UPDATE: awesome graphic of legal rights by state. i love awesome graphics.
north carolina had already outlawed gay marriage. what this amendment does goes way beyond that, ingraining this discrimination into the genetic makeup of the state by adding it to the constitution, with extensive implications that include revoking health care of partners & children of same sex relationships that had been covered by county initiatives, and even has implications for domestic abuse victims. the amendment is one of the most vaguely written, and therefore has the potential to be the most widely interpreted, of those across the nation.
this is our fight to fight. but we have to be smart about it.
some takeaways from the north carolina amendment 1 debacle (and some general thoughts i have):
1. vote. around 35% of eligible voters turned out for this primary election. (around 70% of eligible voters turned out for the 2008 general election, which is very high.) so not very many people voted yes, but they changed the constitution and face of this state, and what it means to live there, for the foreseeable future.
2. yes, politics is a game. and your opponents are trying to trick you. but who cares, you’re smarter than that, and have more resources than ever with which to educate yourself. yes, the amendment was placed on a primary ballot, which historically has lower turnout. and yes, it appears that the more voters learned about this amendment, the less likely they were to vote for it (now thats a powerful statistic.)
3. which comes first – social change or political change? who cares. both are important fronts. so lead by example. mindsets matter. if you don’t understand why this is a big deal, educate yourself. if you don’t think this affects you, you’re wrong. if this truly is, as i believe it to be, the civil rights of our generation, there are no innocent bystanders.
4. unintended consequences suck. the video below shares perspectives on amendment 1 from the field of family law.
for me, this isn’t about the right to perform the ritual of marriage (for some, it is). this is about all the rights that you take for granted: visitation, health care for you and your children, adoption, having a family recognized by the state, etc.
if you don’t really get it, which is completely understandably, this might illuminate some of the issues (albeit, with some emotion. but i figure thats ok. this is an emotional issue.):
“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice” – mlk jr
well, this is one hell of an arc. but i’ve got to believe that we’re on our way. here’s to hoping that the backlash from this has a unifying & amplifying effect, eh? i think just maybe.