Tar Heels

Last week, the North Carolina legislature (both the state House and Senate) passed a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and sending it to a vote of the people once again.  The House vote was 76-41, and the Senate vote was 30-16.  The measures were supported by Republicans and by some Democrats.   North Carolina is the last state in the southeastern US to have no constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage… and is the last state in the entire South.

For some this move might not be shocking.  The thought process being that the state is part of the South, which is largely anti-gay, and it does have a record of being discriminatory.  It was part of the Confederate States of America and it did have Jim Crow laws in effect, too.  However that it might have had Jim Crow laws after Reconstruction ended, North Carolina was one the last states to officially seceded from the Union, which it did on May 20, 1861.  (Virginia and Tennessee had both seceded already, but it was not ratified until May 23 and June 8 respectfully… after North Carolina had done so).  And when North Carolina did vote for secession, it was only passed by a few votes.  When it came to Sherman’s march from Savannah, Georgia up to meet with Grant in Virginia, he told his troops when they crossed into North Carolina that they were to be respectful as the state had been divided almost evenly on the issue of secession… which was in stark contrast to what he told them to do in South Carolina where the war had begun.

North Carolina seems to be trying to buck the southern-style image that the states around it have.  It’s a huge center for banking… which isn’t that surprising since it was the place of the first gold rush in the US.  It’s population in increasing… barely missing adding an addition seat in the US House of Representatives by a few thousand votes in the 2010 census.  Rather than being a solid-red (or solid-Republican) state… it is quickly becoming a leaning-red (leaning-Republican) to a toss-up state (or purple state).  On a personal side note, I think North Carolina is becoming more of a purple state as Missouri becomes more of a red state.

According to a recent poll, 55% of the people in North Carolina would vote against a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.  But that doesn’t mean there is reason to celebrate.  Some seeing that this amendment is coming to a vote in 2012 would think that it was a repeat of 2004 and trying to get conservatives to the polls to carry the state for the Republican nominee for President.  However, the vote on this is not coming in November, but rather in May during the Republican Presidential Primary… therefore, hitting the real core of those that would be for banning same-sex marriage and not letting the majority of the people in the state have a voice on the matter.  North Carolina has closed primaries but has opened them up to unaffiliated voters… and there is a Democratic Primary the same day, so the amendment will appear on all the ballots.  However, being that there is a sitting Democratic President, the turnout among Democrats will probably be fairly light as compared to Republicans.  (The same works vice versa when there is a sitting Republican President.)

The course of events in the fight for same-sex marriage is making a dramatic turn.  The real truth is starting to sink in amongst the general population.  We are being seen more as just normal, everyday citizens like everyone else around us.  Who we love and who we decide to marry only concerns ourselves… the same as theirs only concerns themselves.  Who someone marries has no affect on anyone else’s marriage.  Gay marriage has not, and never will, destroy the sanctity of marriage… at least no more than the institution of divorce already has.  Several states this year have already passed civil unions, too.  Though they aren’t full marriage equality, they are a step in the right direction, and I see those states passing gay marriage within a few years.

As North Carolina begins its battles, the pro-gay marriage advocates have a serious battle on their hands.   Because of the way this whole thing is being done (sounds rather back-handed), I do think the amendment will pass, but I hope the people of North Carolina will surprise me and show the entire nation how “purple” or mid-mainstream it has become over the past few years.  I encourage the people of the state to stand up and make it clear that the tide on gay marriage has turned.  The sky has never fallen because of gay marriage, and it never will.  The state will be the focal point of this battle, as it is the only state concerning itself with this issue at the current time.  I will, of course, be watching and hoping that this amendment will go down in defeat… making it the first ever to do so.  We in the community will be able to see how far our message is starting to sink in, and how far tolerance for those in the gay community have gone.  I have faith in The Tar Heel State, and hope that the right message can get out and a new direction can be forged.

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One Response to Tar Heels

  1. Developer says:

    For some this move might not be shocking.  The thought process being that the state is part of the South, which is largely anti-gay, and it does have a record of being discriminatory.  It was part of the Confederate States of America and it did have Jim Crow laws in effect, too.  However that it might have had Jim Crow laws after Reconstruction ended, North Carolina was one the last states to officially seceded from the Union, which it did on May 20, 1861.  (Virginia and Tennessee had both seceded already, but it was not ratified until May 23 and June 8 respectfully… after North Carolina had done so).  And when North Carolina did vote for secession, it was only passed by a few votes.  When it came to Sherman’s march from Savannah, Georgia up to meet with Grant in Virginia, he told his troops when they crossed into North Carolina that they were to be respectful as the state had been divided almost evenly on the issue of secession… which was in stark contrast to what he told them to do in South Carolina where the war had begun.
    +1

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