N.C. legislature sends gay marriage ban to general vote
Posted by raleighfist on September 30, 2011
By a student organizer who identifies as LGBTQ
The North Carolina House of Representatives voted 75-42 on Sept. 12 to place a constitutional ban on gay marriage on the ballot for the 2012 state elections. If Amendment One is ratified, it would permanently ban all same-sex marriages in North Carolina, prevent private employers from providing health insurance benefits to same-sex couples, and render null and void in this state all same-sex marriages made in other states.
This vote comes just as the Defense of Marriage Act is close to being overturned in the courts, following popular struggles. Overturning DOMA would force states to recognize and provide full benefits to partners through the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Despite DOMA’s imminent overturn, the proposed amendment would nullify all same-sex marriages. More than 100 tax breaks, health insurance benefits, hospital visitation rights and other benefits currently available to opposite-sex married couples would continue to be near-permanently denied to same-sex couples.
The process of instilling bigotry in the North Carolina Constitution has already cost taxpayers over $150,000 for the three days in the Legislature — money that could be spent on teachers, education or other public services.
Maneuvering to suppress voter turnout
The amendment will be on the ballot, but not in the general election. It will be voted on during the state primary elections held on May 8, 2012. This is a calculated, deliberate move by the Republican bloc in the legislature to suppress voter turnout while boosting their own presidential candidates.
According to the North Carolina Board of Elections, a general election in a presidential year turns out about 70 percent of registered voters, while a primary election in a presidential year only turns out about 16 to 37 percent of registered voters, depending on whether one or both of the Republicans and Democrats have relevant primaries.
With President Barack Obama slated to run for reelection on the Democratic presidential ticket and the Republican presidential nomination wide open, the vast majority of projected primary turnout will be registered Republicans. Republicans have been the strongest supporters of this reactionary amendment.
Stand up, fight back
The struggle of the lesbian/gay/bi/trans/queer community and its allies will be the only way to defeat Amendment One and all other attacks on LGBTQ peoples. Those of us who are able to register to vote and go to the polls on May 8 must go the polls to defeat this bill. Those of us who cannot, regardless of the reason, must unify in the streets to demand full rights and equality for all people regardless of sexuality, gender identity or gender expression.
Through the struggles of LGBTQ youth and workers, this amendment shall be shot down, both in the polls and in the streets.
An injury to one is an injury to all! Full rights for all LGBTQ people!