Yesterday, Tuesday, September 13, North Carolina passed a bill calling for a state constitutional amendment vote that could potentially ban marriage for same-sex couples, domestic partnerships, and civil unions. Although a majority of N.C. residents oppose the amendment, the state Senate voted 30-16 in favor of the ballot initiative – ignoring the will of its residents. Consequently, the vote will appear on the May 1012 ballot statewide.
As the last southeastern state without a marriage amendment, the N.C. Senate’s decision to support the initiative has garnered national attention. Many criticize the proposal, identifying it as an unnecessary measure born out of a misuse of power (conservatives have state control for the first time in well over a century). Others believe more pressing issues should first be addressed. With many North Carolinians out of work, a marriage amendment potentially excluding individuals from equality seems inappropriate.
While the forthcoming vote puts countless gay and transgender families at risk, Equality North Carolina and other pro-equality groups aren’t backing down.
“While the proponents of this harmful, divisive, shameful legislation may have succeeded in throwing up a temporary barrier against the inevitable tide of acceptance and equality, our struggle continues and the campaign to defeat this amendment at the ballot box begins today,” Alex Miller, interim executive director for Equality North Carolina, told the Washington Blade. Miller went further to assert that the fair-minded people of North Carolina will “defeat the amendment at the poll” in the New York Times.
Additionally, the NAACP chapter in North Carolina, which has a history of supporting equality, has come out in opposition of the amendment. NAACP’s Rev. Dr. William J. Barber believes personal opinion surrounding marriage equality is not the issue at hand. The debate centers around discrimination and whether it should be allowed in state legislation, he says.
Facebook co-founder and North Carolina native Chris Hughes has shown his support for Equality North Carolina through a generous pledge to donate “$10 dollars for every person who 'likes' Equality NC's page on Facebook - up to $10,000.” His support, along with countless other Equality NC allies, will keep this amendment from passing in May.
Here at GLAAD, we support Equality North Carolina’s push for relationship recognition and the defeat of the amendment. We stand alongside pro-LGBT NC residents and encourage others to speak out against this anti-gay ballot measure