Exactly one week from today, registered voters in my fair state of North Carolina will have the opportunity to vote on Amendment One, an amendment to the state constitution that would define marriage as strictly being between a man and a woman. Of course the bill is being supported, blindly, by the GOP and conservative Christians. I say blindly because the bill’s supporters could not have possibly read up on it because if they had, they would have run across the gaping loop holes that have the potential to endanger the lives of North Carolina’s women and children.
While most folks will harp on the fact that they don’t want homosexual people too marry, most of these people have not full investigated the possible repercussions of amending North Carolina’s constitution. Defining marriage the way it is written in that amendment will harm ALL unmarried couples. There are a lot of couples, gay and straight, who have opted to forgo marriage altogether and just cohabit. Some people just don’t want to get married. The way some employers set up benefits, it allows individuals to insure their partners and the children the couple is raising. Defining marriage in this way will strip those benefits.
If stripping away the benefits of children were not enough, this law could nullify some family protection orders that women have filed against abusive men. Those protection could be seen as unconstitutional because only those couples who are legally married are considered family. It is quite possible that it could happen, it already did in Ohio. Twenty-seven cases against attackers were thrown out because the state only recognized married relationships as having protected status.
In the South, hell, everywhere, same-sex marriage has always been a hot button issue. The GOP and religious conservatives have long been working to legally define marriage because one man and one woman is the way God intended. Under normal circumstances, I’d have no problem with that if this were a church. A church has every right to govern by its respective holy book as it sees fit. When it comes to government, American government, my God, yours or anyone else’s has any place there.
This country was founded on religious freedom. The first amendment of the United States constitution specifically states that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. Using religion to justify this amendment or to uphold the law against same-sex marriage that is already on the books means Congress has made a law respecting the Christian establishment of religion. Congress is supposed to make laws that serve the best interest of its respective constituents. Congress is NOT supposed to be embracing the Bible as law.
The actual marriage between two people is a legal contract. There is actual paper work on file in the office of the register of deeds in respective municipalities. A legal marriage enables two people to reap benefits such as health insurance, life insurance and something as simple as seeing their spouse in the hospital. They can adopt children, purchase property together and so on. All of these things are legally binding documents.
The marriage ceremony is usually a religious practice. Traditions vary across cultures and religions but there is more often than not a clergy member involved to administer the vows and promises the couple makes to each other. Traditionally, these ceremonies have been held in churches or holy places.
The differences there are the first gives you legal benefit that, by law, should not be denied to anyone whereas the latter can be afforded or denied to anyone the church sees fit. Amending the state’s constitution to deny a group of people the aforementioned rights is not only deplorable, it should be illegal. Hell, it is illegal. If two people are in a romantic relationship and they want to make their union legal, it is only the business of those two people and the people filing their paperwork. Allowing two people to reap the legal benefits of marriage in no way negates those marriages that already exist.
Folks need to get over themselves. Wanda Sykes said it best, “If you’re against gay marriage, don’t marry a gay person.” As far as I’m concerned, they have just as much right to marriage as anyone else. Who someone else marries is NOT my business. I will be voting AGAINST Amendment One. If you live in North Carolina, I hope you will, too.