Saturday, May 5, 2012

Till Tuesday...The Spector of Amendment One


The absurd travesty of justice that is North Carolina's Amendment One is coming to a vote this Tuesday and all of us are watching, semi-hopeful and fingers crossed. While I have not weighed in on the subject of Amendment one, allow me to correct that this week by giving some of my thoughts on what I see as a ridiculous effort on the part of conservatives lawmakers to not only shut the door against gay marriage forever, but also nail it shut and then burn  the house down with themselves inside. I know that I am holding my breath until the vote is over this Tuesday and I thought I would take a moment to discuss the Amendment and why I think it's adoption would ultimately be North Carolina shooting itself in the foot....pull up a chair and a steaming cup of whatever you like and join me...


Just because I have not covered Amendment One doesn't mean that it isn't being talked about or analysed down to the subatomic level by bloggers and pundits more informed and seasoned than I, most notably Pam Spaulding of Pam's House Blend...being North Carolinian has been absorbed in reporting on Amendment One for months and what has emerged from all the coverage is a sad tale of lawmakers afraid of the approaching tide of social change....again. As polls shift in favor of allowing gays and lesbians to marry and more states accept it, the more nervous conservatives become and so here we are, not fighting for marriage equality but fighting not to ban it's eventual possibility at any point in the future....ever.


The amendment sponsored by Republican Senator Peter Brunstetter has come under criticism for...well, a ton of reasons actually...but one headliner is its vague wording which aims not only to ban same-sex marriage but also any chance at domestic partnerships or civil unions for anyone. The amendment as it reads states:

"Marriage 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."


That's it...they want to make sure that same-sex couples get no recognition for their relationships at all....zero...forever and always...and they don't care who else they hurt in the process. In their zeal to block LGBT's from legal recognition they did not exempt other heterosexual families from the ban. Therefore, ALL civil unions and domestic partnerships will be banned regardless if the participants are gay or straight. Furthermore it creates a very narrow legal definition of what constitutes a family in the eyes of the state. This creates a much larger problem for family law as Amendment one's rather narrow definition of a "family" as "one man and one woman" in a marriage can be interpreted in its narrowest sense to strip the rights and benefits away from unmarried families and their children. Among those protections now at risk are health care benefits and prescription drug coverage, custody and visitation rights. It could also prevent hospital visitation between unmarried couples as well as threatening domestic violence protections for unmarried women....all to stop the radical gays from ruining their divorces(oops)....marriages. Funny how important one word can be eh?


So, in their rush to make sure the gays don't get marriage and thus unravel the fabric of the universe as they see it, they are willing to sacrifice the protections of anyone(gay or straight) who does not fit their religious view of what constitutes a legitimate family and they are more than willing to put children in harms way because they can always blame their parents for being unmarried rather than their witch hunt.


But...among the stranger details of the genesis of Amendment one is the impetus for its creation which has it's roots in nothing but irrational fear and old fashioned racism. Recent weeks saw the story break regarding Jodie Brunstetter's statements that one of the reasons for the creation of the bill is because the "Caucasian race is diminishing" and her reasoning seems to be connected to those same Caucasians not having babies because of same-sex marriage......./facepalm...






Check it out for yourself:





So were exactly is the protection here? As it is abundantly clear, proponents of Amendment one are not out to protect anyone except those who are Caucasian, married, and Christian goes without saying. So much for "all men are created equal". The more that emerges from Amendment One, the more it appears as if they are raising the drawbridges and readying the boiling oil for the invading hordes that haven't even yet appeared at their door.


So many people from celebrities, politicians, faith leaders, and legal experts have spoken out against amendment one that it boggles the mind somewhat that they outcome is still uncertain....yet polls and predictions still tell us that is passage is likely due to it's deceptive wording and lack of awareness on the part of the average voter. As long as proponents can continue to frame the bill as a gay issue, that's all many people will  view it as when in the voting booth, not seeing the implications to themselves or their own families...not to mention the gay or lesbian families they will harm in the process.


Early voting has already begun, but the official vote takes place on Tuesday. As the day approaches I will be keeping North Carolina in my thoughts and prayers, hoping that Wednesday will be a day to celebrate. But in order to see that day we have to keep talking about Amendment One and keep shining the light so that others can see what a hurtfull, ill-thought out, and destructive measure it is.


