What North Carolina Reveals, Ctd

Andrew Sullivan —  May 8 2012 @ 7:39pm

A reader writes:

In reference to the other North Carolina residents who have contacted you over the course of today, I too am appalled and embarrassed for our state.  I felt great pride in living in the only Southern state not to have a gay marriage ban written into our constitution.  However, I see this as a short-term defeat, and I am even more motivated than I was before to help bring about an end to such discriminatory practices.  We are victims only if we allow ourselves to be.  No one can take away our self worth unless we let them. If we allow them to do so, then we allow them not only to win the argument of the day but we allow them to destroy our very sense of humanity.   I am proud of who I am and will continue the fight until we win full equality.


Don’t get so stressed by this.  It’s all part of the marketplace of ideas: some states are going one way, and other states are going other ways.  And we’ll see how people respond to it. My guess is that companies who employ professionals will find it harder to get people to work in North Carolina.  If domestic partnerships are not recognized, that will make it harder to run many benefits plans.   It will also be a more unpleasant place for many people to live.  It might also affect the military bases they have there.  And the universities, in the big complex around Raleigh-Durham.

On another note, I’m still waiting for the same pro-marriage people to criminalize adultery, pornography and divorce.  Somehow, I don’t see that happening any time soon.


I do get a little bit tired of all of the self-flagellation when it comes to these amendments. I agree that our side could do a better job communicating.  I agree that our side should not shy away from the gay/lesbian angle.  I agree that we are far too skittish when it comes to these battles, promoting multiple messages and, often, falling short on the campaign front.

But at some point we also have to look at our opponents and recognize that these ballot initiatives are – and usually always have been – intentionally confusing.  They know that they are losing the fight for public opinion, so they muddy the waters putting legalese on the ballot and then over-simplifying the message.  In this particular case, a "YES" vote is a vote AGAINST gay marriage and civil unions.  Let me repeat that – YES actually means … NO.

A majority of voters don’t understand the amendment.  Why?  It’s intentionally vague, seemingly aimed at gay marriage but broadly constructed to affect civil unions.


I'm amazed you haven't yet mentioned the twisted irony that as North Carolina is going to the polls today to "defend traditional marriage," the state's former Senator and presidential candidate – who did plenty to discredit marriage in his own right – is on trial in a very public manner.


In a confluence of recent Dish topics, a tweet from Neil deGrasse Tyson led me to this video, in which a black minister speaks out against Amendment One, and equates the marriage equality movement with the Civil Rights Movement.

Yet another:

Daniel Kirk, an evangelical theologian at Fuller Theological Seminary, has a great post on Amendment One.  I especially like this quote:

When we hold positions for reasons that are clearly and fundamentally religious positions, we must take extra care not to impose these on our non-Christian neighbors–if, in fact, we would love them with our religious convictions in the same way we would have them love us with theirs. In other words: if you don’t want the convictions of your Muslim neighbor to be forced on your through the laws of the state, you should not force your Christian convictions on your neighbor through that mechanism.

Lastly, a bit of dark humor:

I'm a North Carolina resident, and I'm under 30.  Almost all of the people I call friends down here are opposed to the amendment, yet I also fear it will pass.  When I think about the amendment amongst this group versus the state, I think to the Proposition 24 rally scene on the Simpsons [seen above] … ultimately passing in a landslide despite Homer's speech and the rally making it seem otherwise.