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« I will lay me down for to bleed a while | Main | Post mortem »

May 09, 2012


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How sure are we that voters were unaware of the other implications of the amendment, rather than being aware and not caring? For that matter, how many voters still think living together sans marriage is sinful? Why they would expect the state to enforce their notions of sin is another matter.

Account Deleted

I know a lot of activists across the state look at this blog, so I am going to try and put a few fleeting thoughts down here:

1. Appeal to the heart. How can you deny full liberty to thousands of your neighbors?

2. Get the most vocal of your activists to tone down the rhetoric. I am aware of several educated, rational adults who come from traditional backgrounds who otherwise would have likely not voted or voted no on the amendment who voted yes solely because they were tired of being called a hater or a bigot for not scaling the barricades and charging the front lines.

3. More on rhetoric: The simple message that this would ban civil unions (which I think hardly anyone can deny is an acceptable compromise in such a fervently religious country) was completely lost under a wave of media shouting how this will harm the children and cut off people from health insurance. Even the arguments about domestic violence laws were ineffective. In my mind, the nullification of potential civil unions and the potential for some unmarried women to lose domestic violence protections should have been the core arguments after number one posted above.

I'm sure we have months and years of argument over this issue ahead of us. It is difficult for the average North Carolinian who is not a constitutional scholar or a political activist to process the true breadth of what it means to promote inclusiveness and to allow the founder's intent toward liberty to evolve from its base as put forth in the 1780s. Having everyone's Facebook feed screaming "God said so!" or "Hate! Bigotry!" is no way to have such an important argument. This has to be taken into account, the way in which people receive and process information these days.

In sum, I come from this state's red clay and I've really tried to understand how people view this issue over the last few months. It boils down to the Bible being used to define elements of our governance and I cannot find that acceptable. I truly feel sadness for the thousands of gay people that I know live around me. I can only wonder how they are feeling this morning. If they ever come for the felons, the depressive or the fat people, I want you to know that I tried to stand up for you.


Sounds great Jeff, but as regular readers of this blog know, appealing to the heart and even the simple message that banning all forms of civil unions is wrong, are lost on many. True, not all but when people see lgbt as "inferior" or "deviants" from themselves, no amount of appealing to empathy matters. It's clear by the large margin total 61% - 39% that there was more going on here than just misunderstanding the implications. This is indeed the saddest part, the fact that such willful discrimination was blatantly written into our state's constitution.


The amendment carried 93 0f 100 counties. It carried by 61-39 %, a landslide by any definition. It carried in a state where registered democrats outnumber republicans by 45-32%.

Maybe it is time for the progressive activists in this community to reconsider their assumption that any disagreement with them is “awful” and the tired, failed strategy that such disagreement definitionally constitutes hate, racism , homophobia, xenophobia, misogyny, fascism or intolerance.

One commenter here, Sean I believe, even expressed the opinion that we should not have even been given the chance to vote on it, which is mind-boggling, considering that putting it on the ballot gave for the first time a democratic opportunity for the people to change or reinforce the status quo, which I never heard opponents complain about prior to that opportunity. Given that opportunity, the people have spoken unambiguously.

Now as before, NC is one of 29 states define marriage as between a man and a woman, and 19 either do not recognize or restrict homosexual civil unions while only 6 permit gay marriage and only two give similar rights to civil unions. So any argument that North Carolina, in reinforcing what was already in place, has somehow newly defined itself as a behind-the-times outlier on the national stage simply does not wash. The lesson to be learned here (or not) is that attempting to shame the majority and paint them as some kind of radical fringe does not work. Disdain and derision for the few undecideds who dare raise genuine questions and invite discussion here about both the pros AND cons of the amendment as “obtuse” is an even less effective strategy for success.

Perhaps the best illustration of this perversion of the concept of intolerance and disdain for divergent of viewpoints from many on the left, in these very blog forums whose purported function is to discuss issues, agree or disagree, is that the blog where I originally attempted to post this would not even accept my comment. Apparently it didn’t meet his standards for “moderation”. This to me is the absolute epitome of closemindedness and intolerance.


Wow, tomorrow came and here they are howling and gnashing their teeth. As predicted....


Suggesting that inherent human rights should not be put up to a plebiscite is hardly "mind-bobbling" at all. Indeed, the framers of the Constitution thought putting the rights of the minority beyond the reach of a popular vote was a fine idea, certain blind spots (i.e., slaves, and women of all stations in life) notwithstanding.

And refusal to tolerate intolerance is not, itself, intolerant. It's the difference between arguing about which direction to go in and blowing up the car and the road.


That's right, buttpicker, I don't tolerate intolerance.

Ken Hill

cheri said it quite well. I too have been banned for failing to reflexively agree with a blogger.
So much for being "open minded".


Ken Hill or Mergatroyd, whoever you are, see my previous comment.


That's a classic, Fec. Now scoot along back home and pull your own pre-loaded string a few times. Maybe you can even learn a few new 5 dollar words to make your shallow demonizing stereotypes sound even more faux-intellectual.

Ed Cone

Jeff, good thoughts. I believed the civil unions issue might be the strongest political message, and I was disappointed that the campaign against A1 didn't stress it more.