To learn more please visit: www.protectallncfamilies.org
or join their facebook page at: www.facebook.com/ProtectNCFamilies


Until next time dear readers......







23 comments:

  1. If I wasn't buried in finals right now, I probably would be spending a lot of time researching this, as it is all I can do is take a few minutes to get pissed that this is up for a vote. Thanks for covering it.

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  2. It's most likely going to pass because the people who are voting (majority anyway) don't care about the possible consequences. This makes me angry because this crap comes from the people who are always paranoid about unintended consequences of government. They need to know that the kind of government that can tell people they can't have an abortion can also tell people who they can marry. It goes both ways.

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  3. Dave, the OriginalMay 5, 2012 at 6:52 PM

    Wow…two Dave’s? I am the original Dave from Omaha who you all know well now. If our new Dave becomes a regular, one of us will have to tweak our on-screen name so you can tell us apart.

    I haven’t heard how the opponents of Amendment One are going about it, so I can’t assess how effective they are. One things for sure, and I’ve said this before at least twice. We need to use the term “marriage discrimination” rather than “traditional marriage” and we need to jam it down the throats of our opponents until they choke on it. Marriage equality is only about getting a license at city hall; it is not about religious marriage. Gays being able to get marriage licenses too poses no threat to anyone—not to existing straight marriages and not to their straight children whose orientation was biologically determined and who won’t be and can’t be persuaded to switch by hearing of alternative marriage options.

    This is about more than supposedly preserving heterosexual marriage. That will continue on all by itself. This is about theocracy, bigotry and inherent unfairness and this also needs to be jammed down the throats of our opponents until they choke on it. No himelick for you. Sorry….

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  4. well..it seems to me to be like the sodomy law we had in texas that was overturned by lawrence v texas where two men one elderly were having consensual oral sex in the older man's home. apparently his peeping tom neighbors called the cops. if it passes it will be overturned it will just be a matter of time. hopefully.

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    1. Dave, the OriginalMay 6, 2012 at 9:47 AM

      That Amendment might get overturned, but only if we keep the proportion of Republicans on the Supreme Court from getting any larger. One reason I haven't voted for a Republican president in roughly 20 years is that they are usually theocratic freaks who will appoint the same to the Court. Only by keeping the body count of Republicans on the Court down is there any hope that they will ever recognize "heightened scrutiny" as a more appropriate standard of review in legislative sexual orientation discrimination cases. Using "rational basis" as the review standard in these cases is a joke and often result in us losing.

      The so-called culture war often forces me to be a single-issue voter whereas, if the Republican party and the religious right weren't one, I wouldn't be. In terms of profile, I tend to be fiscally conservative but socially liberal. That either makes me a moderate or politically schizophrenic and whichever I am is basically in the eye of the beholder. For me the social issues, particularly LGBT ones, are super compelling and have the potential of harming me directly depending on how things turn out. So I normally vote democrat at the presidential, senate and house levels and just hope those folks don't harm the economy too much.

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    2. i too am economically conservative and socially liberal...it costs me money to legislate and enforce all those retarded moral laws. i tend to end up voting for the lesser evil when i have to. that said i dont vote for president, its a worthless vote until the electoral college is obligated to follow it; 'course at that point just drop the college. i tend to be as much anti-democrat as i am anti-republican. generally im a green party guy but i dont vote based on party i vote on stance. as a gay pagan, i chose long ago to reject 'their' culture and insert my own, 'they' did not want me anyway.

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  5. These marriage initiatives have already been proven unconstitutional with the Prop.8 trial. How the majority can put minorities rights on a ballot and vote them away is INHERITANTLY unconstitutional..right? I just don't understand how this is being allowed to continue?

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    1. Dave, the OriginalMay 7, 2012 at 11:51 AM

      Hi Jim,

      Yes, these ballot initiatives, or at least the California version, was found federally unconstitutional (denial of federal equal protection of the laws) by both the California Federal District Court and the 9th Circuit, but here’s the problem, in part anyway. The 9th Circuit is widely recognized as the most liberal circuit and their decisions are overturned more than any other circuit, which isn’t helpful. There also is a factual difference between Amendment One and Prop 8 which could be important legally: Prop 8 TOOK AWAY gay people’s (only briefly enjoyed) right to marry in California. In North Carolina, gays have never had a right to marry, not even for a millisecond, so there was no right of theirs to TAKE AWAY in the first place. Until such time as the U.S. Supreme Court ITSELF recognizes gays as a “suspect class” for discrimination purposes and extends the fundamental right to marry to us too, we will continue to be at the mercy of state legislatures and bigots at the polls.

      Generally, among those in the heterosexual hate community, protecting any rights of any kind for gay people by a court is called “judicial activism,” whereas having such potential rights up for a vote by the people, and presumptively taken away—of course—is called “the democratic process.”

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    2. the additional straw on the camels back is that not only are these initiatives often proven unconstitutional...this one was undertaken just to make SURE that gay marriage is never legal in NC as it is not and never was. This isn't just taking away a right because they did not already have it in place...this is making dam sure all of NC's gay populace never see's recognition right down to their children and grandchildren....and to accomplish this they are willing to throw all single parent families under the bus.

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    3. Dave, the OriginalMay 7, 2012 at 6:44 PM

      Bryan,

      I think there was some article at The Advocate documenting how marriage equality has been constitutionally (statewise) out of existence in most of the South. This is why, as a gay person, I refuse to ever live there. I'll deep fry my privates before I'll ever move to Haters' Woodstock. :-D And I can't think of a worse environment for a gay couple to raise children in.

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    4. Dave, the OriginalMay 7, 2012 at 7:16 PM

      Come to think of it, Nebraska--where I live--is just as bad as the South. We passed our own amendment to our state constitution banning gay marriage, civil unions, domestic partnerships, EVERYTHING. And we did this roughly 10 years ago. Two thirds voted in favor of that monstrosity. Maybe then we led the way and the South copied us. What a boobie prize that is! So, now I find I'm in violation of my own standard I set above. (So where is it that I put that deep fat fryer of mine...? :=D )

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    5. i love deep fat fried meat as much as any carnivore but seriously..ouch! mmm....deep fat fried meat....mmmm bacon....sry food for thoughts is a hungering event.

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    6. Dave, the OriginalMay 8, 2012 at 7:51 AM

      Whenever penile habenero poppers appear on the menu, find yourself a different Mexican restaurant--fast! :=D :=D

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    7. ok, now i just want to make some habanero pepper thing that i can shape like a penis and post pictures. it would be prodigious and 'spicy.' lol

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  6. Dave, the OriginalMay 8, 2012 at 7:45 PM

    I just learned from joe.my.god that Amendment One passed.

    To any LGTB people here from North Carolina, I am so very sorry for your loss due to Amendment One. Even though the legal protection of marriage is even more lost to you now until such time as the Supreme Court finds all these amendments as unconstitutionally denying your equal protection rights federally, go ahead and have your ceremony anyway. Anyone who marries, even gay people, do it initially not for an enhanced benefits package but for emotional reasons. Asking your other half to marry you is the greatest and most profound declaration of your love you can ever give to him. This is about promising to cherish, care for and love each other forever. No Shiite Republican, no militant Christian and no toothless redneck, nor even thousands or millions of them can stop the two of you from promising each other these things. And, even if it has no legal effect, still go ahead and buy wedding rings. Do this for yourselves and no one else. You deserve it. And, whatever you do, don’t refer to him by some pathetic second-rate watered down designation like “partner” or “co-civil unionist” or whatever else. Dammit, call him your husband, because that’s who he really is in your heart. And accept nothing less from him.

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    1. exactly... i share the sentiment and in that union of spirit may you blessed be.

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  7. Dave, the OriginalMay 9, 2012 at 3:02 PM

    Bryan,

    I saw Jay’s Amendment One response video and agree with your family’s rule not to travel to or give your business to any state that gives no recognition to your family or to your married or coupled status at all. It’s pretty obvious that Nebraska and now North Carolina flunk your standard by the extreme of outlawing by constitutional amendment marriage, civil unions AND domestic partnerships. I’d do the same thing myself if I were in your shoes. I’m curious though how you apply that standard in somewhat grayer circumstances such as these:

    1. A state, by constitutional amendment, bans only marriage equality but that state allows other unions by statute;
    2. A state bans only marriage equality by constitutional amendment, but is silent on other unions and that state hasn’t yet got around to passing statutes recognizing other unions.

    In my own life, I reward gay-friendly businesses with my business, Starbucks being the most obvious example, and stay away from gay-bashing douche bag companies. Starbucks isn’t necessarily the best latte option for me either taste-wise or pricewise and its selection of syrups, at least here, is pretty narrow compared to other places, but I don’t care. They stuck up for us on marriage equality, so they get my coffee drink business exclusively. Whenever I go there, I even think of it in terms of going for a cup of “marriage equality.”

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    1. Dave, the OriginalMay 9, 2012 at 3:27 PM

      You may have heard now that President Obama came out supporting marriage equality for us. There is a thank you petition to sign which I found the link to on joe.my.god.blogspot. Here's the link:

      http://thinkprogress.org/take-action/thank-obama-lgbt-b/

      I've already signed. Please everyone here do the same.

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  8. off the politics for a moment...umm..i totally lost it today...i saw a guy and my first thought (once i could) was 'where are jay and the kids!?" my next thought was 'what are you doing in odessa texas, in a commercial food supply????' i think he looks more like you than that irish guy. my mind kind of went numb for a moment. the good news is that i know, now, that if fate ever somehow makes us cross paths i wont be the puddle i thought i would be. course that was a just in passing and totally lacking jay so i could be wrong.

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  9. Dave, the OriginalMay 12, 2012 at 2:36 PM

    In my sympathy message to gay North Carolinians, I urged those of them who made marriage proposals and then had a commitment ceremony to refer to their other half as their husband. I think now that those of us outside North Carolina who are partnered but not married in the legal sense should do the same. If you proposed marriage and the vows that you took or the promises you made to each other are of the type that most anyone regard them as marital vows, then why wouldn’t you give your other half both the honor and respect of calling him and introducing him as what he truly is in your heart—your husband? Isn’t what’s in your heart ultimately more important to you personally than what the law calls you—not that it isn’t important too, especially in terms of legal protections? And in saying “partner” instead, aren’t you adopting the terminology of your ideological enemy who either out of bigotry or ignorance withholds from you the status that most accurately reflects how you actually live? Why give them that satisfaction? Will a wilding Shiite Republican lynch mob be dispatched to wash your mouth out with soap and water for uttering the phrase “my husband?” If questioned, you can explain the sorts of love declarations you made to your other half when you dropped on one knee and presented a ring and what you ultimately asked of him—it wasn’t “will you be my domestic partner, roommate or apartment co-lessee?”—and that the vows the two of you took were marital in nature. On the planet you come from, that’s a marriage and you now have a husband, and you choose to honor him by calling him what he truly is to you even if the law doesn’t yet recognize it as such. This can be a good teachable moment for such people in that you’re showing you take marriage seriously and, apart from the gender issues they might have with you, that you’re good commitment material and that gay people who marry or want to are just as capable of this as straights are. You can make them understand that you think the taking commitment seriously element is more important to you than the genders involved and that, commitment-wise, you’re no different than they are. (You may, in fact, take it even more seriously than they do, but that’s better unsaid.)

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    1. i agree..but my friend from georgia who is merely agnostic(as opposed to a circle casting gay pagan like me) was treated really horribly for not being 'christian' and everything i have seen so far that holds pretty true for that whole region, including the carolinas. so besides saying, to any glbt, gtfo, even texas treats you with more dignity than they do, if your staying or are stuck there for right now be safe even if that means having to conceal yourself.

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    2. Dave, the OriginalMay 13, 2012 at 5:08 AM

      Oops. Made a little mistake above, or at least didn't mention something maybe I should have. My comments immediately above assume anyone you might say such things to already knows you're gay and that you have someone, but they just haven't met your special someone yet. If I created the impression above that I advocate indiscriminantly and recklessly coming out to anyone or everyone, that's not what I meant. Please don't just walk in a room just anywhere and say, "Hey, look at me everyone. I'm gay and this is my husband." Depending where you are, doing things like that could put you in unsafe situations. So, please don't do that.

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