Stopping a train

(Note: One of the biggest concerns I had coming out of the bloggity conversation the other day in Raleigh is over the idea that a Marriage Amendment is on its way. To me, this trend of referendums is the most sick political tactic I've ever witnessed. They do nothing to "protect" marriage and are solely a ploy to drive up social conservative voters. This is merely another use of "the other" for political gain.
Wondering when Democrats are going to draw the line. Also wondering when we'll see somebody introduce a constitutional amendment to make it easier for people--all people--to get partner benefits, form civil unions and enjoy custody rights?)

Here's the column via Ex:

Tangled up in rules

A few thousand wary eyes are peeled for what's in the set of changes to the operating rules of the N.C. House now under consideration. The promise, in theory, is a more open environment where bills no longer get tangled up in the Rules Committee and each has a review on the merits in an appropriate venue.

But in politics, an up or down vote, whether in committee or on the floor, can be a two-edged sword. One group worried that under the new rules they'll be looking at the business end of that sword are those concerned about attempts to force a change in the state's constitution to outlaw same-sex marriage.

North Carolina and Florida are now the only Southern states to have not brought the issue of gay marriage to a vote of the people. GOP strategists know these referendums split Democratic Party coalitions and drive conservatives, particularly evangelical Christians, to the polls. New House Minority Leader Skip Stam, who has fewer GOP votes to work with than his predecessors, would count such a spot on the 2008 ballot as a major win.

Over the years, Democrats have been divided on the issue, but progressives have been able to keep the matter from coming up for a vote by getting the leadership to hold the bills. The worry among those opposed to amending the constitution is that once the train leaves the station, it's hard to stop. Virginia and South Carolina had referendums pass with ease in the last cycle. Even Wisconsin, a progressive bastion, lost the battle in 2006.

Gov. Mike Easley has already said that he would sign a bill putting a referendum on the ballot. If it gets that far, then look for 2008 to be the year North Carolina becomes a major battlefield for the culture warriors.

Tide and tactics could be shifting, though.

Durham blogger Pam Spaulding, who's written extensively on the state referendums, recently noted that framing the issue solely as one of fairness hasn't worked and won't in a state like North Carolina, where a majority have already said they'd vote for an amendment.

Spaulding points to Arizona, the only place where such an amendment has been voted down, where opponents stressed how the law would ban domestic partner benefits for heterosexual and gay and lesbian couples alike. Arizona, with a lot of seniors shacking up, said no.

Of course, we may not get to the ballot on this—either through a gutsy House committee vote or inaction by the Senate, where the rules are, shall we say, still a bit old-fashioned.

Comments

:)

A actually read this first in the paper version of the Independent yesterday when I was getting a sandwich at J&J's in Chapel Hill. That's a first for me!

Nice article. Glad to see the book review in there too.

Thanks for the shout-out, Kirk

NC's no Arizona, that's for sure. As I've said before, the crux of the issue is that the bill's supporters are saying that it's fine and dandy to let NC voters decide what civil rights a group of fellow Tar Heels are entitled to at the ballot box.

The Governor clearly concurs since he's willing to sign it if it passes.

That will always be wrong, and I'm glad this isn't a different time or place -- those legislators in favor of the measure would have been more than happy to pass an amendment barring two people from different races from marrying, citing the very same bible.

If folks want to open Pandora's Box, perhaps a bill should submitted to ban divorce or re-marriage and to allow state-approved unions only for those who can procreate.

--
Pam Spaulding
Durham, NC USA

Pam's House Blend
www.pamshouseblend.com

--
Pam Spaulding
Durham, NC USA

Pam's House Blend
www.pamshouseblend.com

attach an amendment

This just came to me, because my family adopted, that a couple could be required to go through the process of proving fitness: four home visits by a social worker, make them prove finances/health insurance/criminal background checks. Well, fingerprinting might stop a lot of bad marriages right there. Have them discuss their views of childrearing, gender roles in marriage, religious compatibility. I mean, WHO could be against taking marriage as seriously as adopting a helpless orphan? Oh, also require minimum visits to mediation as a condition of divorce.

Did I mention a pre-ceremony breathalyzer?

Then tell us they are serious about marriage. As for me, I would like some of these lesbian couples in my neighborhood to stop living in sin and get married. It is a better example for my son. Harumph! :-)

I am thrilled

That our legislature has decided it is willing to destroy every gain this state has made towards becoming a bastion in the south for progressive thought and policy.

We might as well just resign all of our seats and give the state to the Republicans for the next 20 years. And while we are at it, I want to see interracial marriage ban. I would also like to see interracial kids killed and all gays put into mental institutes.

If these dumbasses want to know how to alienate every volunteer they have then pass this referendum.

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Petition

"Keep the Faith"

Targets.

at least it gives us targets for the upcoming elections.

Where are the candidates?

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

I read an article

in newsweek this morning that was so well written, rational and heartfelt, I thought I'd link it so everyone could read it. The article, One Son's Choice: Love or Country relates one woman's view of marriage inequality and it got me thinking about a potentially huge negative consequence of writing inequality into NC's state Constitution.

