North Carolina, What What What Are You Doing

The first time someone mentioned that Amendment One had passed, I thought they were joking.  I had HOPED that they were joking.  Because Amendment One is one of the cruelest jokes the anti-gay marriage front has managed to push through.

Let me just make something clear: It is not a law.  It cannot be overturned by passing a new law or just repealing the current law.  It is an amendment to that state’s constitution.  Which means Amendment One is not going anywhere any time soon.

This may seem really, really obvious, but the truth is, I am not sure people realize just how serious the passage of this amendment is.  North Carolina may be the 30th state to have adopted anti-gay marriage policies, but they are the first to codify them so firmly that we are unlikely to be able to undo what has been done.  When California passed Prop 8, it was fought in court and eventually overturned.  You can’t do that with a constitutional amendment because an amendment cannot be unconstitutional.  This is probably why the US national constitution has only had ONE amendment repealed in all its history, and it was prohibition.

But let’s just talk about the other implications of this legislation.  It defines marriage as between one man and one woman.  This potentially poses a problem for transgendered individuals depending on their legally recognized sex.  But what’s worse is that proponents of Amendment One have couched their arguments in terms of family, such that the passage of Amendment One is a testament to the way that Americans (or at least Americans living in North Carolina) view family-~-based on a traditional, nuclear model with a man and a woman in the leading roles.  This completely IGNORES the idea that not all families look the same, and that we should respect OTHER forms of families.

America has a very strange concept of what it means to value “family”.  As someone who has a non-traditional family situation herself, I find it baffling that we are so unwilling to accept that single parents, same-sex parents, extended families, grandparent-headed families, etc, are just as valid as the traditional nuclear family.

But back to North Carolina and Amendment One itself.  Amendment One doesn’t JUST prevent the state from recognizing marriage between same-sex couples.  It ALSO prevents recognition of non-married couples regardless of the gender makeup, which potentially has negative implications for HETEROSEXUAL couples as well.

All of these are pretty problematic implications, all stemming from this one amendment.  But the truly horrifying thing is that it IS the 30th state to adopt such policies.  We live in an America that refuses to realize that Americans are Americans are Americans.

Oh, and to the head of Vote FOR Marriage NC: we used to think that G-d’s “natural order of things” also involved a racial hierarchy, which we now see was just us being racists.  It is possible that we just don’t know what G-d, if there is a G-d, wanted.  Maybe we should leave Him/Her out of our politics.

For more on Amendment One and the vote in North Carolina, you can visit the Huffington Post’s coverage here.


~ by Randi Saunders on May 9, 2012.

4 Responses to “North Carolina, What What What Are You Doing”

  1. God should have no business in politics whatsoever. I’m dreading the day when USA becomes an open theocracy. Even though – correct me if I’m wrong – that should be unconstitutional.

    • Actually—and I may be incorrect here—I don’t think it explicitly says in the constitution that we have a separation of church and state. I believe we derive this from Thomas Jefferson’s writings, which the courts have historically taken as a reflection of the authors of the constitution’s intent; we therefore usually interpret things along the lines of “we have a separation of church and state” without the constitution actually binding us to that principle. But again, I’m not actually positive, I would want to double-check this.

  2. I’m sorry, but I cannot and will not get behind the whole latitudinarian “anything will do” view of families. I believe in the traditional man/woman nuclear family, and that no-one should EVER intentionally deprive a child of either a mother or a father. Single parenting should be reserved for non-ideal situations: rape/incest pregnancies where it is best that the mother, particularly if a teen girl, gets some support from their family; couple who intended to stay together and were married before starting sex then suffering irreconciliable differences or where tragedy (illness, death, etc.) strikes one parent. I applaud the single parents doing a great job after life has dealt them a wretched hand of cards. Two oranges doesn’t “make up for” an orange and an apple; I am not gay-bashing as I would no more support two heterosexual single friends looking after a child together. I support the extended family as have conservatives throughout time- grandparenting is in some cases appropriate.

    I am aware that some people use the “go ahead” mainstream-professional-body views of psychs, sociologists, docs etc. to justify this corruption of the family but I have three problems with this liberal line. Firstly, I do not believe there is enough data yet. These types of alternative parenting have existed for a few decades in a statistical minority of the world’s cultures, compared to thousands of years in all cultures for mother/father. Secondly, it is not just the tangible negative externalities of same-sex vs. opposite-sex parenting which I am concerned with, the things measured by those studies denying the differences: it’s the whole experience of having a mom or a dad, which I believe is conducive to a richer and deeper understanding of life in this gendered world by adulthood and a better overall balance.Thirdly, I have strong reason to believe that professional bodies simply mirror law and mainstream societal attitudes, not the truth or the evidence, selecting data accordingly.

    Just see the volte-face pulled by professional bodies on the ethics of abortion in the 1960s and 70s; American professional bodies’ language when discussing alcohol use by 18-19 year old teens compared to public health advice from the analogous bodies in Europe where late teen drinking is legal; even the nonsensical attempts [defeated, thankfully] to make pedophilia into pedo-HEBEphilic disorder and thus try to tell people they are mentally disordered for sleeping with 14 and 15 year olds. Teenagers are fertile and have sexual desire, and it is natural for an experienced older adult (man or woman) to want sex with them and for the young teen to reciprocate. Just because it is seen as wrong by law and most of society doesn’t make it abnormal. and never will do.

    I respect men who choose to have sex with 14 year olds and go to prison more than men who raise children in a man/man “family” and nothing that the society-obeying, law-bound professional bodies of “science” can ever say will change my mind.

    • Look, the short version of what I’m about to say is “if you don’t like gay marriage, don’t get gay married”. And the next thing I’m about to say is that YOU yourself concede that “just because it is seen as wrong by..most of society doesn’t make it abnormal”. Yes. That’s exactly right. That’s what those of us who support equality for same-sex couples believe too.

      Look, without really getting into the issue of pedophilia or statuatory rape (which is ACTUALLY what you are talking about when you talk about consenting teenagers who have sex with older individuals), and focusing on the issue of same-sex marriage since that is what this post is about, the reality is that family is a socially constructed institution and its role and construction can and have changed over time. It’s great that you support the traditional nuclear family-~-by all means, please, get married, have some kids and a dog and a white picket fence, and go live the dream. That’s totally fine.

      But just because you believe something doesn’t mean that everyone has to. And there may not be a HUGE body of evidence supporting what I’m about to say, but this is largely because it’s a relatively new issue that is being explored. The reality is that the studies we do have indicate that children raised by same-sex parents do not turn out disadvantaged in comparison to those who have heterosexual parents. And why should they? Gender should not be the most important defining factor in our identities.

      The truth is that every individual’s situation is different, and to have the government come in and define who can access these legal rights and who can’t is problematic. It’s not that someone is “depriving” a child of having both a mother and a father-~-we as a society are depriving people of the right to have a family simply because they don’t want to have the same kind of family we think they should. That’s wrong.

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