Thursday, May 3, 2012

North Carolina'’s Constitution should confer civil rights, not revoke them

The first right declared in North Carolina’s Constitution states
We hold it to be self-evident that all persons are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, the enjoyment of the fruits of their own labor, and the pursuit of happiness.
Yet legislators in Raleigh, who swore oaths to uphold this same Constitution, have put forth an amendment that would eviscerate its most fundamental rights by removing the possibility of marriage for some in our state and the possibility of civil unions and domestic partnerships for all.

The proposed amendment carries the perverse title, a “Defense of Marriage,” but it does no such thing. No sound heterosexual marriage is put at risk by marriage among same-sex adults. Because same-sex marriages pose no risk to heterosexual marriages, prohibiting them defends nothing.

Instead, what the amendment would do would be to enshrine in North Carolina’s governing document unequal, discriminatory treatment of committed, loving adults and to deny to some adults a right and a path to happiness that other adults enjoy. Our state’s Constitution should confer civil rights, not revoke them.

Revealing the cynicism that underlies this whole sordid episode, the Republican House Speaker, Rep. Thom Tillis, who shepherded the amendment through the General Assembly, has said, "if it passes, I think it will be repealed within 20 years."

North Carolina citizens should not be denied their rights for a minute much less a generation.

The voters should reject Amendment One.