Monday, August 15, 2011

Will N.C. ever make same-sex marriage legal?

Posted By on Mon, Aug 15, 2011 at 9:21 AM


Equality NC spent the weekend getting signatures to stop a proposed constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. It's interesting that the GOP-controlled General Assembly wants to push this legislation through when such an amendment may hurt North Carolina.

How, you ask? University of North Carolina law professor explains it this way:

"the larger economic impact may be based on the perception of what the policy means about the state of North Carolina as a place to live and do business. In this way, even the Constitutional amendment that apparently would only codify state law could have an effect on business as it changes the perception of the state." In addition to impacting the perception of the state as a good place to do business, other UNC Law professors have also pointed out that the passage of such an amendment could impact those already doing business here, undermining "private employers efforts to attract top employees to North Carolina by providing employee benefits to domestic partners."

North Carolina is one of 37 states with a law that defines marriage as something between a man and a woman. According to an article in The Charlotte Observer, conservative groups are saying this is a biblical issue. (Which means the government shouldn't even be involved. Separation of Church and State, anyone?)

Proposed constitutional amendments must be decided by voters. To get on a ballot, the proposed amendment needs three-fifths majorities of the House and Senate. About 30 other states have constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage. Constitutional changes were eventually approved in every state where they made it on to ballots.

North Carolina is one of 37 states with active laws defining marriage between a man and woman.

Ron Baity, president of the conservative Christian organization Return America, was a featured speaker at a pro-ban rally that drew thousands to Raleigh in May. Baity, a pastor frequently invited to speak at Baptist churches around the state, says he preaches about supporting the constitutional ban.

"It's a biblical issue," Baity said. "Our organization is pushing to say to our legislature, 'We want you to vote on it.' "

A poll of North Carolina residents
showed that more than half of the people who participated support same sex-unions. So, who does this proposed legislation benefit? The people writing it? If voters sent their representatives to Raleigh to do the work of the people, maybe it's time to pull a Wisconsin and call them back. Because, this is not what the people want.

Equality NC hopes to have 50,000 signed postcards in favor of same-sex marriage and against the proposed constitutional amendment to deliver to legislators in September, when lawmakers return.

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