North Carolina made history today. Not only did voters approve a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, but they made the Southern States of Bigotry set complete, in becoming the last holdout state south of the Mason-Dixon to do so!
But wait — it gets better! North Carolina didn’t just stop at banning same-sex marriages. Read the text of Senate Bill 514, also know as Amendment 1:
“Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State. This section does not prohibit a private party from entering into contracts with another private party; nor does this section prohibit courts from adjudicating the rights of private parties pursuant to such contracts.”
That means no gay marriages…nor civil unions…nor domestic partnerships.
All sarcasm aside, it’s an extremely sad night for all families in North Carolina. It’s not just families headed by or including lesbian, gay or bisexual members who will be hurt. A real blow has been dealt to their legal options for protection and support, it’s true. But all North Carolinians — in living with a constitution which legalizes discrimination, and which creates two sets of rights for two sets of citizens — are hurt in the cycle of a false notion of superiority and inferiority. Pro-equality Fortune 500 companies will be less likely to settle there, hurting the economic options for totally gay and totally straight North Carolinians alike. And they’ll be hurt for at least a generation, if not generations, with this constitutional amendment.
North Carolina joins a majority of all states, and every single southern state, in adopting such a ban, though its is among the most draconian.
At one point President Obama was reportedly scheduled to appear in North Carolina today. After his Vice President made Obama’s bizarre position on same-sex marriage equality seem all the more absurd this Sunday, it ended up Obama was instead in New York State…with the Governor who has done more for marriage equality than any other.
And while we realize the politics of New York State don’t extrapolate across the nation, the fact that Governor Andrew Cuomo is polling at 73% also makes Obama’s apparent fears that supporting same-sex marriage will hurt him look all the more ridiculous.
UPDATE: The vote wasn’t even close. North Carolina passed Amendment 1 by more than 60 percent. Also, Colorado failed to pass a civil union bill late last night, after procedural moves ran the legislative clock out prior to an important deadline. A terrible day for same-sex couples seeking legal equality across the nation.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 8, 2012