With a vote on Amendment One just three weeks away, momentum has continued to grow in North Carolina. Just this week, Protect All NC Families, the coalition working to stop the amendment which would only recognize marriages between one man and one woman, launched its first round of ads. And despite continued efforts to drive a wedge between LGBT activists and the African-American community, the local NAACP chapter has remained at the forefront of this statewide and national conversation, encouraging local voters to vote "No on One."
Arcross the state, students from various universities such as Central University, Bennett College for Women and North Carolina AT&T State University are becoming increasingly engaged with the dialogue. Many have begun ushering students through the early voting process which began last week. At Winston-Salem State, the gay-straight alliance and students of the NAACP student group invited Rev. Dr. William Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP chapter to speak about voting on May 8 and its significance in this crucial referendum.
In a television interview he stated, “We should not tamper with equal protection under the law.” During that same student rally at Winston-Salem State, the students donned shirts that read, “Protect all NC families. Vote Against on May 8.” This comes from the organization, Protect All NC Families. The web site proudly states that they are families, individuals, sisters, mothers, etc. who have all come together in “not just an issue for the LGBT community, [but] an issue for all communities.”
In an open letter to North Carolina votersposted by Pam's House Blend last September, Dr. Barber discussed how his faith and his commitment to civil rights helped him decide on this issue, saying: 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.
According to Channel 14 Local News in North Carolina, the population is split and approximately 62% are against same-sex marriage. Thus, the student’s role, the NAACP and allies all throughout the state of North Carolina need to be particularly visible on May 8 to defeat Amendment One.
A supporter of North Carolina’s referendum, Bill Bennett, former chaplain at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary believes it comes down to bases of ‘scripture and centuries of tradition.’ However, during a panel at the Unitarian-Universalit forum, Deborah Maxwell of the New Hanover County NAACP highlighted that same-sex couples are not the only groups affected by the ban, but heterosexual couples and allies should understand their stake as well. She stated the amendment would have a “tremendous impact” on unmarried heterosexual couples as well in areas of domestic violence, child custody and protection of Social Security benefits.
On May 4, during a weekend of get-out-the-vote activities, Emma's Revolution will be playing a concert at The Community Church of Chapel Hill. Lee Storrow of the Chapel Hil City Council will also be speaking to gather support in the vote against Amendment One. If you’re in the area, you can definitely support.
GLAAD applauds the local NAACP chapters, allies, gay-straight alliances, community members, faith leaders and activists who have all joined forces for the protection and equal rights of gay and lesbian citizens of Maryland and North Carolina. Your support is needed at the polls!