The margin was overwhelming enough that a better-focused (and earlier-starting) campaign might have made no difference, but it's hard to imagine it doing worse.

I agree that you don't win people over by calling them names, and I have deeper doubts beyond politics about the wisdom and morality of demonizing large groups of people.

At the same time, harsh rhetoric flowed both ways, so maybe some folks who were repelled by one flavor but not the other were strongly disposed toward voting one way all along.


Authoritarians cannot be persuaded.


Ed, your obvious and laudable passion for this issue notwithstanding, I found your commentary in these threads more welcoming of discussion and respectful disagreement than most.


You're right, Ed. The civil unions message was the strongest one. And the campaign against A1 thought they knew better (or listened to people who thought they knew better) and didn't use it.

They should refund money to the donors to whom they sold their snake oil.

They performed exactly as the PPP polls had been telling them for months (really years).

That is, NCians favor civil unions, but not marriage.

The formal campaign against the amendment (Protect NC Families) was a breathtaking display of incompetence despite the free polling available to them prior to their inception.


Conciliation is the reason we lost this fight.


You delude yourself by thinking you fought the good fight, when in fact by providing the opposition a forum to advance their hateful lies, your actions have been traitorous.

Grow up and become a useful liberal instead of a useful idiot.


Freedom has always been purchased by those willing to fight and die for a cause. Morality is a concept unknown to the opposition. You make the classic mistake of judging them with your own values. Accept once and for all that they are misanthropes and resolve to vanquish them wherever they are found.

Mercy is a luxury we cannot afford.


God provided us a wonderful object lesson in the guise of The Evil Dr. Guarino. Learn from this.


This ammendment won because people are for marriage. Everything else was lost in the the rhetoric from both sides.


That doesn't mean they are against other types of unions, but in reading the amendment they chose to be for something that has been integral to our society for eons.

Quite clever on the part of Republicans. Drape a flag or bible over it and watch people fawn.......


This was an anti-gay vote. The question could have been whether only heterosexuals should be allowed to have drivers licenses and it would have passed. All the rest was rhetoric. Organizing society by referendum is an interesting approach. Let's see how that works out.


"Maybe it is time for the progressive activists in this community to reconsider their assumption that any disagreement with them is “awful” and the tired, failed strategy that such disagreement definitionally constitutes hate, racism , homophobia, xenophobia, misogyny, fascism or intolerance."

Wishful thinking with few exceptions.

This debate was oversimplified and dumbed-down by people on both sides. When "my values are better than your values" is the issue, then the stalemate can only be broken by popular vote. On the other hand, when we are talking about actual rights, that will be decided in a court of law. And as I've said all along, that is where the complications begin. That eventual ruling will not rest on what Jesus said or whether someone is a bigot.

It is also noteworthy that liberals, who often claim to speak for the downtrodden and the common man against the power structure, actually think the downtrodden and the common man are pretty stupid when left to their own devices without liberal guidance. This is a fine example. North Carolina and the majority of the other states that don't recognize same-sex marriage (including California) are filled with idiots who are irresponsible with their democracy. We need to tolerate and love our neighbor- unless they disagree with us, in which case they are bigoted morons who should be marginalized and shunned regardless of the basis for their objections.

That's pretty much the way this played out.

Ed Cone

The saying is that nobody reads past the comma.

The pro-A1 team won the messaging game so convincingly that the N&R was still parroting the slogan this morning.

sean coon

Yes, cp, I did say that the majority voting on the rights of the minority is wrong. And i still believe that. If the amendment read something along the lines of, "A vote to allow civil unions as a state recognized domestic union." Then all voters would have had skin in the game. As it turned out, the language triggered a pavlovian response mechanism to defend marriage on multiple levels -- as an institution and as a heterosexual institution -- and the very notion of alternative unions, for all of us, became dark to both the conversation and the voting process.

I also wrote that when I voted, the language even had me pause, as I'm a huge believer in the institution of marriage. That pause on my side probably acted like a shot of adrenaline to others who never considered how it might affect themselves or their straight friends and families. All they read was "one man's and woman" and the vote became steeped in morality and the decision to codify such morals into the state constitution.

Hey, this is a democracy. Obviously, people are allowed to vote on such measures... but that doesn't make it just.

Ed Cone

"...the majority voting on the rights of the minority is wrong."

This is a core American principle and a major driver of the Bill of Rights.

Obviously there's disagreement on what is covered by the penumbra of inalienable rights, but the concept of protecting certain rights even from majority rule is foundational in this country.


Sykes nailed it.


Ed Cone:

"...the majority voting on the rights of the minority is wrong."

This is a core American principle and a major driver of the Bill of Rights.

The Bill of Rights is not a tool to use against the majority except to those who wish to remove self governance from our list of core American principles.

Seriously, what's left when the Bill of Rights is no longer about shielding the citizenry from government, but rather protecting that portion of the citizenry government chooses to protect?

Of course, the "tyranny of the majority" is held in check by what most today call gridlock or broken governance.

Ed Cone

No, it's not a tool to use against the majority, but it is by design and intent a tool to protect the rights of the minority.


That is an interesting distortion of the individual rights found in the Bill of Rights. Of course, most of us recognize that individual rights do not translate into minority rights despite the notion that "the individual is the ultimate minority".

Ed Cone

Your argument is with James Madison on this one, Frog. Best of luck.


"Your argument is with James Madison on this one, Frog."

I must have missed that. Care to point out where Madison said "the individual is the ultimate minority"?

Ed Cone

Those words were introduced here by Frog, not Madison or me.

Madison and I were talking about the need to protect the minority from the majority.


Ed Cone:

Your argument is with James Madison on this one, Frog.

Unnecessary and bordering on silly what with the Bill of Rights there to read.

Point out one right in the Bill of Rights that is intended to protect a particular group over another. You can not. All the rights found in the Bill of Rights are the rights of all individuals and as such there is no room for protecting the rights of the minority within the Bill of Rights. If all are protected, how can a minority find protection over a majority?

In the end the argument that the Bill of Rights has at its core minority protection from the majority is a fundamental attack on the Bill of Right's actual intent ... protecting the individual from the state.


Should have put that in single quotes, Bubba. My bad.


I thought polifrog had died. I'm glad he's alive.


He hangs out at the Sonic parking lot in Eden.




The Sonic has been raised...

Account Deleted

The founders crafted the US Senate in order to protect the minority elite against the tyranny of the majority for starters. Shall we go on?


"He hangs out at the Sonic parking lot in Eden."

And you know that because you're the carhop that serves him.

Too bad they don't require the servers on roller skates. THAT would be an amusing sight.

Ed Cone

Again, Frog, you are arguing with Madison, who in 1787 wrote to Washington about the need to control "the aggressions of interested majorities on the rights of minorities and of individuals."

The link I provided leads to Federalist #10, which is a fine starting place for those interested in his thoughts on this topic.

Steve Harrison

"Wow, tomorrow came and here they are howling and gnashing their teeth. As predicted...."

Yeah, and the other side is chomping at the bit to strip benefits away from same-sex couples.

But don't pay it any attention. That's just a scare tactic from the Left, put forward because they refuse to argue honestly about this harmless Amendment.


Steve, the last time I checked as of 5pm today, they were still issuing domestic violence protection orders to unmarried people and nobody lost custody because of Amendment One. Has anyone checked with the lady in the ad to see if her daughter lost her insurance? My bet is still on the table.

Those are the phony scare tactics people were talking about.

The effect on same-sex couples and other unmarried people when it comes to government benefits was never really in question. However, as in Michigan, I'm willing to bet that a loophole will be put in place and nobody will lose their benefits. The entitlement to such benefits is a completely separate debate anyhow.



The founders crafted the US Senate in order to protect the minority elite against the tyranny of the majority for starters. Shall we go on?

Agreed, Jeff. But I believe you confuse the Constitution with the Bill of Rights.

The senate was not created within the first 10 amendments commonly known as the Bill of Rights which is the topic of discussion via Ed's statement:

"...the majority voting on the rights of the minority is wrong." This is a core American principle and a major driver of the Bill of Rights.

So, yes, let's go on ... from your comment.

Account Deleted

Anyone familiar with the history of England in the 17th century understands that the main driver of the rights established in the First Amendment alone were to protect the rights of individuals and minority groups from the whims of political and religious majorities. At that time the two were often intertwined, with power vacillating between subgroups who took it upon themselves to violently attack their opponents when they achieved political power.

In colonial America, the experience of the Baptist and other dissenters vis a vis the Church of England was much on the mind of Madison when the Bill of Rights was presented.

Account Deleted

"But I confess that I do conceive, that in a government modified like this of the United States, the great danger lies rather in the abuse of the community than in the legislative body. The prescriptions in favor of liberty, ought to be levelled against that quarter
where the greatest danger lies, namely, that which possesses the highest prerogative of power: But this is not found in either the executive or legislative departments of government, but in the body of the people, operating by the majority against the minority." - James Madison, 8 June 1789 on the occasion of debating the introduction of the Bill of Rights into the US Congress.


Once again I agree, Jeff. Madison said "...", but it is the Bill of Rights I reference, as it is the topic of discussion, not Madison.

The Bill of Rights protects individual liberty from the tyranny of collective state action.

Furthermore, it is dangerous to believe that the core principle of the Bill of Rights is to protect a minority from a majority. If it were to become accepted that the Bill of Rights' function is to protect citizens from one another through force of governance, the state will have morphed the restraints exerted on governance by the Bill of Rights into a source of state strength against the citizenry.

Witness the state assault on the second amendment and gun owners by a minority in collusion with governance against the majority and the resultant militarization of our local police in the process.

Account Deleted

I'll take Madison explaining the Bill of Rights to your understanding of the Bill of Rights any day.


I'd rather hear what you get from the Bill of Rights than Madison ... again. He is ubiquitous while you are not.

What is your take? Do you deny that the Bill of Rights protects individual liberty from the tyranny of collective state action?

Andrew Brod

No one denies that.

But that's not all from which it protects individual liberty.

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