There’s now a little more than two weeks before North Carolina voters decide whether or not to amend the state’s constitution to ban any relationship recognition for unmarried couples, same-sex or otherwise. Protect All North Carolina Families, a statewide coalition against the proposed amendment, has launched two ads illustrating the concrete harms of the amendment.
The first tells the story of Melissa and Libby, two moms who live in fear that the health insurance for their 5 year-old daughter could be in jeopardy. Karen Ocamb from LGBTPOV reports: “Libby works for the city of Durham and they have healthcare coverage under Durham’s domestic partnership benefits plan. If the amendment passes, they are afraid that their daughter will lose her health care. And the cost of getting her an individual policy is prohibitive.”
The second tells the story of a domestic abuse victim who is concerned that the protective order she has against her attacker could be nullified because they were never married and therefore would only be seen as “domestic partners” in the eyes of the state’s constitution.
“If the national industries pushing Amendment One intended to simply codify existing state laws banning same-sex marriage, they’ve made an egregious mistake, and in doing so impacted our state’s most vulnerable North Carolina families,” Jeremy Kennedy, campaign manager for the Coalition to Protect All NC Families, told the Washington Blade’s Chris Johnson. “In addition to banning civil unions and domestic partnerships, Amendment One’s broad language could take health care away from children, put domestic violence laws in jeopardy, force seniors to choose between their hard-earned benefits and legal protections, and, in doing so, threaten all unmarried couples in North Carolina,” he continued.
A number of LGBT and allied organizations, including Young Democrats of North Carolina, North Carolina Council of Churches and Latin American Coalition have spoken out against the amendment.
There’s also been considerable support from key African-American leaders including North Carolina Alliance of Black Elected Officials, NAACP-NC and the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People have all elected not to support amending the language of the constitution.
In an open letter to North Carolinians, NAACP-NC President Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II wrote:
The NAACP, which I lead in North Carolina, and my own Christian faith tradition both respect the people of strong faith and conscience on both sides of this personal, moral, and religious issue of same sex marriage. In both my civil rights and my Christian lives (which are one and the same for me), I have had the honor of participating in many thoughtful (and sometimes not-so-thoughtful) discussions about this issue within the context of Christian love and inalienable civil rights.
The local media has also worked to shine light on the categorical harm the amendment would impose on vulnerable families. Local CBS Affiliate WFMY News 2 covered the amendment significantly and The Charlotte Observer has covered the support from community members and clergy, urging voters against the amendment.
Early voting began on Thursday and general voting will be held on May 8, 2012.