Friday, May 11, 2012

NC Amandment One (#AmendmentOne)

This has not been a good week for me, nor many of my fellow North Carolinians. Well, 39%-ish of them at least. In case you have not seen/heard, NC voters passed Amendment One last Tuesday. Amendment One changes the North Carolina Constitution to define marriage as a partnership between a man and a woman only, it also nullifies any civil union in the state, regardless of the genders of the people in said union.

I really am not too surprised, but highly bothered. I currently live in a very religious, pro "Murca" part of the state, but spent a great deal of time in the more affluent Raleigh-Durham area. Frankly I expected the amendment to pass, but was shocked at the numbers. I initially assumed that our Republican legislature got the amendment put on their primary ballot in hopes that fewer Democrats would be at the polls. Sadly, the Democratic turn out seemed to be marginally higher, with more Democrats voting in their obligatory "Obama vs Undecided" primary than Republicans in their now also obligatory primary. Also, more people voted on the amendment than did in the primary races. (Election Statistics)

So, what does one do besides being angry about it? I am in the awkward position of being a straight man in a "state sanctioned" marriage who finds this deplorable. Also, I happen to love North Carolina. I am an Army brat who has lived in many of our nation's backwaters, but have spent the bulk of my life in various parts of the state. I do not want to leave, but the wife and I have been seriously considering it for some time now (without political motivation). Amendment One only strengthens my desire to do so.

Here is a small thing I have started doing. It may be silly, but symbolic. I am wearing my wedding ring on my right hand in hopes that people ask me why. This will give me the opportunity to bring up my opposition to the amendment. It seems superficial, but people notice a wedding ring on the right hand and often ask why you do it. I am sure Polish people get this all the time, as I understand that traditionally that is how they roll. I am hoping for the same questioning.

Otherwise, this blog and other social media are my main recourse. I do not have many (read "any") friends in Fayetteville. I play D&D with some people, but we do not hang out otherwise. In the five years I have lived here this go-round there is not a single person I'd consider calling up to go have a beer or see a movie. That is partly the people in town, but also is my nature. Therefore, you lovely people get to hear my tirades.

A general problem with the gay marriage issue is marriage itself. "Marriage" in the religious sense is not what the state sanctions. As far as the state is concerned (and by that I mean any state) all marriages are civil unions. You do not have to have a religious aspect to your union. Marriage in a church is superfluous, being neither a required or even recognized portion of said union. Also, despite what religious folk may think, same sex couples are already getting married in the religious sense. "Commitment Ceremonies" are nothing more than religious marriages that are not recognized by the state. Opposite sex couples do the same thing. There are many couples (and at least one near and dear to my heart) that do not marry but have the same commitment to each other. The difference is that in many areas their "domestic partnership" is recognized widely by the government and employers. Many states even enforce these domestic partnerships with common-law marriage statutes that both enforce the bond and protect the participants and any children produced through said partnership.

I guess in the end (and to wrap up this rambling and poorly thought out post) we need to do two things. Recognize that Judeo-Christan superstition does not hold a patent on morality, and recognize that Human Rights should never be deferred based on an aspect of a particular human's nature. The religious right has been running this country into the ground since the Reagan administration, and are not all that religious. They follow "God's Law" no better than most of us, but rather use religion as a shield. This is the oldest trick in the book. If you claim you are doing God's will it is hard for the rabble to argue with you, and the rabble is who they are after. As for Human Rights, the only thing that should define whether you are qualified for Human Rights is the quality of being human.



ayeM8y said...

It’s a sad turn of events so late in the game. Florida passed the same amendment several years ago. It lets you know how bigoted your neighbors can be. The only good thing about such a measure is that the people really stand out for their intolerance. I blame the churches for whipping the congregations up into a witch hunt type of frenzy.

Like it or not, when more states pass gay marriage law, eventually the Supreme Court will rule such State laws as unconstitutional.

Darius Whiteplume said...

I guess we'll have to see what the SCUS does with Por 8, though it is an oddball. They will be deciding on if a state can take away rights already granted to citizens rather than if they should have had those right to begin with. It bothers me that the South has such a history of desiring freedom but is the national GOP's testing ground for their disgusting agenda. Certainly, the South's history is checkered on the freedom front, but we are all about telling the government to stay out of our business. Sadly, we tend not to care if the government gets in our neighbor's business.

Keir said...

I agree with your sentiments completely, especially the incredulity that superstition and mythology has such a powerful hold on a Western country in the 21st century.
By the way, I've been married for just over two years and I still haven't been bothered to buy a ring. Don't even know what hand one's supposed to wear it.

Aaron E. Steele said...

Curious ... by what percentage did the amendment pass?

Darius Whiteplume said...

@Keir - I rarely wear mine. I have started to recently, but there have been years where I did not know where it even was :-)

@Aaron - it passed 61% to 39%. A touch high for my sensibilities.

T. Roger Thomas said...

I'm a little curious to know how this will play out in the coming decades as laws passed by each state will turn the rules surrounding marriage into a patchwork quilt. What happens when gay military couples are ordered to move to states where their marriages are not legal?

Darius Whiteplume said...

That is a good question. I am not sure how military marriages go, whether they are through the state where they occur or not. Bases are federal enclaves that follow the local laws as a courtesy, but are not obliged to do so. It will be interesting to see the "Support Our Troops" crowd trying to break up a married military couple.

chris said...

I live not far from two (male) Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers who got married in 2006. Blogger does not care for my HTML so here:
This is a very rural very conservative corner of Canada. There were a lot of jokes about the Mounties always getting their man. A very few were, of course, horrified but most people just shrugged and carried on.
To my knowledge there has been no increase in the divorce rate. Anecdata, I know but, hey...
Anyway, things will get better if you work at it. You are working at it, right?

Darius Whiteplume said...

Hi Chris! We did at least get rid of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) which allows our soldiers to be openly gay. While DADT gets a lot of negative press it was at least some protection, and pretty progressive for the time. I live in a military town, and I can't tell you how pleased I feel when I see two soldiers who are obviously on a date.

As for working at it... I am mostly filled with the impotent internet rage I mentioned in the following post, but last night decided to heed your challenge and sought out a LGBTQ and friends group in town through Also,I had previously signed up for a Pride run in New York City, partly because I am becoming obsessed with running, but also as at least a tiny bit of support :-)

Thanks for the RCMP article, very interesting.

chris said...

You're welcome.
Good that you're doing something. Don't forget to vote, in every election. Straight Democratic ticket of course.

Darius Whiteplume said...

I don't believe I have ever voted Republican. I used to vote for odd-ball parties as a kid, but now only vote Dem.I did recently join an LGBTQ advocacy group in town, in hopes of getting more active. Went to the my first meeting yesterday.

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