The Simple Facts of a Simple Amendment
By Robert L. Deucher
Special to The Pilot
"M arriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state. This section does not prohibit a private party from entering into contracts with another private party; nor does this section prohibit courts from adjudicating the rights of private parties pursuant to such contracts." (Proposed Article 14, sec 6.)
The natural law is immutable, and cannot change; it is written in the human soul. This is the framework that provides a brief and objective review of the numerous personal, emotional and political arguments about the marriage amendment for our state.
It is a simple and objective truth that only the most strident atheist can attempt to ignore. Social scientists, political scientists and philosophers can share common ground that certain truths govern our existence. The natural law, as reflected by virtually every society and countless religions, has implicitly maintained the union of a man and woman as its primary societal unit.
In this regard, positive laws (i.e., man-made laws) need to flow from and support the natural law.
Those that do will create a society that will seek the common good while promoting individual liberty. At the same time, the natural law dictates that some positive laws are firm and distinct, without any middle ground of compromise.
Western civilization has developed positive laws based on a Judeo-Christian philosophy. As a modern example of this, polygamy was outlawed in every state in our union in the 19th century, thereby enforcing the constitutional rights of states to define marriage.
The definition of marriage has been an assumption until the present age, when confusion about individual liberties has reigned supreme.
The state of North Carolina statute in 1996 states that marriage is essentially defined as one man and one woman. This had bipartisan support, including state Sen. Perdue (now governor), state Sen. Cooper (now attorney general) and state Rep. Hackney (previous speaker). Why would such prominent leaders now reverse positions and inject confusion?
Most readers will be surprised to find that this is not "Amendment One." In fact, North Carolina is currently governed by its third constitution, ratified in 1971. Between 1971 and 2004, 28 amendments were brought to the voters.
Certainly our legislators did not err in mislabeling this "marriage amendment" (see Senate Bill 514). Rather, this was injected by contrarians to confuse the voters with fear that they are violating a document for the first time.
The amendment is factually a defensive rather than an offensive procedure. The current law is under legal challenge in Asheville as unconstitutional, and it will continue to be assailed in future years.
Of note, the Williams Institute of UCLA, in support of same-sex unions, cites that a minuscule 0.12 percent of U.S. households are same-sex couples with children.
Yet it has been suggested that this amendment is a costly waste for our state, whereas the exact opposite is the fact. The state will need to repeatedly defend its 1996 statute at taxpayer expense for these few. If passed, the amendment will then be solidified, whereby only we the people can change it by another vote.
The amendment defends the religious liberties of all. If same-sex marriages were permitted, faith-based adoption agencies would be forced to comply against their beliefs or close. This is factually happening in Massachusetts, Washington, D.C., and Illinois, where orphans become victims. Religious liberty must be protected and not discriminated against.
Claims of intolerance are incorrect when such groups as Courage (see couragerc.net) support people of same-sex attraction in a Christian way. Fundamental human dignity is not reduced to sexual expression.
The genetic argument is less relevant to the discussion. Genetics of other conditions are better substantiated, yet do not lead to a redefinition of societal institutions.
Finally, arguments regarding legal, medical and financial benefits to partners can be pursued through contract law. Advanced directives, wills and contracts remain untouched as noted in the amendment.
Single people and people cohabitating are not affected by this law. Rather than distorting the definition of marriage, a more courteous and appropriate avenue is to work with employers and agencies who determine the regulation of benefits.
To vote for the marriage amendment is to comply with the natural law; to adhere to our Judeo-Christian view of positive law; and to preserve religious liberties for all in our society. It is not discriminatory, since it follows this hierarchy.
Robert L. Deucher, M.D., who describes himself as "a father of 12 with one wonderful wife," lives in Vass.
More like this story