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North Carolina’s Amendment One: 10 facts you need to know

One of the challenges (and quite frankly, frustrations) about the work to defeat Amendment One is that the average voter out there (and even some in the LGBT community) don’t have a clear idea about what it is — and isn’t. From our friends at Progress North Carolina, a simple and effective breakdown that makes it clear if you need information to share with friends, neighbors, family — and donors still sitting on the sidelines.

The proposed amendment to the NC Constitution in its entirety:

Marriage between one man and one woman is the only  domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state.”

Facts about this amendment you should know:

1.      This amendment is not needed to prevent gay marriage: there is already an NC law forbidding gay marriage.

2.      This amendment bars the state from recognizing any legal domestic union other than marriage, including partnerships between unmarried men and women.

3.      Similar laws in other states have been struck down by the courts – meaning NC will face substantial legal costs to defend the amendment if it passes.

4.      This amendment would take away legal protections for the children of unmarried people, including healthcare and prescription drug coverage provided though an unmarried parent  and child custody, child support and visitation rights.

5.      A child could even be taken away from a parent who has taken care of them their entire life if something happens to the other parent.

6. This amendment would take away domestic violence protections for all unmarried people and could lead to the convictions of their abusers being overturned. This has already happened in another state.

7.      The amendment would automatically strip health benefits from unmarried people who receive coverage through their partners, including people with severe pre-existing conditions.

8.      The amendment would interfere with the right of unmarried couples to visit one another in the hospital and to make emergency medical and financial decisions if one partner is incapacitated. It would also invalidate certain trusts, wills and end-of-life directives.

9.      Seniors wanting to keep these legal protections would be forced to marry, which could cause them to lose their pension, health care and Social Security benefits.

10.  If passed, it would be one of a handful of times our state constitution has been used to take away rights rather than grant them. You have to go back over a hundred years to find similar instances (notably forbidding interracial marriage and taking away the right to vote from African-Americans.)

Polling has consistently shown that when people are given the facts about the scope of the ballot initiative’s impact they overwhelmingly oppose it.

Read more about the The Harms of Amendment One, and how you can give to help get the ads on the air. Early voting is April 19-May 4, and the primary date is May 8.


This weekend I saw the first pro-Amendment One yard sign in my area (there are countless anti-One signs all over). This lonely one was in southern Durham, not far from a major mall on a side street. I’ll have to grab a pic of it next time we’re over there. Another area resident, Steve Bocckino (leader of the wildly successful Letters to the Editor campaign here) has seen a few:

I’ve seen a few pro-amendment signs hereabouts (and whoever designed them did us a favor). I think they are from the NOM. Any idea if NOM has registered with the NC BOE?

NOM has “Campaign Finance Results for Committee” filings with the Board of Elections and are registered here. That said, the National Organization for Marriage doesn’t mind flouting disclosure laws — it has been found guilty around the country of doing so in terms of revealing who is funding its effort; Maggie and Brian don’t mind having dirty hands.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding

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