Enough with the Nonsense Arguments Against Amendment One

Since the Republican controlled NC legislature passed legislation giving North Carolinians the opportunity to vote on a constitutional amendment protecting marriage, we have heard a plethora of flimsy arguments about how this will destroy lives and cause the state to slide into the abyss. The truth is this is all nonsense. The only reason one has to oppose the possibility of such an amendment is the belief that the avenue should be left open for the courts to take redefining marriage into their own hands.

One of the most ridiculous arguments against the amendment comes from our friend Governor Perdue. Perdue has made the case that she opposes this amendment because her top priority is to create jobs in North Carolina. Are you serious? It’s funny that every other state in the South has done exactly this, and they have a better job climate than North Carolina. Apparently pushing for more sales tax increases is the right way to go, but somehow upholding traditional marriage will be the nail in the coffin. Nice try.

Another argument against such an amendment is that it would be writing discrimination into our constitution. Again, this is nonsense. The wording of the amendment says nothing about homosexuals or any other particular group of people, but rather echoes current law on the books. So is the current law discriminatory? Many opponents would say yes, which further illustrates that this debate is not about whether this law would produce any new negative effects, but is about keeping the door open to a future redefining of marriage in the state.

Opponents have also constantly misled the public into believing that this amendment would drastically affect Medical Powers of Attorney, as well as wills and trusts. Again, this is simply bogus. NC law already on the books will not be affected by this legislation. Accusations are also thrown around about how this will affect custody and visitation rights of unmarried parents, which is again areas that are already dealt with in the law. Opposition to this amendment has nothing to do with any of these issues, and it is a sad statement that opponents must resort to this type distraction in order to mount opposition to this common sense amendment to the NC constitution.

Recent cases like the one in Iowa prove that this amendment is indeed needed, which debunks yet another claim by the amendment’s opponents that this is all just unnecessary. The amendment is an exact replica of current law, but in order to assure activists on the court don’t override the will of the people, the legislature has rightly given citizens the opportunity to put this in the constitution. If this doesn’t happen, the push will keep coming until finally one those folks in robes decides they know better than the citizens of NC, and takes the future of the institution of marriage into their own hands.

We can go on all day debunking the nonsense that is thrown at us from amendment one opponents. I say let’s have a real debate. Stop trying to make this about discrimination, jobs, power of attorney, child custody, and all this hoopla. For those who oppose amendment one, say what you mean: the reason you don’t want this to pass is that it will take away any chance of the courts to override the will of the people and redefine marriage as they see fit. Since citizens from both sides of the political spectrum are in favor of protecting marriage, disregarding the will of the people and going through an activist judge is the only option for pushing same-sex marriage onto NC citizens. If you support same-sex marriage, just say so, and we’ll debate it. I say, vote YES on amendment one, protect marriage, and uphold the will of the people in North Carolina!

13 comments

  1. Can the legislature not pass a marriage amendment to the constitution? You mention ballot initiative and "activist judges" but that's it…

    It baffles me how easily you guys are willing, on this issue, to look past the profound problems with letting majorities rule. The reason we have courts and a legislature is the same reason why we shouldn't put rights, ESPECIALLY minority rights, up to a popular vote.

    Would you support people voting on the outcomes of all Supreme Court cases? We wouldn't want to trample on the will of the people, would we? Nevermind that we have Supreme Courts because realizing the popular will is not the appropriate goal of enforcing rights.

    1. The point I’m trying to make is that the main reason people oppose this amendment is because they do in fact think that same-sex marriage is a right as you say, and that the law should ultimately be changed in North Carolina. Instead of making up all these reasons why this amendment will somehow do new harm to people when all it does is reflect current law, opponents should be arguing that same-sex marriage is a right, and that’s why they don’t support the amendment.

      I think the problem for opponents is that if they do that then we will have an open debate, and the majority will come to the conclusion that we should keep marriage intact. There is no violation of rights here, as opposed to the laws of the 1950s and earlier in the South, where people were specifically targeted for their race and given different rights depending on their color. If you’re a heterosexual, you can’t marry someone of the same sex either! There’s no difference in the ‘rights,’ what we’re talking about is redefining what marriage is. Following the logic of those who call current law discriminatory, wouldn’t it be a denial of equal rights to tell polygamists that their unions are unacceptable in the state?

      1. Pre Loving v. Virginia:

        There's no violation of rights here. White people can't marry black people either! What we're talking about is redefining what marriage is.

        It's worth noting that marriage has already been redefined by straight people. Until about half a century ago, women had less freedom at home and in the labor force, and less legal protections from their husbands. For most of history, women were property. So kudos for straight people changing the marriage ideal into an institution of equality of the sexes. It's time to change it again.

  2. No one is "making up" anything. You argue with the tools you are given. Yes, opponents may believe that same-sex marriage is a right, but perhaps the reason they aren't leading the charge with that is because they have already come to the conclusion that so many conservatives seem to be missing: you shouldn't make laws based on belief.

  3. How is it that you think marriage needs to be "protected" from gay people having the same rights to marry their partner that straight people do?

    Some food for thought: of the six states plus the District of Columbia that have legalized gay marriage, only New Hampshire has a divorce rate above the national average. The first to legalize it, Massachusetts, has consistently had the lowest divorce rate in the country and has continued to hold that spot for the eight years since the court ruling. North Carolina has a divorce rate of 3.9 per 1000; the national average is 3.4.

    So what "harm" is it that gay marriage does exactly?

    I'm looking for a real answer here, not a name-calling bout.

    PS: sorry I could only find 2009 data. I'll bet a good deal it hasn't changed much: http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0923080.html

  4. "The only reason one has to oppose the possibility of such an amendment is the belief that the avenue should be left open for the courts to take redefining marriage into their own hands."

    Oh, really? Fidelity to the Constitution has nothing to do with it? Wanting to oppose the tyranny of the majority has nothing to do with it? See my links below.

    There is a social conservative argument to be made for this Amendment, of course, but it is not as powerful as the constitutionalist arguments AGAINST this amendment. The socially conservative argument is based on a certain interpretation of the Christian religion. These are not legal arguments because we are not a theocracy; constitutionalist ones are legal arguments because we are a constitutional republic. Therefore, when you have to choose between the two, the constitutionalist arguments must hold over the social engineering of the evangelist right's social engineering.
    http://carolinareview.org/2012/01/conservatives-vhttp://crdaily.com/2011/09/how-about-we-stop-this

  5. If you REALLY wanted the people to decide, the question on the amendment would not be "Do you want to ban same-sex marriage (and all unions & rights like it)," but "Do you want to LEGALIZE same sex-marriage"?

    We've already covered the why the majority shouldn't vote on the minority, as well as the role the courts & legislature, etc., etc. But consider this: if you REALLY wanted to give people in NC a say on the issue, you wouldn't create an amendment in which BOTH outcomes lead to same-sex marriage still being illegal. That makes the amendment pointless. And don't talk to me about it being "extra protection." NC's Supreme Court is already very conservative, and the legislature isn't going to pass even a civil unions bill anytime soon. The only reason for this amendment is so that people can conduct a very harmful opinion poll against a minority group.

  6. Sir,
    Your opening statement can equally be rewritten against your case.

    We have heard a plethora of flimsy arguments about how "Gay marriage" will destroy lives and cause the state to slide into the abyss.

    For all your talk of real debate and real reasons, you have offered none as to why there shouldn't be equal marriage protection. So please, give us real reasons why gays and lesbians shouldn't be allowed to marry?

    I'll wait for your own "ridiculous" and "flimsy" arguments, while i respond to those in your article. The reasons you list in your article are legitimate concerns for the state:

    Jobs-
    Why move your company to a state that does not provide or allow for the equal treatment of all employees?
    Why work for a state county or local institution that does not allow for equal spousal benefits. In order to attract large businesses and keep those already here, we need to protect the rights of all employees and all families.

    Discrimination-
    By defining one group of citizens, you are also defining another group. Although the word homosexual may not appear in the wording, the group is defined by exclusion from what is said in the amendment. I don't like comparing it to race, but it may be easier for you to understand. In the past if you legally defined voters as white men, you automatically discriminate against women and people of color, even if they aren't specifically mentioned in the legal definition of a voter.

    Discrimination is the prejudicial treatment of an individual based on their membership in a certain group or category. It involves the actual behaviors towards groups such as excluding or restricting members of one group from opportunities that are available to another group. It involves excluding or restricting members of one group from opportunities that are available to other groups.

    Medical Power of attorney, Rights of parents-
    Marriage automatically conveys these powers. Therefore you make it separate and unequal for an unrecognized married couple to obtain these rights. They need to extra steps to obtain the same rights given to legally recognized married people.

    Iowa Law-
    The case of equal marriage in Iowa, only shows that you are wrong. More and more people are realizing that all people deserve equal treatment under the law. If North Carolina amends its constitution now, it will only mean that there will be more legislative time wasted on this matter in a few years when it will be overturned.

    Activist Judges,"those folks in robes"-
    The people give the judicial branch the duty to Act, (Thus all judges should be activists). The judicial branch should be the deciders of whether laws are unconstitutional. THis amendment should be deemed unconstitutional because it violates the first amendment of the NC Constitution:

    Section 1.  The equality and rights of persons.
    We hold it to be self-evident that all persons are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, the enjoyment of the fruits of their own labor, and the pursuit of happiness.

    If marriage is considered the liberty to decide whom one marries, the enjoyment of the fruits of their own labor and a pursuit of happiness. All people deserve these rights and all deserve to be recognized as equals under the law.

  7. (cont. from above) Any mental anguish or consternation that you may feel over gay marriage does not count as an infringement on your liberty. You do not have a Constitutional “right” to be happy with everything your fellow American does, and the purpose of government is not to sign your personal prejudices into law. Moreover, marriage has existed for centuries as a social contract between private parties and requires no law today to define, or “protect”, what it is. You don’t have to take my word for it see “The Moral and Constitutional Case for a Right to Gay Marriage” by Robert Levy of the Cato Institute http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/moral

  8. Next, we turn to what the Constitution actually says. It actually says a lot of things about a number of important subjects and enumerates exactly what the power and responsibilities of the government are. It also guarantees certain basic rights (Bill of Rights) but certainly does not stipulate all of the possible freedoms available to the American people since no written work could ever adequately cover such a topic. Here the ninth and tenth amendments are particularly relevant. The ninth amendment protects unenumerated rights; any rights not specifically mentioned in the Constitution are also protected as long as they meet the moral test explained above. This implicitly includes the right of homosexual Americans to marry. The tenth provides the states, or the people of that state, powers not enumerated to the United States government or that are restricted to the states by the U.S. government.

  9. So the state theoretically can decide if gay marriage is legal but this is only theoretical when we remember that we have already established that gay marriage is a Constitutional right, and we consider the restrictions that the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment places on the ability of the states to decide a matter like this. Therefore, gay marriage is in fact an unenumerated Constitutional right that no state has a right to restrict either explicitly, or in some passive aggressive manner by defining it, or restricting it, out of existence with some kind of amendment that almost qualifies as an ex-post facto law. Neither the government (federal or state) or the courts need to decide anything on gay marriage, the matter is already decided by the Constitution itself.

  10. More fundamentally, conservatives who are ostensibly so concerned about the growth of government need to oppose legislation like “amendment one” because in addition to the immediate Constitutional damage done by the law itself it will, like so many other laws, set a bad precedent allowing future restrictions on other forms of personal relationships and free association. In sum, opposition to gay marriage has no rational basis in either the spirit or the letter of the U.S. Constitution.

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