Sunday, May 13, 2012

Marriage Equality: President Obama & North Carolina

Pride Parade.  Seattle, Washington.  c. 1997.

I think the President does a nice job of explaining his evolving position on marriage equality in the following email:

Friend --

Today, I was asked a direct question and gave a direct answer:
I believe that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.

I hope you'll take a moment to watch the conversation, consider it, and weigh in yourself on behalf of marriage equality:

http://my.barackobama.com/Marriage

I've always believed that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally. I was reluctant to use the term marriage because of the very powerful traditions it evokes. And I thought civil union laws that conferred legal rights upon gay and lesbian couples were a solution.

But over the course of several years I've talked to friends and family about this. I've thought about members of my staff in long-term, committed, same-sex relationships who are raising kids together. Through our efforts to end the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, I've gotten to know some of the gay and lesbian troops who are serving our country with honor and distinction.

What I've come to realize is that for loving, same-sex couples, the denial of marriage equality means that, in their eyes and the eyes of their children, they are still considered less than full citizens.

Even at my own dinner table, when I look at Sasha and Malia, who have friends whose parents are same-sex couples, I know it wouldn't dawn on them that their friends' parents should be treated differently.

So I decided it was time to affirm my personal belief that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.

I respect the beliefs of others, and the right of religious institutions to act in accordance with their own doctrines. But I believe that in the eyes of the law, all Americans should be treated equally. And where states enact same-sex marriage, no federal act should invalidate them.

If you agree, you can stand up with me here.

Thank you,
Barack

Unfortunately, President Obama’s shift on this issue, while important, does little to change actual policy.  In fact, while this counts as one in the win column, in North Carolina, there is not only a set back on marriage equality, but yet another example of poorly written legislation coming out of the far right wing of the GOP. 

It’s one thing to write laws that I disagree with, entirely another issue altogether to put poorly written laws in the books…   One is politics, the other is incompetence.

4 Worst Media Misrepresentations of North Carolina's Anti-Gay Amendment One | Media | AlterNet:

UNC-Chapel Hill law professor Maxine Eichner has spoken extensively to delineate the definite consequences of the Amendment as well as the possible consequences. She says the Amendment definitely bars the state from passing same-sex marriage or civil union legislation, which extends rights to same-sex couples, in the future. Furthermore, it bans the State from passing domestic partnership laws, which extend legal rights to unmarried couples, no matter their sexual orientation. Not only that, but it invalidates “existing partnership benefits by municipalities for all unmarried couples,” no matter their sexual orientation. In other words, as Protect All NC Families, the coalition organization set up to fight Amendment One, explains on its website, the Amendment eliminates “health care, prescription drug coverage and other benefits for public employees and children receiving domestic partner benefits."

Of course, there is always the possibility that this new amendment does exactly what its authors want, limiting the legal rights of people who are immorally shacking up regardless of gender… 

Considering the recent birth control debates, would this really be an unexpected development at this point?








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