Needless Agitation on Gay Marriage
North Carolina already has a law against gay marriage. But some in the new Republican legislative leadership want a constitutional amendment accomplishing the same thing.
One has to wonder why. This appears to be mostly a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.
Sponsors of the proposed change to the N.C. Constitution apparently feel that the statute on the books is not enough, since some misguided judge could strike it down by declaring it unconstitutional. But that’s highly unlikely to happen. And even if it did, the state Supreme Court — which achieved a Republican majority in the same election that the General Assembly did, though the judicial election is technically nonpartisan — would be all but certain to overrule the judge.
Those pushing for this change, it seems clear, hope to do more than just accomplish their surface goal. Rather, they appear to be out to make a statement, throw their newfound weight around, and curry favor with the socially conservative voters who helped put them where they are.
Bitter Debate Ensured
There may be yet another motivation here on the part of the Republicans: to put their Democratic counterparts on the spot by forcing them either to vote yes on an amendment that they may have doubts about or open themselves to charges of being soft on homosexuality in the next election.
Political maneuvering aside, this effort has the potential to create mischief for the state and its residents in at least a couple of ways. If nothing else, it will needlessly embroil the General Assembly in a bitter and disruptive debate, taking up valuable time that could better be spent on serious matters, especially the seemingly insurmountable budgetary crisis.
And don’t forget that legislative approval of the amendment is only the first step. It would still have to go to a vote of the people, embroiling the population at large in another lengthy and divisive argument. Preachers would be turned against preachers. While most churches in the state would tend to favor the marriage ban, some other more liberal-minded ones would be sure to oppose it.
Unintended Economic Effect?
The other concern is the significant unintended economic effect the passage of such an amendment could produce.
Like it or not, not everyone in all regions of the United States feels the same about this issue as folks in North Carolina tend to. Passage of the anti-gay-marriage amendment would certainly produce a lot of media fallout. Some organizations and individuals elsewhere that either favor gay marriage or deplore the idea of Big Brother government thrusting its hands into what should be a private matter might choose other locales for their conventions and other events, damaging North Carolina’s lucrative tourism business.
The kind of cutting-edge high-tech companies that North Carolina is trying to attract might also shun a state they saw as trying to make some of its employees feel unwelcome.
And all for the sake of a grandstanding attempt by some in Raleigh to gain political points for accomplishing something that’s already accomplished — and effectively tying the hands of future generations who may someday take a decidedly different view on this whole subject.
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