The odds are good that if you're reading this at all, you know perfectly well what my position on North Carolina's "Amendment One" is. And since most of you reading this are friends and relatives with whom I get along well, there's even a pretty good chance that you already agree with me.

This is not written for you. --PC


This is written for any readers who might be inclined to vote in favor of Amendment One, and it is a good-faith attempt on my part to explain why I would like you to vote against it.

My own feelings on gay marriage or gay rights in general don't matter here. What matters is that Amendment One is NOT a ban on gay marriage. Gay marriage is already illegal in North Carolina.

Let me say that again, because there are folks out there who simply don't know yet:
Gay marriage is already illegal in North Carolina.

In short, if you're one of the many North Carolinians opposed to gay marriage, you need to know that voting for Amendment One will not help you get your way. You've already gotten it. Whether you vote "Yes," vote "No," or just stay home on May 8th, gay marriage will be just as illegal on May 9th as it was on May 7th.

But if you vote for Amendment On,e you are voting for a law that will cause problems for a lot of people. And many of those people are straight.

Various state, county, and municipal institutions, such as universities, offer benefits, such as insurance, to the domestic partners of their employees, and even to the children of those partners. If Amendment One is passed, public institutions will have to withdraw those benefits; an unmarried man and woman, even if they're in a common-law marriage, will not be recognized as a domestic partnership any more.

If you vote for Amendment One, you're voting for these people to lose their insurance and other benefits.

Laws against domestic abuse currently apply to people in all domestic partnerships, gay or straight, married or unmarried. If a man beats his common-law wife, he can be prosecuted under those laws. But Amendment One means the state can no longer offer special protection to that woman, because it does not recognize her as married.

If you vote for Amendment One, you're voting for these people to lose their protection.

There are people who feel strongly that gay marriage is wrong. I personally disagree, but my disagreement is not important. That's because this vote isn't about stopping gay marriage. It's about how much pain opponents of gay marriage are willing to inflict on their neighbors, gay and straight alike.

Amendment One is unnecessary, but worse, it is cruel. And I hope that the citizens of my home state will recognize that cruelty and take the steps to prevent it from being inflicted on one another.

Your fellow Tar Heels need your help. Please vote "No" on Amendment One.

--Peter Cashwell

Please feel free to copy and pass the above to any and all NC voters. All I ask is that my name be included at the bottom. --PC

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This page contains a single entry by Peter Cashwell published on May 1, 2012 9:15 PM.

Higher Ed was the previous entry in this blog.

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