My son Cameron is a model American citizen. He is a hardworking, tax-paying, law-abiding young man. An honor student, a National Merit Scholar, a dean's list mainstay. He is liked by his teachers, co-workers and bosses; he's kind to cats, dogs and little old ladies. He is an environmental engineer because he believes we need to save our planet. He is wildly in love with the first and only person he ever dated and their monogamous relationship is an example of what it means to be soulmates. Except for a brief interlude with hideous pink hair, he has led an exemplary life. My son will be an asset to his employer, his community and his country ....

State sanctioned inequality could be a disastrous consequence for NC's reputation as one of the top research and development regions in America. Business, industry and universities would bleed top talent to friendlier states, not to mention countries.

Not only are states denying gay and lesbian couples the right to marry, they are writing it into state constitution after state constitution. As of today, 26 states have passed constitutional amendments to deny my son his civil rights. Documents that were originally designed to protect citizens and guarantee them their rights are now being used to single out a small group of people and specifically deny them their rights. Passing these constitutional amendments precludes the courts from interpreting any federal or state laws to extend any recognition or benefits to same-sex couples. Discrimination is being codified into our most important governmental documents and we are allowing it to happen.

The movement to deny all rights and priviledges of partnership to gay and lesbian couples seems like less of a train and more of a brick wall underconstruction -- one that will make progress forward difficult for perhaps more than a few generations.

In a matter of years Cameron will be gone. He is moving to a country where he will have the same civil rights that heterosexual couples enjoy, a country that will benefit from his immense talent and skill, a country that does want him no matter whom he wants to marry. ... I will miss him terribly, but it is not just me who will suffer. We will all be the poorer for his moving and the reasons that drove him.

I cannot imagine anyone but the most small minded of individuals thinking this is a good thing.

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

I hear you

If NC falls and passes an amendment, will Kate and I have to vacate to a more legally hospitable place to live? The exodus is already occurring in Virginia, which passed a broad amendment that even puts private contracts in jeopardy if you have homophobic relatives that wish to challenge a relationship.

I love my home state, but there's nothing worse than feeling like I'm a second-class taxpaying citizen.

--
Pam Spaulding
Durham, NC USA

Pam's House Blend
www.pamshouseblend.com

Do you think

more stories like the one in Newsweek are helpful? To show it's not The Homosexual Agenda (TM), but a bunch of normal people, living their lives?

I'm waiting for the response letters in 2 weeks. I wonder what the division between "yes, exactly" and "Those Damn Queers!!" will be.

im straight

and I would leave the state over this.

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Petition

"Keep the Faith"

It's pretty bad here already

It's always the question of do you stay and fight or do you leave and feel better about your neighbors.
 
“All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.”
So enjoy the drama.

I won't cut and run

:) :) :) :)

Sorry, I just had to.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

It depends on where you are and where you work

Living in the Triangle and working for Duke, I have access to same-sex spousal equivalent benefits. Many who work in RTP work for companies that provide the same.

Kate unfortunately, works for the state, and there are no anti-discrimination laws in place, nor are there partner benefits. It's ridiculous to think that the state can't even pass a law to keep folks from being fired for being openly gay -- having a framed photo on your desk of your partner is enough for some raging 'phobic boss to can you.

Gay couples have to spend a good amount of money for wills, medical powers of attorney and the rest for meager legal protections, yet in the end it's all meaningless if there's an amendment in place and you have ornery homophobic family members who want to pick a legal fight.

I can't explain how wonderful it felt to be married in Vancouver, where the folks we talked there simply cannot comprehend how we allow the religious fringe to trump basic human rights here in the States. The Canadians are so over this issue.

--
Pam Spaulding
Durham, NC USA

Pam's House Blend
www.pamshouseblend.com

I served as medical power of attorney

for a woman undergoing heart valve surgery whose wife was in no emotional state to act for her. I had to go around to every single doctor and nurse, show my papers. I was treated with respect.

Still, with all this effort and general respect from the medical professionals, the doctors would come and talk directly to her amazingly screwed up mother and father. Act as if the partner and myself did not exist. I had to assert myself every single time.

And watching how nice the parents treated me because I'm straight over her wife and partner of 10 years, married by a Unitarian minister. My God. That was just one week. If I had to live with that all the time, I would just explode.
 
“All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.”
So enjoy the drama.

I worked very hard to get

people elected who stand silent while people I love are f*cked? I know so many people whose children refuse to live in NC because of this.

Someone tell me it's worth staying and fighting. I sure as hell don't know where to find the candidates. I guess it's up to us to make it hard for the candidates to refuse our point of view. That's where we're failing. Somehow some legislators think they have no choice but to go along with this evil crap. Same thing with the death penalty.

 
“All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.”
So enjoy the drama.

Isn't that what the BlueNC community is all about?

Keeping our thumb on our legislators?

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

yeah, good point

 
“All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.”
So enjoy the drama.

I dont think

Our legislators understand the fire they are playing with on this issue.

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Petition

"Keep the Faith"