When we named our son Atticus, we said we did so because it’s important to stand up for what is right. So I am going to wade into the contentious waters of politics to talk about something that is happening in North Carolina that I believe is very wrong.
On May 8th, North Carolinians will be voting on amendment one. What will appear on our ballots is this: “Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state.”
It is clear to me that amendment one will harm more families than it “protects.” This amendment will cause some unmarried couples (gay and straight) and their children to lose their health care coverage. Family law professors from every law school in our state believe that the language of the amendment could cause custody issues and problems with domestic violence protections. The state attorney general agrees that this is a strong possibility. If this turns out not to be the case, it will only be established after lengthy and expensive battles in the courts. Even a framer of the amendment believes that, if it passes, it will be overturned in 20 years.
Those would be enough reasons to vote against this amendment, but they are not all of my reasons. I have lived, worked, and worshipped with gay and lesbian friends for all of my adult life, and I believe that they deserve the same rights that Mike and Atticus and I have. Far from threatening my marriage, these relationships have strengthened and supported us.
If you believe that gay marriage is wrong for our state, we can simply agree to disagree. But we are not just voting on an amendment about gay marriage. If it does not pass, gay marriage will not suddenly be legal. None of our laws will change. If it does pass, it will hurt a lot of unmarried people, gay and straight.
There are many different kinds of families in our state. I don’t understand why the kind that I am in should be the only “valid” one. And, truthfully, no amendment can invalidate a family, because families are bonded by more than just legal documents. But this amendment will take away many families’ rights and benefits, and that is wrong. Our state constitution should be amended to expand rights, not to take them away.
We are past the point where it’s okay for me to take my stand by quietly voting my convictions. I cannot tell my son that I stood by and said nothing as my friends’ rights were eroded. That’s not who I want to be as a parent and a person of faith.
I love North Carolina. I was born here and I am proud to raise my son here. I hope I can tell him that we successfully fought against amendment one because we in North Carolina care about the rights of women, of children, and of unmarried couples. We care about the rights of all families.
North Carolinians, please vote against amendment one on May 8th. Early voting continues through this week. If you haven’t yet registered, you can register and vote during early voting.