The journey to run across the state of NC to talk to average citizens about the harm that Amendment One would cause if passed on May 8 continues, and Race to the Ballot‘s Jen Jones and Co. stopped in Bakersville. Jen:

Our public town hall stop in Bakersville, NC, provided an eye-opening, two-hour discussion during which citizens on both sides of the Amendment One debate came together for a night of conversations.

More on the project:

Students and non-students alike can interact with RACE TO THE BALLOT via an unprecedented array of social media resources, including live tweets @racetotheballot, posts and sharing, RACE’s location check-ins via FourSquare, and photo updates on Instagram. The RACE YouTube account will also be updated nightly with a video diary of the day’s events, as well as regional digests from the road. Less an organized race, more a RACE to organize the electorate, this campaign will be a never-before-seen step in highlighting one state’s work, focus and collective fight to turn the tide of discrimination in the South and beyond.

As Jen says, there are few things that hurt worse than an ice bath after a 14-mile run. Amendment One is one of them.

In other significant amendment news, UNC’s conservative journal, the Carolina Review, gives a BIG thumbs down on Amendment One, citing real conservative principles:

It is a bit shocking how conservative politicians portray themselves as ardent defenders and proponents of the United States’ Federal Constitution only to betray its principles when it is politically popular with their base. The simplest Constitutional argument against this change to our state’s constitution is that the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution of the US guarantees that, “No State shall… deny to any person within its jurisdiction equal protection of the laws.” This is the part of the constitution that guarantees that state governments cannot and will not discriminate between their citizens when it comes to recognizing and protecting legal rights and privileges or when enforcing laws. By having a statute that grants spousal rights and privileges to heterosexual couples, who are mutually consenting adults, and not homosexual couples, who are also mutually consenting adults, I believe the state would be violating this central tenet of our Constitution. Moreover, ratification of this amendment would enshrine this violation in our state constitution, which should be an abomination to anyone who sees the Constitution of the United States as the supreme law of the land. Along similar lines, this amendment clearly contradicts Article IV Section I of the United States Constitution, which states, “Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of very other State”.

This means that marriage licenses or civil unions granted by the judiciary in one state ought to be recognized by North Carolina and all other states. Admittedly, there have been some exceptions carved out for law licenses, driver’s licenses, and other licenses which involve an activity that could be drastically different from one state to another. This is justifiable because the laws and courts of different states are often quite different from one state to another. It is also understandable in the case of a driver’s license for new, permanent residents of a state because the nuanced differences in driving laws depending on the state could lead a driver to physically endanger others by not knowing those differences. For domestic partnerships, whether they be marriages or civil unions, there are no such changes from state-to-state, there I nothing inherently different between a committed, loving couple in North Carolina and a committed, loving couple in any other state. Thus, because of Article IV Section 1, there is no legal standing to withhold recognition of any legal union issued by another state. Shockingly, the House majority leader, Representative Paul Stam, told the News Observer that the proposed amendment was a reaction to the decision of other states to allow same-sex marriages and civil unions. He said,  [Homosexual couples] are going to bring with them[, to North Carolina], their same-sex marriages… They’re going to want to get divorces [and have custody issues decided… and] we’re not equipped to handle that.” If this is truly the reason why a bipartisan majority (65 Republicans and 10 Democrats) passed this proposed amendment, then our state has utterly failed in its most basic functions. Adjudication is quite possibly the most basic service that governments have to offer their citizens, and most  conservatives and libertarians would argue that it is one of the few that they should offer at a state level. If North Carolina has been reduced to violating key principles of American Constitutional law simply because it doesn’t want to be bothered with providing basic government functions to a part of its citizenry, as the Federal Constitution demands, then we should be ashamed of our state. Not only does

North Carolina’s refusal to recognize equivalent legal rights for both hetero- and homosexual couples violate the Constitution but the leader of the House cannot even give cogent reasoning for codifying this violation in our state’s constitution. In short, the North Carolina Marriage Amendment is a complete outrage.

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding

1 Comment