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Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Republican lawyer's open letter to anyone angry with North Carolina over Amendment One

Posted By on Thu, May 10, 2012 at 12:48 PM

To everyone who is angry with North Carolinians:

I'm a registered Republican who lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, and I have something to say to those of you who are angry enough about Amendment One's passage to consider boycotting the Democratic National Convention: "Don't hate us, educate us."

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My adopted home state of North Carolina (I'm a native Floridian and lived there until 2009) just passed Amendment One by a large margin. Interestingly, only part of the proposed constitutional amendment's actual text was placed on the ballot: "Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State." Voters were asked to vote "For" or "Against" the Amendment. North Carolina's voters are registered as follows: Democrat, 43.44 percent; Republican, 31.38 percent; Independent/Unaffiliated, 24.96 percent; Libertarian, .22 percent.

While Amendment One was always expected to pass, opponents of it (of which I was one, as was my wife) rallied against it as the election drew closer, and many polls showed that the gap was closing. Ultimately, however, North Carolina voters passed it at a rate of 61 percent to 39 percent. (It is important to note that Mecklenburg County — Charlotte — voted against the Amendment.) In addition to the intended consequences of the amendment, many of us worry about the unintended consequences. As a 16 year attorney licensed in Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee and Federal Court, my legal analysis (and those by other intellectually honest attorneys) causes me to conclude that the consequences of Amendment One will reach far beyond "gay marriage".

This has caused a significant national backlash, including many who want this fall's Democratic National Convention to be moved away from Charlotte. Since that isn't going to happen, many have talked of boycotting the DNC as a way of protesting the amendment, and North Carolina in general. To you I say: please kill us with kindness.

What better way to begin to pierce the fog of what you perceive as ignorance than by coming here and demonstrating yourselves to be good and valuable citizens? What more magnificent reaction to perceived hostility than delivering to us, in person, good will and an offer of friendship? What more effective counter to perceived discrimination than bringing acceptance and an open mind directly to us?

If you feel that North Carolinians have let you down, or showed themselves to be small minded, now is your chance to rise above that, to be better than it. For the Democrats among you, please realize that this amendment could not have passed without strong support from the registered Democrats in North Carolina, who constitute the largest political party here by a wide margin. Please take this opportunity to visit us here in Charlotte, and in North Carolina, and see if you can perhaps change some minds. After all, in a country like ours in which we have moved past politics over the barrel of a gun, changing the country starts with changing enough minds. Thank you.

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