CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Since the proposal of the highly controversial Amendment One in September 2011, the Tar Heel state has splintered between the supporters of the amendment and the equally fervent opposition.
But what may have started off as a peaceful exchange of viewpoints has had more than a few North Carolina citizens resorting to stealing yard signs.
Currently, 29 states have passed an amendment similar to Amendment One, but many organizations like Equality NC and the official campaign to oppose the amendment — Protect NC Families — continue to take a stand against the amendment’s harmful effects.
Yard signs have been a popular tactic used in promoting or opposing policies like this one in the past. While this strategy typically aims to engage communities in discussing the issues that are important to them, across North Carolina people have been reporting their yard signs being stolen. On many accounts, signs have been stolen just hours after they were put out.
Here are some examples:
One video was uploaded onto Youtube last week of a young man recording himself speaking about Amendment One.
“Right now there’s the Amendment One,” the young man says in the video. “And it’s gonna state that marriage is between one man and one woman — which is how it ought to be.” He then went on to explain that a neighbor put up a sign opposing the amendment and that “they ought to know not to put stuff like that near [his] house.”
He then began bragging about stealing the neighbor’s sign then proceeded to shoot the sign twice with a shot gun.
Signs ruined, photos posted on Facebook
Other victims of sign thefts have blamed different North Carolina churches whose members haveencouraged to take a firm stand against the opposition. Several have taken to social networking siteslike Twitter and Facebook to point out the irony of people claiming to support an amendment in order to uphold Biblical values, while breaking one of the 10 Commandments: “Thou shalt not steal.”
But North Carolina churches, as a collective, certainly do not deserve full blame. In fact, there’s news last week that Unitarian Universal Church in Winston-Salem recently had their “vote against Amendment One” sign stolen from the church lawn.
The church continues to search for the sign.
North Carolina citizens do not seem to understand that free speech is a two-way street. The best way to get your point across is to use respect and reason, not immature bully tactics.
Signs slashed, urinated on
This means no slashing opposing signs with razor blades , no urinating on signs, no shooting signs with shotguns and no stealing. Because while you can take another North Carolina resident’s sign, you can’t take their vote.
Amendment One will be voted on May 8, though it would be naive to believe election day will mark the end of the Amendment One controversy. The passion brought out by both sides of the issue make it clear that this social issue will continue to be debated for years to come regardless of the outcome of the ballot . Disputes regarding Amendment One and policies like it will likely continue to bring out the worst in North Carolina.
This article was originally published on Yahoo! News through the Yahoo Contributor Network which was shut down in July 2014. For more content by this author that was originally published on Yahoo! News, click here.