Dear Democratic Legislators in the NC General Assembly:
I am writing you today in response to a story I read in the Charlotte Observer. Thank you for taking time to hear my concerns.
Rep. Linda Johnson, a Kannapolis Republican, plans to force a vote Tuesday on a proposal to ban same-sex marriage in the N.C. Constitution. Johnson and Rep. Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, are sponsors of the state Marriage Protection Amendment introduced earlier this year.
This sad story has been written about extensively, and you've probably already been contacted by supporters of Equality NC and others who have been mobilized by one of our state's leading progressive bloggers. As a straight, middle-class white business guy, I want to add my words of advice as well:
Don't. You. Dare.
If you've bothered to read the Constitution of the State of North Carolina, which you are sworn to uphold, you will find no section in that document that is written to restrict the rights and liberties of We the People. On the contrary, the preamble is a proud and honorable celebration of freedom. Among its 36 sections, I call your attention to these:
Section 1. The equality and rights of persons.
We hold it to be self-evident that all persons are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, the enjoyment of the fruits of their own labor, and the pursuit of happiness.
Sec. 13. Religious liberty.
All persons have a natural and inalienable right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences, and no human authority shall, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience.
Sec. 19. Law of the land; equal protection of the laws.
No person shall be taken, imprisoned, or disseized of his freehold, liberties, or privileges, or outlawed, or exiled, or in any manner deprived of his life, liberty, or property, but by the law of the land. No person shall be denied the equal protection of the laws; nor shall any person be subjected to discrimination by the State because of race, color, religion, or national origin.
Sec. 35. Recurrence to fundamental principles.
A frequent recurrence to fundamental principles is absolutely necessary to preserve the blessings of liberty.
Sec. 36. Other rights of the people.
The enumeration of rights in this Article shall not be construed to impair or deny others retained by the people.
Make no mistake. The bill being proposed by Linda Johnson is a full frontal assault on the heart of our Constitution. She is effectively proposing to create a new Section 19:
Linda Johnson's Sec. 19. Law of the land; unequal protection of the laws.
No person shall be taken, imprisoned, or disseized of his freehold, liberties, or privileges, or outlawed, or exiled, or in any manner deprived of his life, liberty, or property, but by the law of the land. No person shall be denied the equal protection of the laws; nor shall any person be subjected to discrimination by the State because of race, color, religion, or national origin, unless that person is a homosexual.
I take my Constitution seriously and I consider the service of elected officials in protecting that Constitution to be a sacred honor. If you are not up to the task, I suggest you find another job.
This is your chance to prove to North Carolina, our nation, and the world, that the Old North State is a special place with values that transcend the hateful political agendas of people like Linda Johnson and her co-sponsors, people who have nothing better to do than divide us one against the other.
Please do the right thing. Keep the dirty hands of the North Carolina GOP off my Constitution.
Father, husband, entrepreneur, citizen
US Naval Academy, 1972
UNC School of Journalism, 1980