April 24, 2012
The campaign to pass Amendment 1 in North Carolina, banning every domestic legal union in the state except marriage between a man and a woman, has released its first ad. It’s thirty seconds of interesting assertions and outright distortions. The ad opens with the line “Marriage has been one man and one woman since before North Carolina was a state.” While this is true, before North Carolina was a state, churches were solely responsible for marriage licenses (the Church of England had to approve), interracial marriage was banned and marriage was largely unregulated by the state in the 1860s. Marriage law is not the same now as it was before North Carolina was a state. It isn’t the same now as it was 75 years ago.
They claim that marriage is “what God created” to give children a mother and a father. Again, though, from the early days of North Carolina’s existence, the government had some control over marriage, and the control it didn’t have was taken over by the Church of England. And logically speaking, children are born to two opposite sex people – or through IVF or some other method – regardless if a marriage is involved. I’m sure there’d be a ton of mothers and fathers even without marriage. Also it can’t go unmentioned: if marriage was created for the sake of a child’s stability, why take it away from people, some of whom are undoubtedly raising children of their own? Why take away civil unions and domestic partnerships as well? If the amendment is about a child’s stability, I’m not sure how potentially taking away a child’s health insurance or removing protections for victims of domestic violence – even if those victims have kids who might be unsafe in that situation – will help.
They say that by defining marriage in the state constitution, that allows voters to determine what marriage “means.” I’m not sure I understand. Marriage is already ‘defined’ in state law in North Carolina as between a man and a woman. It’s defined in the dictionary as something else that’s a bit broader than state law, but there you go. Does the campaign want marriage to be really, really defined in the state? But even a state definition won’t change the meaning of words. What’s the purpose of continuing to define it over and over again in the state?
They claim everyone gay or straight is “free” to live as they “choose.” But not if they choose to get married. Or enter into a civil union or domestic partnership. Or choose to give their children health insurance. Or choose to protect themselves from domestic violence. Those freedoms and choices are apparently reserved for an overclass. And they say “nobody has the right to redefine marriage.” And then they proceed to point out that 30 other states have redefined marriage as the union between a man and a woman. If marriage is what they say it is, I’m not sure why 30 states and North Carolina really need to make extra sure marriage is what they say it is. And I’m not really sure why this current definition is better than the historic one where women were property and interracial marriage was banned. This seems like an attempt to impose a very modern redefinition of marriage in the state constitution and call it the definition God really intended.
So, all in all, a confusing and ahistorical ad. I’m not even sure they got the Biblical part of this right: there is no mention of banning gay people from getting married in the Bible. And Jesus doesn’t mention gays at all. They got the date right though: the election is indeed on May 8.
1. Contribute to the campaign on ActBlue so they have the resources they need to get our message out.
2. Sign up for a Courageous Conversation about Amendment One with someone you know in NC.
4. Download social media tools and yard signs to show your opposition to Amendment 1.
5. Volunteer to Call for Equality – a GOTV phone banking effort against Amendment 1.