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May 09, 2012


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Dave Ribar


My guess is that Obama remained silent to avoid the humiliation of the NC vote going against him. Not exactly a profile in courage.


"But he might have said something on Monday."

Do you think that would've done any good?


Has anyone asked "No Preference" what he/she thinks about this issue ? Obama might be able to pick up another 20% of the vote if "No Preference" is on the wrong side.


When looking at the "no preference" numbers across counties and in particular how little interest "no preference" received in some counties I wonder how much more lopsided the vote in favor of defining marriage would have been had the majority had been as energized as the minority.


So Obama used to be a bigot who believed in violating the Constitutional rights of others by imposing his right wing Christian fundamentalist beliefs on everyone else, but now he's not.

"No Preference" must have him worried about his base.


It's been reported that some of his big money donors threatened to cut him off if he didn't support gay marriage.

Appeasement for cash. That's character.


I must confess I don't understand all these morning after what-ifs on what Obama might have said here, what the N&R should have said there. Do you really think people are that malleable to simple thumbs up or down endorsement without accompanying persuasion?. Do you really think it might have made up the 470,000 point margin of victory?. Also how likely do you think a politician flipping a publicly stated stance from one election year to another represents a true conversion on a core belief anyway? C’mon.
It’s the whole Kendall Marshall’s wrist thing. Eventually you just have to accept the loss and move on.
Another illustration of the fallacy that people are incapable of processing information and making their own decisions without being told what to think.


Sheep follow. On both sides.


Maybe Obama can dump Biden and cut a deal with "No Preference" or Joe Dirt from West Virginia to be his running mate.


But that's my point.The sheep already knew what they were supposed to think. They don't sway elections.

Ed Cone

More than one ball in the air here, CP.

The N&R's crappy news coverage and its editorial-page dysfunction are the subjects of press criticism. The idea is to improve the paper. Nobody thinks the local daily could have reversed the landslide, or will forestall the next one.

Obama's statement is fascinating and important for all kinds of reasons, but I think Ribar may be right as far as the NC story goes.

Accepting defeat and moving on? Well, sure, in a practical sense. Life goes on. But if you mean giving up on the issue, no. "We shall overcome" and "it bends toward justice" are not just pretty words. I'm fully convinced that gay rights will be a reality in this country in the not-too-distant future, and I'm not going to stop doing what I can to help hasten that day.


Obama also said that he thinks states should decide the issue. What does that do to the Constitutional "rights" model and doesn't that make him a states rights candidate ?

Doesn't that mean that he approves of the process here in North Carolina where the state decided ?


it means that it's an election year and this is as far as he can go. he is, after all, a pragmatic politician.


So he's lying to people? By stating that states should decide the issue, he is saying that there is no Constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

Or is he lying about his belief that states should decide the issue out of fear that he will alienate voters who fear he would appoint justices who believe there is a Constitutional right in a second term ?

Is lying really just being "pragmatic"?


"Maybe Obama can dump Biden and cut a deal with "No Preference" or Joe Dirt from West Virginia to be his running mate. "



Ed, your criticism of the paper in numerous posts reads more like a sense of personal betrayal for its failure to advocate in a particular direction on this issue than to overall quality. That is unsubtlely obvious to me although I'm sure you'll find a way to insist that you are just trying to "improve the paper" in a more generalized sense regarding its pattern of "crappy coverage" or "editorial dysfunction". Are there certain guidelines or expectations that a paper is bound to consider in choosing which issues and in what direction to advocate relative to some barometer of community or readership sentiment or that I am just not familiar with as a nonjournalist, or is it OK for it to be unconstrained in that regard?

Andrew Brod

Contra Ribar, another way to interpret Obama's timing is that he effectively told voters in North Carolina, a swing state he really wants to keep blue, that they voted wrong. Not exactly cowardly.

Besides, it appears that Obama waited this long because Biden (reminding us of his loose-cannon reputation) forced the issue on Sunday. Once that was out there, the president may have decided that now was as good a time as any to state the opinion that everyone (except Spag, apparently) knew he had all along.

There might even have been some strategy involved, even if only at the last minute. Noam Scheiber argues that Obama's announcement could put Romney in a bind with conservatives, who are now going to want to hear what he thinks. As Scheiber notes, Romney's no bigot, and the culture wars are far from his comfort zone. Just last week his campaign bowed to conservative pressure when it pushed out a recently hired foreign-affairs advisor who was gay; the campaign marginalized him and offered zero resistance when he resigned.

So yeah, Obama's announcement was reactive. But if you really want to see an example of "not exactly a profile in courage," let's watch Romney.

Ed Cone

CP, advocacy (editorials) and news coverage are separate issues, or at least they're supposed to be.

Obviously I would rather my local paper advocate for civil rights. The dysfunction of the editorial process was a story unto itself, one that garnered national coverage.

