So today I’m pausing briefly in my normal blogging to talk to you about something very important in our state. Coming up in May 8th (or November, depending on how our legislature decides to do this), there will be a proposal for an amendment to be added to our state constitution saying, “Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized.” I’m pleading with you to vote against.
The problem with this proposed amendment is that it’s sneaky. If you’re a straight, married person in this state, you’ll read the ballot and think, “sounds good!” The language being used here doesn’t reveal all the ways that this could hurt people we know and care about–it doesn’t let on that it will be bad for our economy and our families and that it could even be life threatening for some people.
Let’s break it down:
Same-sex marriage is already illegal in this state. No matter what you vote on May 8th, gay couples will not be able to marry in this state. So why? Why do we want to go so far as to add an amendment? Let me keep on rolling.
It’s bad for business. There are now dozens of companies in our state that offer protections and benefits to domestic partners (meaning unmarried couples of any gender combination who are sharing things like insurance). These companies are attractive to a huge range of people and often bring talented and skilled employees from other states where these right are not offered. We keep our workforce diverse and competitive by having these options. This amendment will strip the rights of companies to offer benefits to domestic partners. In so doing, we send the message that we don’t care about someone’s skill and ability to contribute to our economy. We’re basically putting a big sign on our door that says, “Same-sex and unmarried couples are worthless in this state.” Rest assured, talented people will find work but we want them to work here and enrich our communities. Not to mention, this is a big government imposition on companies’ abilities to govern themselves. If you’re a fan of keeping the government’s hands out of business practices (*ahem* Republicans), you should be all over shooting this bad boy down.
The language is vague and therefore dangerous.
All other southeastern states have passed similar bills, adding this amendment to their constitutions and in those states, we’ve seen this amendment used to justify the following things:
Excused domestic violence. Abusive men have been released early from prison because domestic violence claims were overturned. The language in the amendment was used to say that as a partner in an unmarried couple, there were no legal protections or rights available to them. Seriously. This should scare the shit out of everyone. If a woman calls the cops on her boyfriend for hitting her, he goes to jail, and is released the next day, what do you think will happen? Aren’t abusive partners even more pissed when their partners fight back? This is beyond hazardous. This could kill people.
Child visitation and custody rights nullified. If an unmarried partner has secured child custody rights, they could be stripped using this language. If you know an unmarried woman with custody of her children or possibly even children that aren’t biologically hers, you should be against this amendment. Please, be against taking kids away from responsible parental guardians.
Trusts, wills, and end-of-life directives ignored. Right now, with proper legal documentation, a person can leave money and belongings to whomever they want. If they constantly carry around a power of attorney paper stating that a certain person is granted hospital visitation rights, they can guarantee that their significant others can spend time with them if something were to happen. This would be very likely to go away if the amendment is added.
Certainly, this bill is directed at blocking the rights of gay couples and there are a lot of people who want that but this won’t just affect them. This is all unmarried couples. Specifically, this could hurt a lot of women who are already struggling. We’re talking ex-wives, widows, girlfriends, (non-adoptive/biological) single moms. This hurts people.
So back to my first question: why go this far? The only reason I can see to pass this, to voteforit, is because of hate. If you can look at all this information andstill think that it’s worth it–it’s worth it to hurt our standing in the global economy, to send away talented professionals, to allow women to be beaten, to have their kids taken away, to overlook someone’s last wishes, and to deny any legal rights to unmarried couples all to send a message to same-sex couples that they’re second class citizens who don’t deserve basic rights–you are hateful.
Team, please. I’m begging you. Vote against this thing and don’t just stop there. Talk to people about this information. Talk to your friends, families, and co-workers and make sure they understand how unnecessary this measure is and how much it will break down our families and workforce in this state. To learn more and for tips on conversation starters, go here: http://www.protectallncfamilies.org/
Also, attend an event. Do yourself a favor and just go and listen and participate if you feel up to it. I went to one last week and listened to some hard, honest discussions from people who were passionate about both sides. It was amazing to me in a lot of ways but it was also really special to see everyone respecting each other and showing compassion no matter what their beliefs are. Communities doing this is the only way to change things. We have to start seeing each other faces before we realize who our actions are affecting.