In September, the North Carolina legislature voted to allow the citizens of North Carolina to vote to change the state constitution and include an amendment that would:
provide that marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state.
While on it’s face, the amendment might seem harmless enough, especially if you know that there is already a state law that precludes gay and lesbian couples (like Marianne and me) from getting legally married.
But nothing could be further from the truth.
In reality, this amendment would harm anyone who is not (or chooses not to become) legally married AND their immediate families. Think about it:
- Older folks whose first spouses have died, are in a committed relationship with someone new and choose not to get remarried – that relationship isn’t valid which could potentially screw with end of life decisions and decisions involving a will;
- Someone involved in a domestic violence dispute with an unmarried boy or girlfriend – DV requires a relationship to be present to be treated as such and since marriage will be the only recognized relationship in N.C., who knows what the abuser may be charged with or if it will be treated at the same level of seriousness as DV;
- Children of gay and lesbian partners – if the legal or biological parent becomes unable to care for the child, who’s to say the child will be allowed to remain with the other parent since the two were not technically married.
I am certainly not an expert on these matters, luckily, the wonderful folks at Protect NC Families have created a whole website dedicated to informing us about the harms of this amendment. The most important thing we can do, for now, is have a million (1,000,000; 1 with six zeros) conversations between now and May 8. A million isn’t super hard if you think that you only have to have 10 conversations, and then each 10 people will have 10 and on and on.
For some talking points and conversation starters, check out the Conversation Toolkit online, or download it by clicking the link below: