COMMENTARY | Currently, North Carolina is the only southern state without a constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriage, but come May 8 the proposed Amendment One (which also goes by “the anti-same-sex marriage amendment,” “anti-gay referendum,” “the marriage discrimination amendment” and “the marriage amendment”) has a chance at changing that.
There is already a state statute that restricts marriage to “a male and female person,” which is one of many reasons man North Carolinians are confused. Additionally, gay marriage performed in states that permit gay marriage are not valid in North Carolina, according to N.C. General Statute 51-1.2.
The proposed Amendment One could prevent the state from recognizing any domestic union other than marriage, which would be harmful to unmarried, straight couples alike. It would also remove legal protection from the children of unmarried couples and invalidate their domestic violence protections, child custody, visitation rights and documents such as wills and trusts– again, for both unmarried gay couples and straight couples.
Since the amendment’s proposal, a widespread resistance has spread across the state. Rallying straight and gay North Carolinians have scheduled rallies and used social networking to voice their message.
“Amendment One is gay,” reads one sign at a rally in Charlotte.
“If you fight love, you’re always the loser,” reads one in McLeansville.
“Homosexuality is found in over 450 species. Homophobia is found in only one,” reads another at a Greensboro rally.
Determined to pronounce the opposition to Amendment One as bi-partisan resistance, Protect NC Families released a video earlier this month containing a montage of quotes from conservative North Carolina politicians expressing their dissatisfaction with the amendment, mostly with the way the document is worded.
Protect NC Families has also created an online petition challenging North Carolina residents to pledge to vote against the amendment this spring and “to hold conversations with [your] loved ones about the harms that the amendment would represent.”
Well on their way to a goal of 10,000 virtual signatures, the petition has more 8,500 from concerned citizens from across the state. And the number of those opposed to Amendment One is growing rapidly with the help of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.
So who exactly is for the amendment? As it turns out, most of North Carolina.
According to a Public Policy Poll, 58 percent of North Carolina supports the amendment. Nevertheless, the same survey showed that many from that 58 percent still do not understand the amendment. 28 percent of those surveyed believe that Amendment One only bans gay marriage (and not civil unions as well), and 34 percent admit that they don’t know exactly what the amendment does.
Despite not knowing the facts, people seem pretty confident that Amendment one is what’s right for North Carolina. This may be due in part to people like Executive Director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina, Inc., Rev. Mark Creech, who has played a prominent role in the progression of the amendment.
Creech has been actively against gay marriage for much of his career. In late 2010 Creech posted aletter to Sen. Richard Burr through RenewAmerica. In the letter, Creech condemned Burr, a Republican, for voting in favor of appealing “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” stating that appealing the policy would “give our detractors the argument that if the military trusts gay men and women with guns, why can’t we trust them with wedding rings?”
Earlier posts by Rev. Creech show an even darker and more hateful rhetoric towards the gay community.
The next few weeks will be crucial for equal rights activists in the Tar Heel state.
Unfortunately, North Carolina is one of many states where anti-gay sentiments are not only accepted but made into laws. This may also be the perfect opportunity to for advocates of gay rights to voice their rhetoric of reason and acceptance, which could set precedents for the other 28 states that currently ban gay marriage to repeal these amendments and encourage the citizens to let go of their prejudices.
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.