Amendment One Deserves Defeat
Amendment One appears at the very bottom of the May 8 primary ballot. That’s somehow appropriate, since it is beneath the dignity of a great and enlightened state like North Carolina.
This proposed amendment to the state’s constitution, which voters will have a chance to approve or reject, doesn’t just outlaw same-sex marriages. It goes a step further than similar laws in other states by banning civil unions as well. It deserves defeat.
The amendment has a lot of support from groups that call themselves conservative. But, as we have noted before in this space, that seems more than a little ironic. After all, aren’t conservatives the ones who are always complaining, often justifiably, about anything that smacks of Big Brother government thrusting its clumsy hands into our private lives? That is certainly what is going on here.
Seeking to Make Bias Permanent
From a strictly practical standpoint, there is no earthly need to go to all this trouble and expense to enshrine this officially sanctioned bias in our state constitution, since same-sex marriages are already illegal here. But for advocates of the amendment, a simple law is not enough. They want to be able to write this prohibition into the state’s fundamental governmental document, where it will presumably be set in concrete for all time.
Two things about that should trouble all thinking North Carolinians:
— Our constitutions, both state and federal, primarily set forth the rights of citizens and limit the power of various governmental entities to infringe on those rights. It would be wrong to modify that document by inserting something that itself narrows personal rights rather than broadening them.
— Many proponents of the amendment make no bones of the fact that they know majority attitudes on this subject will change over the years as a more tolerant younger generation grows to adulthood. N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis said as much the other day.
So what we have here is an unabashed effort by one generation to impose its own intolerance and doctrinal zealotry on future ages that are unlikely to share those attitudes. That effort to clamp the dead hand of the past on the future seems pretty arrogant and controlling.
Dictatorial and Discriminatory
A commonly raised argument is that marriage is intended for procreation and that gay couples can’t procreate, at least not in traditional biological fashion, and that they therefore should not be permitted to wed.
The obvious answer to that, as already offered in letters and columns on these pages, comes in the form of a question: Shouldn’t any such prohibition, to be consistent, also apply to infertile male-female couples?
Logic aside, many people are simply uncomfortable with the concept of same-sex marriage, and that’s understandable. Therefore, they should not engage in it themselves. And if they’re religious, they should make a point of joining religious organizations that share their views and refuse to perform gay marriages. What they shouldn’t do is attempt to impose their own prejudices on others, restricting their right to live their lives as they see fit — and largely for blatantly political reasons.
Besides being unnecessary, Amendment One is dictatorial, demeaning and discriminatory. Here’s hoping it will soon be dead.
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