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Today's rally: NC religious leaders oppose constitutional amendment

Folks at the rally; redneck bigot and sponsor of the marriage amendment bill, Gaston’s James Forrester.

Here’s the first report on today’s rally in Raleigh, from the (News & Observer):

Some 100 clergy and people of faith lobbied state legislators Tuesday to oppose a bill that would amend the state constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman…The rally was the second for the N.C. Religious Coalition for Marriage Equality, which seeks to counter the perception that all clergy oppose same-sex marriage.

“Not all people of faith are of one mind on this issue,” said the Rev. Jack McKinney, the pastor of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh and co-chair of the coalition. Few lawmakers were on hand to hear the speeches. The group spoke mainly to the press.

A bill sponsored by Sen. James Forrester, a Republican from Gaston County, calls for an amendment to the state constitution defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. But that bill is tied up in a legislative committee, and Forrester doesn’t hold much hope that Democrats who control the House and Senate want to grapple with it.

It doesn’t look optimistic unless I get a groundswell of support from people back home,” Forrester said…”The silent majority hasn’t spoken.”

North Carolina is one of 39 states that recognizes only heterosexual marriages as valid. But Forrester says North Carolinians need an added level of protection that a constitutional amendment affords. As proof, he cited the ruling by a California judge Monday who found that the California’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.

The Rev. Mary Grigolia, the associate minister at the Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Durham, spoke about her own struggles as a lesbian to get life and health insurance benefits for her partner, who she identified as “Cindy.”

A hospital stay last year convinced the couple just how vulnerable they were without any of the benefits married people automatically get — benefits as simple as allowing a family member into a hospital Intensive Care Unit. “Cindy and I do not threaten the institution of marriage,” Grigolia said. “It’s cruel and unnecessary hardship to exclude anyone’s partner from a hospital room.”

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding