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NC: Freedom To Marry’s Evan Wolfson participating in forum on impact of marriage discrimination amendment

Marriage has always been a human rights’ battlefield.”

— Evan Wolfson, Freedom to Marry, at University of North Carolina Law School forum, 11/28/2011

That it is. While marriage equality exists in several states now, here in North Carolina equality under the law is a distant abstraction. On May 8, 2012, voters will get to determine whether gay and lesbian couples should be permanently barred from obtaining a civil marriage (or a civil union or domestic partnership for that matter).

In fact, in North Carolina, if you are LGBT, you don’t have any statewide protections from being fired either.

It is in this setting that Evan Wolfson lands to discuss marriage equality. In the Triangle area, he spoke at UNC Law, and is in Durham today to appear on WUNC’s The State of Things. He will head to Raleigh tomorrow for a major forum sponsored by NC Policy Watch and Equality North Carolina — Crucial Conversation: “What would the marriage discrimination amendment really mean for North Carolina?”

Evan Wolfson is the founder and President of the national nonprofit,Freedom to Marry — the campaign to win marriage nationwide. He is also the author of Why Marriage Matters: America, Equality, and Gay People’s Right to Marry.

Wolfson will be joined by two of North Carolina’s foremost constitutional scholars and experts on the proposed amendment, UNC Professors of Law, Maxine Eichner and Holning Lau as well as the Executive Director of Equality NC, Stuart Campbell.

It will be an interesting conversation.

Next May, North Carolina voters are scheduled to go to the polls to vote on one of the most important and controversial constitutional amendments to ever be placed on a state ballot. The proposed marriage amendment states that “Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State.”

Recent polls indicate, however, that despite significant support for the amendment, most North Carolinians feel that same sex couples should be eligible for legal recognition.

So, what would the effect of such an amendment be? Why the disconnect between voter attitudes and the apparent substance of proposal? And what are anti-amendment advocates going to do about it?

It’s not often that we have a national marriage equality advocate in the area to raise the profile of what we’re facing in the state, so I’m happy to report that I’ll grab a bit of time with Evan and share that on the Blend in an update.
UPDATE #1: Video of Evan’s talk at UNC Law School is below. According to Equality NC’s Communications Director Jen Jones: ” The students in attendance had great questions and Evan’s responses drove to the heart of the amendment fight. One particular question related to the particularly-compelling “how do we do it?” part.” | NC: Freedom To Marry’s Evan Wolfson participating in forum on impact of marriage discrimination amendment discusses the keys to defeating the discriminatory measure on the ballot in May 2012.

UPDATE #2: I spent some time this afternoon with Evan, and asked him a couple of questions on this video: 1) What kinds of questions he was asked after his talk at UNC Law; and 2) In a state without even employment non-discrimination laws, how is a discussion about marriage equality relevant as we forge ahead to defeat an amendment that would permanently restrict marriage to heterosexual couples.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding