We tried to find a CEO who supports Amendment One to interview. We worked with the two lead organizations campaigning for it, the North Carolina Family Policy Council and the NC Values Coalition. They could not find a pro-Amendment CEO willing to be interviewed for this documentary.
Our economy is not good, and there seems to be some consensus among business leaders that A1 could make it worse.
Based on our professional expertise, the language of the proposed North Carolina amendment is vague and untested, and threatens harms to a broad range of North Carolina families. The amendment is phrased more broadly than most similar amendments in other states, and would therefore likely be construed by courts more broadly than in other states.
Join Rev. Pam Strader at West Market Street United Methodist Church on Sunday, April 29, 2012, at 7:00pm in Room 415 to learn more about the issues around Amendment One, the proposed North Carolina constitutional amendment that voters will decide on May 8th.
Looking at Amendment One through the lens of local religious leaders is OK for a Sunday feature, but it's just a start...good that the N&R is covering this issue after ignoring some notable local news about it this past week, but there are many other aspects of the story to tell, and not a lot of time left before the vote.
Meanwhile, here's an op-ed piece against the amendment from the Fayetteville paper, another from Hendersonville, and, from Burlington, a breakdown of the amendment and the campaigns for and against it.
A second significant public event against Amendment One has come and gone in Greensboro without a single word or photo in the News & Record.
That's twice in four days that the local daily has completely ignored meaningful local news about a hot-button statewide issue.
As reported yesterday, people are floating various theories about the paper's lack of coverage. I tend toward my usual explanation: they fired too many people and lack the reporting muscle to do anything close to comprehensive daily journalism anymore.
A bunch of college students showed up at the Guilford County Courthouse this afternoon to vote against Amendment One. Groups from Bennett and A&T rolled in just after I finished voting.
Having the chorus of "Vote Against Amendment One" in my head was helpful as I pondered the ballot.
At the rally outside in the plaza, I spoke to some people about the N&R's complete lack of coverage -- zero, zip, nada -- of Monday night's big rally against A1 at College Park Baptist Church. I heard theories (the publisher nixed it, they don't want to cover one side unless the other side has a comparable event, Gauger just blew it). Let's see if the large crowd of young people gathering right down the street from their offices makes tomorrow's paper.
Four construction workers and I had a good talk by the plaza. One was firm in his belief that the Bible ruled out gay marriage. I talked about the civil union ban. I don't know that anyone changed their minds but it was a conversation, not an argument.
I hear teevee ads are on the way, and a serious GOTV effort is happening as well.
Invoking tradition when discussing marriage is a dangerous game, because social norms and legal rules change over time.
Traditional marriage in the United States once deprived women of rights we now take for granted.
Biblical marriage often was polygamous.
And then there's this NC marriage amendment from an earlier era: "All marriages between a white person and a negro, or between a white person and a person of negro descent to the third generation, are hereby forever prohibited."
Fortunately, "forever" did not turn out to be forever.
Even a major supporter of Amendment 1 sees a limited future for the proposed ban on civil unions. So why bother with it in the first place?
Allen Johnson's column today is headlined "Gay marriage debate may signal shift in black attitudes."
This is an article of state-wide importance, but it's hidden in the Google-proof vault. That limits distribution and also keeps readers from across North Carolina -- people who are never going to subscribe to the GSO paper, in print or online -- from noticing the N&R website. What a waste.
[T]he passage or defeat of marriage equality isn’t just about weddings. It’s about worth. It’s about the message a society delivers to men who love and pledge commitment to and maybe start families with other men, and to women who love and pledge commitment to and maybe start families with other women.
If you disdain gay and lesbian persons, and don’t care whether they and their families remain permanently outside of the protection of our laws, such a policy might be your cup of tea. But it’s not our view, and we doubt that it’s the view of most North Carolinians.
Produced by Laurelyn Dossett and Ben Singer. Video by Monkeywhale.
Musicians in order of appearance:
Laurelyn Dossett: acoustic guitar and vocals Pat Lawrence: bass Scott Manring: banjo, dobro Sam Frazier: vocals, electric guitar Molly McGinn: vocals Logie Meachum: vocals Daniel Yount: drums Ben Singer: keyboards Robin Doby Easter: vocals Martha Bassett: vocals Rhiannon Giddens Laffan: vocals
Mileah Kromer is a poly sci professor at Elon and assistant director of the Elon University poll. I asked her about voter turnout and Amendment 1, e.g., what would the impact be if Santorum bows out after PA, what's the overall relationship between turnout and the fate of Amendment 1, and so on?
My general thought is this: Citizens use what political scientists call the "calculus of voting" when deciding if and when they will vote. Part of this decision is determined by the probability that their vote will "matter"...so in that case, Santorum/Paul/Gingrich all bowing out could potentially suppress Republican turnout.
That being said, Santorum has done really well with church-going, evangelical Christian voters, who are the core demographic that support same-sex marriage bans. With Santorum out, this could keep some voters home, but at the same time, these voters may be coming to the polls to vote for Amendment 1 independent of any presidential or gubernatorial race.
Amendment 1 will be decided by which side gets their voters to the booth in May. This is a true "get out the vote" situation for both proponents and opponents the amendment. It is time for both sides to start the political "full court press"--phone banking, door-to-door, yard signs, and ramping up all tv/radio/print advertising.
"The NAACP strongly urges you to reject the so-called same sex amendment and any other present or future proposals of constitutional amendments that would permanently deprive any person in our great state of his or her inalienable rights."
Democrats may enjoy the GOP primaries, savor the thought of a convention fight, and dream of a Santorum nomination, but opponents of North Carolina's Amendment 1 probably should be rooting for a Romney win in Pennsylvania later this month and subsequent tent-folding by Santorum.
Putting this amendment, which would make civil unions unconstitutional in NC, on the primary ballot seemed like a bad thing back when state Democrats had an incumbent governor and the GOP presidential race was up in the air. Republicans seemed to have a big advantage in the turnout game.
Now we could have all-but-settled Republican contests at at the state and national levels, while the Democrats will be trying to decide on a gubernatorial nominee. That might change the GOTV math to some meaningful degree.
Unsurprisingly, opposition is even stronger when people are asked about civil unions and domestic partnerships for same-sex couples. Which, given the wording of the amendment, is the right question to ask.
Lots of work to be done, but remember the Mississippi personhood amendment, which seemed quite likely to pass right up until the end, when it didn't, as many people who supported the core concept grew uncomfortable with the scope of the actual law.
A rally against the awful Amendment 1 will be held on Monday, April 16 at College Park Baptist Church on Walker Ave. State NAACP president Reverend William Barber and UNC law prof Maxine Eichner will be among the speakers.
This bad amendment is about more than gay marriage. As one of its champions, house majority leader Skip Stam explains, "Domestic partnerships or civil unions, whether opposite-sex or same-sex, would not be valid or recognized here."
Word of mouth matters. Tell your friends. Defeating this change to our constitution is not a gay or straight thing, or a liberal/conservative thing, just a good thing.
And as always I'm puzzled by the argument that marriage should be limited to "channeling procreative sexual activity" -- if that's true, why do we allow people with no intention or ability to procreate to marry?
On May 8, everybody should vote against the proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in North Carolina – even including those who want same-sex marriage to continue being banned in North Carolina. The proposed amendment is so poorly worded and so unnecessary that its adoption would actually increase the probability of a federal court invalidating its ban on same-sex marriage...The amendment would also have other unintended consequences that would hurt everybody in our state.
One of the state's most respected legal minds, Russell M. Robinson II, speaks out against the awful Amendment 1.
The Mississippi personhood law was defeated, despite strong polling numbers right up to election day, as voters who supported the idea in principle grew uneasy with the full implications of the bill.
With less than six weeks left before the NC primary, there is hope that the same thing could happen here.
Former Supreme Court Justice Bob Orr, the former executive director of the conservative North Carolina Institute for Constitutional Law, said the fate of such an amendment may end up out of the hands of voters and legislators.
"My sense is that the federal courts will ultimately resolve this," he said.
Orr, a Republican, also questioned the need for the amendment.
"Any provision that has to be put into the ‘miscellaneous’ section of the constitution immediately raises questions about whether it should be in the state constitution," he said. "It’s probably not a provision that ought to be in."
The illustration has been scrubbed from the post, and the headline changed from "Obama Goes Gay to Get NC on Election Day" to "Obama Goes Pro Gay Marriage to Get NC on Election Day." Both revisions were made without comment.
