Brave New Films, is doing a series of documentary short films to expose the Koch Brothers and how their money has pushed the agenda of the far right.  The latest installment discuss their role in the Wake County Issue, and exposes the money behind the desegregation of the Wake County Schools.

More Evidence Banks Do What They Want

Every day the anger against banks is stronger.  It seems like banks can do what they want, when they want, and how they want, with no consequences.  They make risky bets, they get bailed out by taxpayers.  They get involved in bad loans, and aren’t required to modify loans.  It seems like at every turn they get a pass, mounting more evidence that banks can do what they want.

The latest piece of evidence is deals with the robo-signing phenomenon that came to light at the end of last year.  For those that don’t know, all the big banks put foreclosure proceedings on hold after members of their staff admitted in court that they signed documents without reading them.  These signatures became known as robo-signings as hundreds of these documents would be signed every hour.  A big stink was made of the whole thing and industry was supposed to have this under control.

However, an AP report, shows that the practice is continuing.  County Court Clerks in Michigan and North Carolina reported receiving hundreds of forged or robo-signed documents since this debacle was supposed to be ended.  In fact, the same people who testified in courts signatures are the ones still showing up.  The continued forged signatures no longer simply apply to foreclosures either.  The report mentions that the documents included transfers of loans and documents certifying a loan had been paid off.  So not only was the practice not stopped it has continued in other aspects of loan documents.

Despite settlements that were supposed to curb this practice, it is still in existence.  So much so that Guilford County, NC they have stopped taking questionable documents.  All this is more evidence that banks can and will do what they want.  Hopefully, on July 21, when the CFPB goes live, they can curb this lack of ethics coming from the banks.