Opponents say “I do not” to N.C. marriage amendment
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Through one amendment to the North Carolina constitution, the ever-broadening spectrum of what can be considered a legal union could be shrunk down to one shape and one phrase: “marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State.”
The May 8 ballot will include the North Carolina Same-Sex Marriage Amendment.
As suggested by the wording of the amendment, same-sex marriages would not be constitutionally recognized in North Carolina.
All civil unions, domestic partnerships and other forms of legal relationships would not be recognized, as well.
On March 28 Guilford College Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies Program held an event entitled “The Politics of Same-Sex Marriage: The Case of North Carolina” to inform the public of the implications of the implementation of Amendment One.
“I am a resident of North Carolina,” said Justin Shreve ‘11, current Binford Hall director, advisor for Pride and self-identified gay man. “I’ve lived here my whole life. … not only would (Amendment One) prevent me from having any kind of legal relationship status when I get older if I decide to live here … it’s going to affect so many other families that I know who are in common-law marriages or students who have been adopted who are my friends.”
According to the panel, the numbers suggest that it is a close battle over the passing or defeat of the amendment, with many against the amendment, but nevertheless many still in support.
“We must preserve marriage in our state constitution to protect marriage from radical activists who are willing to do everything in their power to change marriage and make it genderless,” said Tami Fitzgerald, chairwoman of Vote For Marriage NC, to The Christian Post.
Some fear that a lack of an anti-gay marriage law would leave the law up to a judge’s opinion, so that judges in favor of gay marriage would allow these marriages to occur. This law is intended to formalize marriage as between a man and a woman.
One important aspect of this amendment is that, though it is called the Same-Sex Marriage Amendment, it affects all couples who are not legally married, but rather in another form of legal union.
For such individuals, this can complicate many aspects of life from insurance to adoption to who are legally one’s parents.
“I have two moms who are living currently in what I guess is a domestic partnership and are married in their own relationship, in their own way,” said Hannah Early, senior and event attendee, “(Their relationship is) not recognized by the state of North Carolina and I think that, not only is this going to harm lots and lots and lots of other people — not just same sex couples — but it is specifically very much going to harm my family.”
Event panelist and Assistant Professor of Political Science Maria Rosales said, “Right now, my partner is actually — we’ve been together for 12 years — she’s actually a graduate student at Duke. So, she does not need my health insurance right now, but when she graduates, there’s a good chance she will. … that would not even be a possibility probably (if Amendment One passes). … the other thing is that we’re planning to adopt and we’re starting the process this coming summer. We talked to a lawyer who said that this could make it more difficult to guarantee that if one of us dies that the child wouldn’t just go to whoever the state considers to be our nearest relative.”
The panelists expressed the many fears the LGBTQ community and the straight community have in regards to the amendment.
This heated debate will likely remain unresolved until the final vote.
Still, opponents of Amendment One are hopeful.
Event panelist and first-year D’vorah Nadel said, “(The defeat of this amendment would) be something where the … queer community and allies and the straight community got together, rallied and (together) we made our voices heard.”