On the news side, the paper missed some notable local stories on this topic, and today's headline was pretty much a rewrite of one side's campaign slogan. I found the editor's column on the issue to be flippant; it made him appear to be out of his depth. I don't think any of these critiques are inaccessible to non-journalists.

In ten years I've written about the local paper many times. It's been a tough run for papers in general, and certainly for this one. Obviously I tend to write about things that interest me most, but I think this stuff matters to a community. If you think it's just politics on my part, so it goes.


I'm sorry Andrew. I wasn't aware that Obama believed that the states should decide this issue and ipso facto, that there is no Constitutional right to same-sex marriage. I thought that he was just lying about not believing in a Constitutional right to same sex marriage.

Being a states rights guy who believes that states should decide this issue, Obama should be satisfied that North Carolina did exactly that last night. Gay rights advocates who are applauding Obama should be aware that he approves of the process that this state went through by voting on this issue even if he disagreed with the result.

So in hindsight his evolution on this issue would have made no substantive difference. No Constitutional right, states should decide- sounds like he agreed with putting this to a vote of the people. He must also still be a bigot for not believing in equal protection under the Constitution in favor of majority rules.


yes, everything you said, spag. absolutely. bravo.

Billy Jones

I guess the old adage, "Better late than never," doesn't apply.


It has been said that the passing of this amendment closes the door on same sex marriage in NC. Don't count on it. The last time such an amendment was passed was during the civil rights era when interracial marriage was illegal. Obviously that was overturned. In the end I think this is going to backfire on republicans. The GLBT community wasn't even fighting for gay marriage until this amendment came up. They basically stirred the bees nest. This will likely go to the courts and the GLBT community could end up winning this which could overturn all laws banning same sex marriage in NC. If you want to know what the real outcome of this will be watch California. California residents voted to pass a similar amendment and then a judge rule the law was unconstitutional and now its in the courts. The outcome in California could determine what happens here in North Carolina. This is not over by no means.


This law will not be over turned, regardless of the howling and gnashing of teeth by the Far Left.
Amazing how people are in favor of democracy until an issue goes against their world view.

Billy Jones

Hey Spag, you being a lawyer and all, would you mind giving us the North Carolina's legal definition of "domestic legal union" please?


"Amazing how people are in favor of democracy until an issue goes against their world view."

Amazing how so many people are ignorant of the meaning of America's constitutional democracy.


It's in A1, Billy. "A marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union..." Pretty easy to understand to me. If it's not a marriage between one man and one woman, it's not a valid domestic legal union.

Yes Roch, including people like Obama...


Two points, SITM:

First, the Framers never intended basic civil rights to be put up a majority vote.

Second, if a church wants to be able marry gay people badly enough, it can credibly argue that its own First Amendment free-expression rights are being violated by Amendment One (to go along with the idea that granting state benefits only to married opposite-sex couples violates the equal-protection clause of the 14th Amendment). The Roberts Court hasn't shown much deference to either originalism or stare decisis when political points are on the line, but in a country in which smoking peyote and sacrificing chickens are both protected religious rituals, I could see this attack making some legal headway.


Spag - That language doesn't seem to rule out marriage between two men or two women. It says such a marriage would not be recognized by the state as a "domestic civil union". Which takes us back to Billy's question. What is the legal definition of "domestic civil union" in NC?


I can't Lex. For someone who touts the separation of church and state its interesting that you would lend credence to an argument that the actions of a church must be recognized by the state. A1 does not inhibit the right of a church to marry anyone- it only applies to the legal status afforded to such a marriage by the state.

Taking your argument to a logical conclusion, then wouldn't ANY marriage of ANY type performed by ANY church before or after A1 be entitled to state recognition? A1 has no bearing on your argument as your argument could be made with or without it.

Thomas, "man" and "men" are two different things. So are "woman" and "women". A1 also uses the term "one" and bigamy is not only a crime but is a bigamous marriage is a legal nullity, so such marriages are ruled out by statute.

Further, if that's your argument then A1 changes nothing because the current marriage statute also refers to "a male" and "a female".

You guys are grasping at straws in a desperate attempt to avoid being proven wrong.

So far, no domestic violence cases have been thrown out. Nobody has lost their benefits, and nobody has lost custody of a child because of A1 despite what the esteemed family law "experts" in the ivory tower told you.


Also Thomas, there is no definition of "domestic civil union" in North Carolina. A1 refers to a "domestic LEGAL union". Obviously any other domestic union created by law here or elsewhere other than a marriage between one man and one woman would be invalid/unrecognized.


Ok. So what is a domestic legal union?


I've already answered that. A domestic union created by law. For example, a marriage performed in accordance with the laws of a given state. A domestic partnership created pursuant to the laws of a given state. In North Carolina only a legal marriage between one man and one woman is going to be recognized. Therefore in this state only marriages between one man and one woman are "domestic legal unions". No other "domestic legal unions" can be created here nor will other types of "domestic legal unions" created elsewhere be recognized.

