The Truth About the Discriminatory, Job-Killing, Harmful, Family-Unfriendly, Divisive, Anti-LGBT Marriage Amendment (in North Carolina)
September 7, 2011
By Adam Bink
Or so is the title of the remarkable document put out by Equality North Carolina to refute the lies being put out by GOP and other anti-equality figures in North Carolina in advance of the upcoming vote on the marriage amendment, which is expected as early as next week. Chock full of facts, figures, quotes, and highlights, it does a great job.
An example excerpt:
Truth: The Anti-LGBT Amendment is Bad for Business, Causing Real Harm to North Carolina’s Ability to Attract and Support Businesses in the State.
The anti-LGBT amendment harms private businesses by potentially denying them control over what benefits they offer their employees and the caliber of employees they can recruit.
• State regulatory agencies and courts could decide that the broadly-worded amendment renders private employers’ domestic partner benefits (such as health care benefits, long- and short-term disability benefits, life insurance benefits, and accidental death and dismemberment benefits), unenforceable in four different ways:
(1) Based on the language of Senate Bill 106, defining “marriage” as the only “legal domestic union” that can be “valid or recognized in this state,” the amendment could tie the hands of state regulatory agencies like the North Carolina Department of Insurance by preventing approval of any private contracts for domestic partner benefits for unmarried same- or opposite-sex couples.
(2) State-operated health care providers might refuse to implement private employers’ domestic partner benefits, concluding that the amendment prohibits them from recognizing the relationships of unmarried couples.
(3) If challenged, judges could find that they are forbidden from enforcing contracts providing private employees’ domestic partner benefits because the proposed amendment bars the state from recognizing any domestic legal union that is not a marriage.
(4) Also, courts might view the amendment as evidence that North Carolina has adopted a public policy position against recognizing unmarried couples, finding private employment agreements that guarantee domestic partner benefits are void on public policy grounds.
• Because of the broadly-worded amendment, private employers and insurers could similarly conclude that governing law prevents them from offering North Carolina employees domestic partner benefits, or in the alternative, private employers and insurers may find the burden and expense of contracting for domestic partner benefits in an uncertain or challenging legal environment unsustainable. In addition to the amendment’s potential impact on the ability of businesses to enforce domestic partner benefit contracts solely within the private sector, as University of Law professor Victor Flatt put it, “the larger economic impact may be based on the perception of what the policy means about the state of North Carolina as a place to live and do business. In this way, even a Constitutional amendment that apparently would only codify state law could have an effect on business as it changes the perception of the state.”
• Corporate America is a leader in its recognition of the value of gay and lesbian employees and has adopted inclusive workplace policies to attract and retain talent.
The anti-LGBT amendment puts these workplace policies at risk.
- By the numbers: 89% of Fortune 500 companies prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, including Bank of America, Lowe’s, Duke Energy, BB&T, and Reynolds American (the five largest North Carolina-based public companies in that order).
- Duke Energy cited domestic partner benefits as an important recruiting tool for all employees.
- Over 50 major private companies in North Carolina offer samesex domestic partner benefits, including Bank of America, the 5th largest Fortune 500 Corporation in America.
Pam Spaulding has more. Something worth sharing.