If I lived in North Carolina, I’d be preparing to vote, “No,” tomorrow on Amendment One. The ballot proposition would not just enshrine the traditional definition of marriage into the Tar Heel State’s constitution, it also “would ban any other type of ‘domestic legal union’ such as civil unions and domestic partnerships.” Draconian though the amendment is, it does leave some wiggle room to same-sex couples with this language:
This section does not prohibit a private party from entering into contracts with another private party; nor does this section prohibit courts from adjudicating the rights of private parties pursuant to such contracts.
That said, I believe voters should defeat this amendment. It prevents the state’s elected legislature from responding to changing social conditions.
Defeat of the amendment would not lead to state recognition of same-sex marriages — or even same-sex civil unions. North Carolina would continue to recognize as marriages only unions between one man and one woman. That definition would just not be part of its constitution; future legislatures (and even the current one) would simply remain free to consider means to provide benefits to same-sex couples.
From what I have read, largely through Pam Spaulding‘s Facebook links, it seems that opponents of Amendment One, have done a far better job than those opposing California’s Prop 8 of enlisting business groups in the campaign against the ballot measure. The Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce, for example, released this statement last month:
North Carolina’s proposed Amendment 1 is bad for business. It will interfere with employer’s ability to recruit talent and their right to provide competitive benefits to their employees. It also signals to employers and employees that North Carolina is not welcoming to the diverse, creative workforce that we need to compete in the global economy. We should not do anything that diminishes any corporation’s interest in locating or remaining in North Carolina.
Exactly. A Bank of America executive (B of A is based in Charlotte) feared the amendment, if passed, would have a “disastrous effect“:
“We’re in a war with other states across the country who would love to have the jobs that we have today,” [global technology and operations executive Cathy] Bessant said in the video for Protect All NC Families. “Amendment One is a direct challenge to our ability to compete nationally for jobs and economic growth. Large corporations hate this kind of controversy.”
This provision is bad for business. It’s not just bad for business. It’s bad policy. If you live in North Carolina, vote, “No,” on Amendment One.