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Deconstructed: Vote for Marriage NC ad makes the case against Amendment One

The ad above is from Vote for MarriageNC, the group attempting to pass Amendment One in North Carolina. Amendment One would place an anti-marriage equality amendment in that state’s constitution.

My guess is that by using ordinary people, Vote for MarriageNC is trying to convey a “grassroots” message. However, in many ways, the ad actually makes the case against Amendment One.

Here are a few of my impressions of the ad:

1. It exploits the religious angle because  there is nothing in the proposed amendment about religion, Biblical or otherwise. And it gives the false impression that if Amendment One does not pass, then established heterosexual marriages will be in danger. I mean seriously, the way one of the people in this ad is conveying her thoughts, it’s almost as if there is a fear that if Amendment One does not pass, within 24 hours, gay and lesbians are going to invade homes in attempts to kidnap heterosexually married partners.

2. The ad exploits economic and racial issues. A young man  at the beginning of the ad gives the impression that if the referendum does not pass, then it will be difficult to combat poverty. And then he uses the “activist judges” talking points and that really bothers me. As an African-American man I bristle when I see another African-American using the talking points of “activist judges overturning the will of the people.” And while I am sure the man in question is reading cue cards (rather well I might add), someone should school him that if it weren’t for supposed “activist judges,” we wouldn’t have the decisions of Loving vs. Virginia (which overturned laws against interracial marriage) or Brown vs. the Board of Education (which overturned segregation laws.)

3. Those children at the end? Now that was just tacky. What about the children in same-sex households who will be negatively affected should this bill pass? The irony is that if those voting against Amendment One had used children in their ad in the same manner as these folks had, it would be all over the National Organization for Marriage’s blog about how “radical homosexuals are exploiting the innocence of children.”

And lastly, one woman in the ad drives home the basic dishonesty of Amendment One. It begins at 1:00 when she says she is voting for Amendment One because she is married to one man for 30 years and she loves him dearly.

But she neglects to say how allowing gays and lesbians to receive that same courtesy (being married for 30 years to the person they love) would harm her marriage. And the sad thing is that I doubt that she can.

I can’t help wondering how would she feel if someone told her that her marriage to her husband does not count regardless of how much love she has for him.

And I think whether she realizes it or not, she makes the case against Amendment One.

If you want to fight against Amendment One, go to Protect All Families to learn how.


NOTE FROM PAM: Alvin’s take is spot-on. This video, by the way, was shot while the “Values Bus Tour,” sponsored hosted by the Heritage Foundation and Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council, cruised around the state.  making a stop at infamous anti-LGBT pastor Rev. Patrick Wooden‘s school.

Back to the vid — really, is this the best that they can do? It’s just pitiful to see how dishonest Tami Fitzgerald of Vote for Marriage NC’s parent org, the NC Values Coalition, is. She’s an attorney and knows the difference between church and state matters, but she cannot make an fact-based argument for the rank (unconstitutional) bigotry that this amendment represents.

The ad is trying to scare people using religious marriage as a battering ram when it is in fact irrelevant to any of this. Churches will not ever have to marry same-sex couples – they don’t have to in any of the states where it marriage equality is legal.

And activist judges? I don’t see any judges in North Carolina, given the political composition of the courts in 2012, that will steamroll over anyone to install marriage rights for LGBTs any time soon. And, by the way, how does this square with the National Organization for Marriage’s recent smackdown in New Hampshire, that had it so desperate to find any shred of victory over marriage equality there that it actually endorsed civil unions. Tami, Amendment One ensures that civil unions or domestic partnerships are banned as well – what does that have to do with religious liberty? Neither of those legal recognition measures involves a church — or judges — we have municipalities and counties that have granted DPs – are they saying those elected bodies are not speaking “the will of the people?”

But the “will of the people” is not how we govern. Civil rights of group of people should never be on the ballot. History shows us (and Tami Fitzgerald also knows this), that civil rights are never advanced when “the people” vote directly — fear and ignorance about social change has forced the courts to intervene, and even then, have we eliminated racism or sexism when Loving v. Virginia became the law of the land, or when women were given the right to vote? Well, maybe Tami and Co. would like another crack at both of those?

Again what are we voting on when we go to the polls on May 8? It’s not about legalizing same-sex marriage. That point is clear. Look at what voters will see:


Constitutional amendment to provide that marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state.

That’s it. There’s nothing about religious freedom, God or what is or isn’t sanctified.

What is there is the squishy and problematic “domestic legal union,” a term that exists in no stature in this state and legal experts say will only result in clogging the courts. That’s also the conclusion of the N.C. Constitutional Amendments Publication Commission, which was charged with preparing the official explanation to be used by local Boards of Election if there are inquiries about Amendment One’s definition. This panel was made up of the current Secretary of State (Elaine Marshall), the current Attorney General (Roy Cooper) and the current director of legislative services (George Hall).

Proponents of Amendment One, who make these specious arguments about “activist judges” — are basically handing over a hot mess of litigation over to judges because the broad language is so problematic.

But back to the religious arguments tossed about in this video. Take this black woman at right, who appears in the video. She is certain that her  marriage will be destroyed if Amendment One passes:

The bible says “therefore shall a man leave his mother and father and cleave to his wife and the two shall become one flesh.” And that’s what I want it to remain — as defined by the God of the Bible. One man, one woman and that’s what marriage should remain.

Wait a minute. Does she not realize that, because of laws on the books in the past — and guided by people who cited the Bible, chapter and verse — that she: 1) could not marry someone of another race; and going further back, 2) could not marry someone of the same race because blacks weren’t even considered full human beings. Slavery was in the bible as well. That’s why black folks had to “jump the broom,” dear. That was the will of the people living back then. The institution of marriage has changed over time, and the only thing that appears to be destroying it is the rampant adultery and divorce of heterosexuals, if we’re going by biblical standards. That, interestingly, is not on the ballot, nor is it on Tami’s agenda.

But I’ll play the religious angle for the moment — whose religious freedom should rule here? Based on these people in the video, it’s the narrow view of Christianity that they hold. If, in fact, the war on religion is the problem with the advancement of marriage equality, it’s equally discriminatory of these people to trample on the rights of Christians and other faiths whose leaders want to sanctify same-sex couple’s unions in the eyes of a higher power.

This is the reason why we have separation of church and state. No one religion can or should govern the rights of people.

But that’s clearly a concept that Tami Fitzgerald and friends don’t want to debate on camera.

How about watching the numerous videos of elected officials and citizens — using logic, not fear to make their arguments– who are going to Vote Against Amendment One (click the image to go to Protect NC’s YouTube Channel):


* Vote for Marriage NC lauds ‘Values Bus’ for pimping hate – plying kids with candy
NC – Tami Fitzgerald and Amendment One: earning a paycheck cultivating bigotry
* NC anti-gay amendment supporter accuses gay men of molesting gerbils, baseball bats, and cell phones
* No surprise: NC anti-gay Pastor Patrick Wooden pimps his ‘life-earned,’ non-academic doctorate

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Alvin McEwen

Alvin McEwen