By Melanie Nathan, May 08, 2012
“This divisive initiative is blatantly unconstitutional. Not only does it deprive lesbian and gay North Carolinians of their fundamental freedom to marry, it attempts to strip partners of lesbian and gay city employees in cities such as Durham and Asheville, of their health care benefits under the guise of limiting marriage rights. The United States Supreme Court has made clear that such targeting of lesbian and gay people to harm them violates the basic fairness guarantees of the United States Constitution,” said John Lewis, Marriage Equality USA’s Legal Director.
“It is a horrible feeling to have your life and your family put up for a popular vote. No one is better off by the initiative’s taking away health care benefits from lesbian and gay families. Lesbian and gay couples and their families are real human beings. This exclusionary initiative harms real people,” said Stuart Gaffney, Marriage Equality USA’s Media Director.
Pam Spaulding an LGBT Blogger from North Carolina notes
“What is the key issue here is that a battle about marriage and legal rights for unmarried couples is not what North Carolina needed, and was forced into it by craven lawmakers and bigots who wanted an easy political club — homophobia — as a GOTV tool. It shouldn’t have been on the ballot in the first place, but it was, prematurely leapfrogging an issue that the state was not ready to handle.
As I’ve told my marriage equality advocate friends many times, for those of us in states where we do not even have employment protections — you can be fired for being LGBT here, no questions asked — we won’t see same-sex marriage until the U.S. Supreme Court makes it happen.”
On a positive note Spaulding notes:
“The coalition-building here has afforded North Carolinians for the first time to discuss the rights of LGBT neighbors and friends. It has shown the country that yes, the South has politically active voters of strong faith that are against discrimination for all of the right reasons — it’s not a matter of religion at all, but about the separation of church and state and protecting and extending the rights of minorities, not restricting them.”
Jeremy Kennedy of Protect All NC Families notes:-
“Tonight’s results were disappointing, not just for gay and lesbian North Carolinians, but for the hundreds of thousands of non-traditional families who may face the harmful impact of Amendment One. Our campaign may have fallen short this evening, but your work over the past several months did not. Your efforts and dedications achieved many victories along the way, and demonstrated to North Carolina and to the entire country that discrimination and victimization will not achieve easy victories.”
According to MEUSA, The North Carolina vote stands in stark contrast to the clear trend in favor of marriage equality nationwide. All federal courts that have recently considered the issue have found that discriminating against lesbian and gay people in marriage violates the United States Constitution.
Last year, New York became the largest state in the nation to achieve the freedom to marry for all its citizens.
This year, Washington State and Maryland passed marriage equality laws through their legislatures, and the New Hampshire Legislature by a strong bipartisan vote rejected an attempt to roll back the freedom to marry in that state.
The freedom to marry will likely be up for a vote in four states this fall, and we are very hopeful that love and fairness will prevail in those states,” said Lewis.