Monday, May 7, 2012

Legislating Discrimination - No on Amendment I

Here in NC, Amendment I is on the ballot on Tuesday.  The amendment verbiage would change the NC constitution to state:

Sec. 6. Marriage.
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.
I am voting against it.  Here’s why:
·         There is already a law banning gay marriage; therefore, there is no need for a constitutional amendment.  The amendment serves no other purpose than to reflect anti-gay opinion in NC. 

·         Amending the constitution is a big deal.  It should not be taken lightly.  It should not be done simply to reflect popular opinion. Amending the constitution should only be done to extend the rights of Americans living in NC, not limit them.

·         There are further reaching implications from this bill than just preventing those who are gay from marrying.  It removes health insurance benefits to government employees from partners and their children, it prevents children of domestic partnerships from receiving government benefits after the loss of a parent, it muddies the protections against domestic violence, and it inhibits unwed couples from making hospital and end-of-life decisions.

·         It will cost taxpayers money.  There’s no doubt the courts will be the first recipients of the ramifications of passing this amendment.  Since the wording is unclear, courts will be clogged with claims.  We, the tax payers, will be paying for this.

We had a long discussion about this amendment in Sunday school class this past Sunday.  Some felt it was their “Christian duty” to vote for the Amendment.  I don't believe Jesus ever argued to legislate discrimination – I believe we are taught “Judge not lest ye be judged”.  This isn’t a Christian amendment – this is a legal amendment.  Separation of Church and State is clear.  Yes, my faith plays a role in my decision making; however, when a law is already in place I'm not choosing for or against faith, I'm choosing for or against discrimination.

If the church were voting on legalizing gay marriages performed in the church, that would be different entirely.  However, to enact public legislation purely to enforce a belief system on fellow American citizens runs counter to the freedoms that America was founded on.

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