I support traditional family values, and I’m voting against Amendment One on May 8th.
It is tragically ironic that the stated goal of this amendment is Family Values when in fact the outcome of its passage would be to create hardship for children and quite possibly to take families apart.
I am very invested in correcting several misconceptions that much of the public seems to have about Amendment One. I thought most people knew that it would ban civil unions and domestic partnerships (that are currently in place), as well as same-sex marriage (which is already illegal in NC), but the more I hear people talk about it, the more I realize that people do not have all the information. I truly believe that an informed populace would overwhelmingly vote against this amendment if they knew all the harm it could do, but so many folks think it is just about gay marriage, and that is not true.
The amendment was originally intended to target gay families, but it was written so poorly with such vague language that children, single women and straight families would all suffer unintended consequences if it passes. Even Representative Jim Crawford, who sponsored the amendment, recently stated, “I will definitely vote against it because I think it goes too far.”
Currently, same-sex marriage is not legal in North Carolina. Therefore, Amendment One changes nothing about same-sex marriage in NC, regardless of election results on May 8th.
However, what WILL change, if it passes, is that current domestic partner benefits offered by various employers and municipalities across North Carolina, to both straight and gay couples, will be denied because marriage will be “the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized.” This means that some children WILL lose their health and dental care. Based on 2010 census data, there are 223,000 couples in domestic partnerships in NC who parent over 82,000 children. Only 12% of those partnerships are same-sex couples. Amendment One will strip rights and protections from all unmarried couples.
A Charlotte lawyer told me “Not only would this amendment impermissibly define the civil rights of a minority group, it will limit the application of domestic violence laws, it will impair the family rights of non-gay civil unions and domestic partnerships, it will impact the availability of health care coverage for children of unmarried parents … the list goes on.”
The most vulnerable victims of Amendment One are children. If Amendment One passes, a child of an unmarried parent could lose his or her health care and prescription drug coverage. Child custody and visitation rights meant to protect the best interests of a child would be threatened. Possibly worst of all, a child could be taken away from a parent who has loved and cared for that child all of his or her life, if something happens to the other parent… just because the parents are not married. Are you willing to be responsible for children losing their health care or losing their mom or dad just because they were born into families with parents who are unmarried?
A similar amendment passed in Ohio, and convicted domestic violence offenders were released from jail because domestic violence laws were interpreted to apply ONLY to married couples. Over thirty domestic violence cases were dismissed or overturned, based solely on the marital status of the offender and the abused. If Amendment One passes in NC, single women who are abused by their boyfriends will lose protection because only married women will qualify for domestic violence protections.
A single or widowed senior couple could be forced to marry to keep their legal protections, which will cause them to lose benefits such as pensions, health care, and social security.
In his April 24 letter, Rev. Sonny Thomas wrote of a “radical homosexual agenda” that “seeks to force acceptance of their ideology regardless of the overwhelming support in favor of traditional family values.” According to a recent survey by Public Policy Polling in Raleigh, “53% of voters in [North Carolina] support either gay marriage or civil unions, with only 44% opposed to any recognition for same-sex couples.” Same-sex marriage does not take away any rights of traditional marriage between one man and one woman. It merely allows couples who have been denied basic legal partnership benefits the access to over 1000 federal laws that heterosexual couples take for granted.
What exactly are traditional family values? Personally, I believe it is valuable for young children to have a parent at home. As a married mother of two small children, I am fortunate to be a stay-at-home mom because my spouse’s income provides for our family. I recognize that not all families have this choice.
We are raising our children to have good manners, a good work ethic, and to take responsibility for themselves. We are law-abiding, tax-paying citizens. We believe in the strength and support of small-town communities. We want our family to sit down at the dinner table together every evening. We value hard work, honesty, and integrity. And my spouse is a woman. Does that sound like a “radical homosexual agenda”? I did not choose to be gay anymore than I chose my skin color or my parents. Do people really believe someone would CHOOSE to be gay, knowing the prejudice and discrimination they would face in this society?
There’s no such thing as a “radical homosexual agenda.” Hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians could be hurt by the passing of this amendment. Defeating Amendment One should be on everyone’s agenda.
On May 8 (or sooner, with early voting at the Courthouse), vote AGAINST Amendment One to protect children, women, families, and North Carolina.
Remi David Wingo