County Approves Marriage Resolution
The Moore County Board of Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday supporting “voter participation” on the controversial North Carolina Same-Sex Marriage Amendment May 8.
The resolution regarding what is being commonly referred to as Amendment One stopped short of asking voters to support the measure, which specifies that marriage between a man and a woman is the only legal form of union. While same-sex marriage is already banned in the state, the proposed measure would add the ban to the state constitution.
Seven speakers addressed the board prior to the vote. Four opposed Amendment One and three supported it. One of those supporters was Moore County Republican Party Chairman Robert Levy.
Stressing that he was speaking only for himself, Levy said that “one man, one woman” was a hallmark of Western society.
“This is not to say that I don’t respect an individual's private life, but it does not dishonor anyone to support centuries of morality,” he said. “I will be voting in favor of this resolution.”
The Rev. Don Welch, of Seven Lakes Chapel in the Pines, said he was also speaking for himself.
“God is on the side of freedom, justice and equality,” Welch said. “(Passing this resolution) will put us on the wrong side of history and a loving God if you vote yes.”
The discussion came to light after a Feb. 28 message was forwarded from Levy to the Moore TEA Citizens’ Facebook page, when 12th District Chairwoman Marlynn Burns said the following:
“Far too many of our voters are not aware of the marriage amendment that will be on the May primary ballot. Please join me in an effort to reach out to the voting public to raise awareness of the May ballot initiative. Our liberal opponents are organized and well-funded. We are leaders. This is our battle; this is our time to step forward.”
Commissioner Nick Picerno responded to that post: “I’ve asked the county attorney to review/modify the resolution passed by the Wake County Board of Commissioners in support of the amendment and encouraging our citizens to come out and vote. I hope to have this on the second meeting in April.”
Picerno, who introduced the resolution to the board, said the public is “missing the point” about the resolution.
“This is not about voting for or against Amendment One,” Picerno said. “This is about encouraging the public to be informed.”
In a recent Elon University poll, six out of 10 people in North Carolina stated that they would oppose Amendment One. Thirty-two percent of state residents expressed support for the amendment.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Picerno also criticized The Pilot for its March 13 editorial, “Commissioners Go Off the Deep End.”
“The Pilot made accusations that Chairman (Larry) Caddell and myself were ‘wasting their time and ours worrying about gay marriage’”, Picerno said, reading from a prepared statement. “I am not ‘worried’ about gay marriage. As the paper points out, it’s already state law that marriage is between a man and a woman.
“The amendment that is on the ballot May 8 is to ‘amend, change’ the constitution of the state of North Carolina. The reason it is on the ballot as an amendment to the constitution is to protect the will of the very people the constitution is written for. All too often, we are experiencing in our country where a judge, or small panel of judges, are inflicting their will over the will of the people. Often, this is at the expense of laws that have been passed by representatives of the people or the constitution itself.
“As an elected leader and a citizen, I view changing the document which ‘should’ define how government is run in North Carolina as a major issue. This issue should be taken seriously by all. It deserves the time to be explained so our citizens can know what they are voting about.”
Picerno said that “to lead and inform the voter” is the reason he proposed the resolution.
“That is what the resolution that I wish to present to the board is about. To lead and inform the voter, not to tell them how to vote.
“I represent all citizens in this county and I feel it’s my duty and my job to provide this information,” he said.
Picerno then read the resolution. Following its passing, Caddell said he had “a few words to say.”
“I would like to make one comment. I was standing at the hospital and found out maybe five minutes before I got a phone call from (a Pilot reporter) that my father had five days to live. I didn’t bring this up. He asked me a question just like if he asked any one of you what you believed in. I told him what I believed in.
“I did not bring this up, I wasn’t trying to stir up anything, I was trying to deal with my dying father. I told him that. And then they make a big deal out of it in the paper.
“I think with all my heart that God created all of us equal. And I believe with all my heart that I should not stand in judgment over anybody, anytime, or he’s gonna stand on judgment on me equally. And if you asked me again, as I would any one of you in here who spoke against it (Amendment One), I would expect that if The Pilot called you, that you would answer that question honestly. And that’s all I did, and that’s all I need to say about that.”
Caddell soon called for a “five minute recess” and exited the room for a brief period before reconvening the meeting.
After the meeting adjourned, Caddell and Picerno spoke with a Pilot reporter regarding their disagreement with the Pilot’s editorial and the phone interview with Caddell while he was under emotional duress.
“That was uncalled for,” Caddell said. Picerno called the editorial “a low blow.”
Caddell accused the writer of continuing an interview after having informed him that his father had “five days to live.” The writer assured Caddell that, both on personal and professional grounds, had he realized that was the case he would not have continued the interview.
At one point in the discussion, Picerno attempted to direct Caddell away from the reporter. “It’s not worth it,” he said.
Caddell reiterated the points he made during the meeting, stating that he considered everyone to be equal and that his father taught him to stand up for his beliefs.
At the conclusion of the conversation, Caddell said he bore no malice against anyone. “I forgive you,” he said.
Contact John Lentz at email@example.com.
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