Its supporters tout it as a ban on same-sex marriage, but what it really does is attack families, gay and straight, young and old, adults and children. It takes family benefits away from people who rely on them, including survivor benefits, and worst of all, health care benefits.
Take, for example, my friends Mike and Elizabeth, who have a young daughter. They’re a strong family; they adore each other and their child. Like any other couple, they struggle to make ends meet. But because Elizabeth has a chronic illness that absolutely requires medical care, she and Mike can’t get married; if they do, she loses her health care and likely will die from complications. She wants to work and contribute to the family, but if she does, she loses Medicaid and likely will die from complications of her illness.
Now, to add to the indignities they endure, Mike could lose all rights to his daughter because of the amendment. Mike will have to choose between the life of the woman he loves and the rights to the child he adores.
What kind of society is this that calls itself Christian and pro-family and then proceeds to demolish families?
In another twist, the amendment will take away domestic violence protections for people who are not legally married. A woman wouldn’t be able to get an order of protection against her boyfriend. I guess that’s punishment for not being legally married.
Ohio passed an anti-marriage law that’s less restrictive than North Carolina’s, and it has helped batterers get out of jail because they weren’t legally married when the abuse took place. It has made orders of protection unenforceable.
Because this is an amendment to the state constitution, courts can not overturn it, and they can’t change it. North Carolina courts won’t be able to choose whether to apply the anti-gay constitutional amendment to domestic violence cases. A constitution, whether federal or state, is supreme law. If a court thinks that there is a conflict, the Constitution controls and the court will limit the reach of laws accordingly.
In other words the amendment would rewrite the Constitution, which would nullify all the state laws protecting victims domestic violence unless they are married legally, potentially undoing all the work that the General Assembly have done to protect domestic violence victims.
Perhaps some who want to vote for the law want to punish people who aren’t married legally because they want their so-called Christian values enforces no matter who gets hurt.
But overall, I think most people just don’t know how many families will be damaged or destroyed by this amendment.
Let’s not kid ourselves, people will die because of this. Some will die because they lose access to health care, some because they lose the protection of domestic violence laws. Do we really want to be responsible for those deaths?
Please, no matter what your views on gay marriage, vote NO on Amendment One. Gay marriage is already illegal in North Carolina; we don’t have to institutionalize it.