Andrew Brod

As I was saying...


"North Carolina voters will be able to take comfort in the fact that other people's tears of loneliness are making THEIR marriages stronger." Stephen Colbert


"First, the Framers never intended basic civil rights to be put up a majority vote."

The Framers never anticipated an issue involving same sex marriage, either.

Also, you (as all supporters of same sex marriage) continue to call this thing a "right". As explained previously, that currently is not the case in law and precedent, regardless of how it's framed.

Andrew Brod

Nothing's a right... until it is.

Billy Jones

Spag can't tell us the legal definition of a "domestic legal union" because to date there is no such definition in NC law. Otherwise he would have been happy to point it out. As Spag well knows, without specific definitions, laws are useless so like any two bit lawyer he fakes it. If you can't baffle 'em with brilliance then baffle 'em with bullshit-- right Spag?


"Spag can't tell us the legal definition of a "domestic legal union" because to date there is no such definition in NC law. "

I did give you a definition- the one that is contained in the language of A1.

Let's do a little bit of sentence diagramming using A1: "marriage...is...domestic legal union..."


You're welcome.


"The Framers never anticipated an issue involving same sex marriage, either."
- bubba

the framers didn't anticipate many advancements in culture, technology, etc., yet many are somehow protected as "unalienable rights" (see assault weapons and the 2nd amendment)

but let's talk about teh gays... homosexuality during the framers days were considered a less than human transgression, with state punishments ranging from lengthy imprisonment to capital punishment to castration (good ol' TJ coined that one in virginia).

a sample from the above link:

SOUTH CAROLINA - "That if any man lieth with mankind as he lieth with a woman, they both shall suffer death."

CONNECTICUT - "Sodomy . . . shall be punished by imprisonment at hard labour in the penitentiary during the natural life or lives of the person or persons convicted of th[is] detestable crime."

NEW YORK - That if any man shall lie with mankind as he lieth with womankind, both of them have committed abomination; they both shall be put to death.

of course the framers never "anticipated an issue involving same sex marriage" -- they were focusing on ending the gay issue in a more modern, germanic fashion. it seems to me that this historic precedent of punishment is serving as the foundation for your defense of the framers and your steadfast opposition to gay rights... but don't let me put words in your mouth.

while we're talking about rights, i'm wondering, do you completely disregard the universal declaration of human rights? you know, the declaration made immediately after the defeat of hitler and his worst-case scenario regime of human rights violators (which, FYI, included the mass murders of thousands of gay people).

in case you're rusty, the very first article, reads:

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

the US and 47 other countries voted this declaration into existence with ZERO opposition. is this invalid to you because state legislators have more of an understanding of "unalienable rights" that any declaration formed outside the US could, even with a US lead signature? how about within the context that it came into being directly after the worst war in world history -- a singular moment of shared, human experience, so full of grief and hope that it makes 9/12 seem like a made for teevee moment?

are these the rights that you and your little buddies continue to "just because" shit on?

it's wrong, pathetic and inhumane, but of course i'm the one being dramatic.


"it's wrong, pathetic and inhumane, but of course i'm the one being dramatic"- Sean

It's right, good and humane to protect the societal structure. The further you go down this road of sexual perversion and deviance the more you will erode the civilized society. It is the law of the land, like it or not. The great citizens of NC have spoken, get on board or get out.


thanks, but i can wait 10 years until you and your ilk depart this planet.


"thanks, but i can wait 10 years until you and your ilk depart this planet." Coward Sean

I wouldn't try waiting us out on this one, we will have annihiliated all you Parasites by then.


"I wouldn't try waiting us out on this one, we will have annihiliated all you Parasites by then."



"coward sean" says the anonymous commenter.

Billy Jones

"coward sean" says the anonymous commenter."



Sean, does the universal declaration of rights apply to polygamists and other consenting adults who wish to get married but can't legally, or do we exclude them "just because"?

This is the problem with making such broad claims about rights, they involve more than what immediate concerns you.

Ed Cone

Grampa Sam, I read that back during the struggle for gay civil rights there were people who carefully avoided taking a real stand on the issues, but just lobbed slippery slope arguments from the sidelines instead. I bet you told them what for, huh, Grampa. Grampa?


"Doncha bother me now, boy, I'm ah watcin' that woman and her five husbands move in across the street. I'm ah trying to figur out if the dog is a pet or a spouse." -- Grandpa Sam


i don't seem to remember polygamists being castrated, dragged behind trucks, burned alive, murdered by the state or gassed by the biggest mass murderer in human history. along with jews, blacks and anyone not arian enough, gays were targeted by hitler... he didn't explicitly send brown shirts after "those in relationships with more than two people."

if you can't agree that gay people belong in this statement:

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

without morphing your response to ask, "what about the bankers who collapsed the market in 2007; do we exclude them just because?" then you're a bigger joke than we all thought possible.

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