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Huzzah! Same-Sex Union Ban Enacted By North Carolina Cousinf*&kers

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Slade Sohmer

By Slade Sohmer on May 9, 2012

UPDATE: Not 24 hours later, President Obama came out in support of marriage equality.

North Carolina, the lone southern holdout ’til now, now has its very own constitutional amendment that makes marriage between one man and one woman the only recognized legal union in the state. By a vote of 61 percent – 39 percent, 1.3 million residents voted to make North Carolina the 30th state with a statute or amendment than bans same-sex couples from marrying the person they love.


North Carolina is one of 25 states where it is legal to marry your first cousin (as long as they’re not same-sex cousins, of course). That’s right, it’s entirely plausible that a married couple in North Carolina showed up to the polls and said, “Gay people disgust me, they deserve no marital rights. Okay, honey, let’s vote, have some dinner, call our shared grandma and have totally normal, healthy sex.”

Sanctity, my arse

Newt Gingrich is welcome to move to North Carolina, divorce his third wife and marry a fourth (preferably cancer-free) woman. Rush Limbaugh is welcome to divorce his fourth wife and marry a fifth (preferably blind) woman. If North Carolina really wanted to defend marriage and protect the sanctity of this sacred institution, perhaps they should have sought to ban divorce rather than outlaw marriage and civil unions for same-sex couples. North Carolina’s divorce rate isn’t in the top 10 among states, but it is higher than the national average. Banning divorce would save the institution for good heterosexuals everywhere.

Worse than you think

The national media and most people on Twitter insisted on referring to Amendment 1 as an “Anti-same sex marriage law” or a “ban on gay marriage.” If only it were that simple. How is the law actually written? It decrees “marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State.” That means no legal recognition for civil unions. No legal recognition for domestic partnerships. This isn’t an affirmation of marriage as one man and one woman, this is a Draconian amendment that denies basic freedoms and rights to a unequal class of people. Hospital visitation rights? Sorry, sinners. Tax and insurance benefits? Nope, you’re too fabulous for those.

More than just marriage

Marriage equality is important because marriage equality conveys a sense of normalcy to gay couples and future generations of gay people. But it’s not everything. There’s more work to be done. Marriage should not be the sole focus of gay rights’ advocates. In North Carolina, like nearly 30 other states, has NO LAW on the books that prevents employment or housing discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation. Just as many states have no hate-crime legislation in place. Just as many states allow no adoption by gay couples. The fight for marriage is big time, but it’s not the end game.


Click this chart for a fantastic interactive chart on rights by state from The Guardian


Party like it’s 1875

This wasn’t the first time North Carolina amended its Constitution on the issue of marriage. The last time came in 1875, when residents voted to ban interracial marriage. That ban lasted until 1971. It took nearly a century, but eventually North Carolina figured out that barring people from marriage wasn’t a nice thing to do. Can we reflect for a moment that 137 years after this state banned one type of marriage, and 50 years after it lifted that ban, THESE PUTZES WENT AND DID IT AGAIN? Amazing.

DNC-ya in September

Who’s ready for the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina in September? Yup, the DNC and this president (who says he’s “disappointed” by the amendment’s passage but still hasn’t “evolved” fully to come out in full-throated support for marriage equality) want gay Democrats to show up to the convention and spend money in a state that just said “You are not equal to others.” Brilliant.

(UPDATE: Gay Marriage USA started a Change.org petition to move the DNC out of North Carolina. As of post-time, it has nearly 20,000 signatures. That’s mobilization.)

Chicken Littles

Don’t we have enough states with same-sex marriage on the books to know this experiment won’t lead to the moral ruination of America the Great? Is there some massive problem in Massachusetts and Iowa and New Hampshire that we don’t know about? The sky is not falling anywhere. Recognize that.

Smaller government

Perhaps the whole solution to this mess is to get government out of the marriage game all together. The government becomes the Oprah of Civil Unions. All couples, gay or straight: you get a civil union, you get a civil union, you get a civil union. Want to get “married?” Good, go for it, approach your church or synagogue or mosque (well, probably not your mosque) and get it recognized as marriage.

Oh, and to the 1.3 million people who voted for this amendment, it would be nice if you watched this heartfelt video, which shows the consequences of your actions. Just watch it.

Slade Sohmer is co-founder/editor-in-chief of HyperVocal. Tweet him @hypervocal or @SladeHV.

UPDATE: Not 24 hours later, President Obama came out in support of marriage equality.


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