The writer, Tara Servatius, seems to have gone to ground, and I can't find anything about the post or the image at any JLF sites. I'll send this post to John Hood for comment.
Bill Maher is right that the collective rush to the fainting couch over every barbed remark is tiresome, but wrong to lump all perceived offenses into the same get-over-it category.
Intent, content, and context matter. Hard to see how this one ends well for Servatius or JLF.
UPDATE: Via Facebook, John Hood says Servatius "is no longer a contributor to our site...I would have made that decision for her, but she beat me to the punch by ending her role."
He writes that he "is embarrassed and angered today."
Earlier this week, a freelancer who blogs at the John Locke Foundation's Charlotte site posted a piece about President Obama's opposition to North Carolina's marriage amendment. It included an illustration that was offensive and utterly inappropriate for our blog or anyone else's. A reader brought it to my attention yesterday, and I had it removed immediately, but the damage was done. I'm sorry I didn't see it earlier and I'm deeply sorry it was our site for any length of time. The political discourse in our state and nation has grown increasingly coarse, unnecessarily personal, and destructively vitriolic. This is the kind of episode that can only make the situation worse. We should be able to disagree about controversial issues without it coming to this.
An appropriate response, although three days after the post ran. Still nothing about the issue at the Meck Deck, Hood's page, or any JLF site I can find, though.
UPDATE II: Jon Ham posts about Servatius' resignation and her ugly work at Meck Deck; the same message should be added to the original post. JLF has handled this well today, but clearly oversight of blogs published under its banner needs some fixing.
UPDATE III, 5:15 PM: Servatius apologizes, after a fashion. "It was meant to illustrate Obama's southern political strategy, nothing more."
Still nothing added to the original post, would be a blogging best practice, or to any other JLF site I could find.
“While the president does not weigh in on every single ballot measure in every state, the record is clear that the president has long opposed divisive and discriminatory efforts to deny rights and benefits to same-sex couples,” said Cameron French, the Obama campaign’s North Carolina spokesman, in a statement. “That’s what the North Carolina ballot initiative would do — it would single out and discriminate against committed gay and lesbian couples — and that’s why the president does not support it.”
Helpful to the degree it helps get black voters out in opposition to this awful amendment.
NCCJ says, "We're bringing lawyer Ted Olson, former Solicitor General, to Greensboro to talk about a conservative's take on Amendment One. Maxine Eichner, professor of law at UNC, will join Olson to give perspective on the North Carolina proposal."
If you were expecting the kind of dominant candidate who could win North Dakota and Tennessee despite once having governed as a moderate in Massachusetts, you will have been disappointed in Mr. Romney. You would also have been paying very little attention to national politics for the past year. Dominant candidates do not trail people like Herman Cain and Donald Trump in the polls...
If instead you were expecting the kind of candidate who is very likely to win the Republican nomination despite losing North Dakota and Tennessee, you would have found your man.
North Carolina is not Tennessee, but if we'd voted yesterday I'd guess Santorum would have done better here than he did in Massachusetts or Idaho, and also assume a lot of his potential supporters will turn out to vote for the awful Amendment 1 even if he washes out by early May, so the campaign against the amendment had better stay sharp.
"This amendment would prevent NC from making even civil unions legal, and also nobody knows what some key parts of the amendment mean and so we can look forward to years of expensive legal wrangling if it passes."
That's one way the Constitutional Amendments Publication Commission might have worded its official explanation of Amendment 1, but this is how it actually reads:
A current North Carolina law enacted in 1996 says that marriage between individuals of the same sex are not valid in North Carolina. This amendment would make that concept part of the North Carolina Constitution. If this amendment is passed by the voters, then under state law it can only be changed by another vote of the people.
The term “domestic legal union” used in the amendment is not defined in North Carolina law. There is debate among legal experts about how this proposed constitutional amendment may impact North Carolina law as it relates to unmarried couples of same or opposite sex and same sex couples legally married in another state, particularly in regard to employment-related benefits for domestic partners; domestic violence laws; child custody and visitation rights; and end-of-life arrangements. The courts will ultimately make those decisions.
The amendment also says that private parties may still enter into contracts creating rights enforceable against each other. This means that unmarried persons, businesses and other private parties may be able to enter into agreements establishing personal rights, responsibilities, or benefits as to each other. The courts will decide the extent to which such contracts can be enforced.