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The Truth About the Discriminatory, Job-Killing, Harmful, Family-Unfriendly, Divisive, Anti-LGBT Marriage Amendment (in North Carolina)

Marriage equality

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.

18 Comments

  • 1. Ann S.  |  September 7, 2011 at 10:28 am

    §

  • 2. _BK_  |  September 7, 2011 at 10:44 am

    Nice. We need more of this around the country. There are so many lies–we need to get the truth out, and this is a great example. One thing I'd love to see is flyers and pamphlets… the average person doesn't read many political essays, but they'd likely read an interesting flyer.

  • 3. Ronnie  |  September 7, 2011 at 10:54 am

    Subscribing & sharing….. "Rory's Story" (video)…… <3…Ronnie:
    [youtube BZU-HQ_c8bg&list=FLDVVpbKWtxZQirssNF5bbHw&index=2&feature=plpp http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZU-HQ_c8bg&list=FLDVVpbKWtxZQirssNF5bbHw&index=2&feature=plpp youtube]

  • 4. Alan_Eckert  |  September 7, 2011 at 11:22 am

  • 5. Dee  |  September 7, 2011 at 11:38 am

    This is also an interesting story:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/07/us/07jackson.ht

    Indications are that the man was murdered because of his race, not his sexual orientation. But add to that that his surviving spouse cannot be named as a plaintiff in the civil suit against the (alleged) murderers because Mississippi law prevents it. Absolutely dreadful. Someone like Lambda Legal or NCLR should be all over this.

  • 6. DaveP  |  September 7, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    That's a very well done document. Of course it's much too long for consuption by the general public so I hope they intend to put the best bits of it into some much shorter and simpler literature. And I really feel it's important to emphasize the points about hate groups. True, the document mentions that the measure is supported by and associated with known hate groups, but this should be more prominent. For example – tell people exactly what a real hate group IS and what they DO ("using tactics similar to the KKK" and provide examples of their past actions like their work with the "kill the gays" bill in Uganda).

  • 7. Fr. Bill  |  September 7, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    Herein Hawai'i the right wingnuts got to the Hawaii Business Roundtable to raise "serious concerns" about the civil union bill that Repugnican Gov. Linda Lingle later vetoed. Equality Hawaii jumped all over the CEOs on the Business Roundtable Board – a big public relations black-eye for those corporations , the CEOs and the Roundtable.

    Lesson learned – get big business, the university presidents and the hospital and medical school heads on board early in the game. Money talks, jobs talk and these people control a lot of money and jobs. If the CEO of Bank of America andother big employers turn off the money to the right wing nuts and tell the Governor (who is not stupid) that they may have to consider moving jobs out of state, they will listen.

    Now that the legislature has passed the bill, get big business to help fund and to support its defeat. It is in their own best interests.

  • 8. maggie4noh8  |  September 7, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    Off topic, but wanted to provide this link…

    Obama Administration has finalized LBGT friendly policy…

    THIS IS A BIG DEAL!!!!!

    It applies to hospitals participating in Medicare/Medicaid program (virtually 100%) and has to be included in the patient's rights as well as hospital P&P.

    Please share with anyone/everyone you know!
    http://thinkprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/

  • 9. DaveP  |  September 7, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    For example:

    DO YOU WANT SOUTH CAROLINA'S STATE CONSTITUTION TO BE RE-WRITTEN BY HATE GROUPS?

    Who is REALLY behind the anti-gay marriage bills (Senate Bill 106/HB77)? It's none other than the "Family Research Council", a Hate Group designated by the respected civil rights watch group the Southern Poverty Law Center. This notorious Hate Group has spent more than $50,000 to support the horrible "Kill the Gays" bill in Uganda and they advocate imprisoning people right here in America just for being gay.

    They say they only want to 'protect marriage' but their own words and actions show their true motive. And their motive is hate.

    Are these the kind of people you want re-writing our state Constitution?

  • 10. DaveP  |  September 7, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    Oops. Should be North, not South Carolina. Sorry!

  • 11. Reformed  |  September 7, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    How will this document be distributed? Who is the audience?

  • 12. Gregory in SLC  |  September 7, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    Excellent all-in-one-source document! I prefer information presented in this format (vs. using fear and scary tactics). I feel this is something I can share with my movable-middle acquaintances. I plan to review/verify/dissect/research/learn-about all the items presented to see if its a tool I feel comfortable using. So far looks VERY promising. Shout out to Richard and BZ and other P8TT North Carolinians!

  • 13. Gregory in SLC  |  September 7, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    I like…but so wish DOMA would go away and marriage equality would make this memorandum/training uneccesary!

    still great to see:
    Provide notice to patients or their support persons (where appropriate) of their visitation
    rights, including the right to receive, subject to the patient’s consent, visitors designated
    by the patient, including but not limited to a spouse, domestic partner (including a samesex domestic partner), another family member, or a friend.

  • 14. Elizabeth_Oakes  |  September 7, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    Agreed. Mild, wordy responses don't work– we found that out with Prop 8. Fine for press releases, but campaign materials need to be short and punchy– folks are tired and don't take time to read stuff much anymore.

  • 15. Leo  |  September 7, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    There seems to be an error on page 10: "Only 35% of North Carolinians oppose legal recognition of same-sex marriage." In fact, 35% was the percentage opposing any legal recognition for same-sex couples (as correctly stated on page 11).

  • 16. maggie4noh8  |  September 8, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    CMS website, and audience would be healthcare providers to Medicare/Medicaid beneficiaries.

  • 17. Munk  |  September 13, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    North Carolinian here, with a question … need a legal mind to answer it. I’m pretty sure this bill will pass, and it will be put on in a May referendum here. Is there a silver lining to its passing, if that happens? That is, this will mimic almost exactly Prop 8 in its progression … so if the verdict there stands and does indeed strike down Prop 8 on its constitutional merits for the State of California, would a couple here in NC then be able to sue, with the verdict being informed by case law in a federal court ruling on another state?

  • 18. Str8Guy  |  September 13, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    It passed both the House and the Senate.

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