CommunityPam's House Blend

NC marriage amendment bill officially dies

Har-dee-har-har on you: one of the amendment’s sponsors, State Senator Fred Smith (Johnston, Wayne counties), is already gearing up to run for governor; redneck homo-bigot State Senator James Forrester submitted the original bill.

We have something to celebrate! The current legislative year concluded in the Tar Heel state without the proposed marriage amendment coming to a vote. The amendment was heinous; it would not only have blocked same-sex marriage but would also have prevented the state and private employers from offering domestic partner benefits. This was over the top.

Here’s the good news, courtesy of EqualityNC‘s release:

A few minutes ago, the North Carolina General Assembly adjourned its 2005 session without voting on the proposed anti-LGBT state constitutional amendment. For the second year in a row, North Carolina is the only state in the Southeast that faced an anti-gay amendment and stopped it in the legislature!

We have stopped an attack on LGBT families that would not only have denied equal marraige rights to same-sex couples, but would have prohibited any form of recognition for same-sex couples. The language of the amendment was so broad it could even have prevented private employers from offering partner health benefits.

This remarkable victory is made possible because of lots of hard work by Equality North Carolina, our allies, and supporters like you. Without the financial support of our members, and the willingness of our supporters to take action, this wouldn’t have been possible.

Here’s how we did it:

* We’ve been at the legislature daily since the legislature convened in January, talking to legislators and leadership and monitoring the amendment.

* Our strategy combined the power of our team of three professional lobbyists with the power of grassroots political action. Our members stepped up and made our Lobby Day and our online advocacy efforts successful.

* Our political action committee was more active than ever in the 2004 cycle, supporting friendly legislators and working against our opponants, builing our reputation and power in the General Assembly.

* We worked hard to form alliances with other organizations to ensure that legislators knew that opposition to the amendment goes far beyond the LGBT community. From the NC Religious Coalition for Marriage Equality to the NC Council of Churches, to the American Civil Liberties Union of NC and the NC Coalition Against Domestic Violence, our allies stood with us.

As I have noted before, I live in the Triangle area, which is quite progressive. However, once you drive outside of this bubble of tolerance (just a few miles outside, even), you encounter the harsh reality that this is a red state, where tolerance can be hard to find, the bible is beaten hard, and a sizeable amount of wingnuts are appalled by what they see going on in the bubble.

In May there was a “Traditional Marriage Rally” at the state Capitol to push legislators to move the bill out of committee. They bussed in some familiar homo-bigot faces:

Steve Noble, Called2Action

Dr. Bill Maier, VP, Focus on the Family (James Dobson’s outfit); Bob Knight, Concerned Women for America

Tony Perkins, Family Research Council; Pastor & Mrs. Patrick Wooden, Upper Room Church of God in Christ (Raleigh) [More on this f*cker here.]

The rally, by the way, was a real bust. They had to truck in a bunch of wingnuts and dig up some local AmTaliban to try to drum up support. Check out the sign:

In the end, the good folks at EqualityNC, the gay community and our straight allies stopped this horrible piece of legislation. A big pat on the back for them, and I hope it’s inspiration for those of you in other Red states that it can be done, especially if there are economically strong regions of blue and purple.

But we all know that the wingnuts will be back again for next session, and they’ll need to be fought off once more.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding