This year, North Carolina’s voters get an opportunity they don’t often have. They have the opportunity to stand with our Founding Fathers on the basic principle of what the United States is all about: Equality. Amendment One, or the North Carolina Same-Sex Marriage Amendment, is on the ballot. The amendment defines “domestic legal union” as “marriage between one man and one woman”. In other words, a loving same-sex couple cannot be legally married in North Carolina if this amendment passes. I have every intention of voting against this amendment for the simple fact that it doesn’t make sense to sully our state constitution with an amendment based on limiting other people’s rights.
I didn’t know any of them personally, but I do not believe the men who signed the Declaration of Independence were homophobes. I believe when they said “all men are created equal”, they truly meant all human beings. I like to believe they were idealists who craved a utopia. I don’t think they wanted a nation where any law-abiding citizen’s rights were limited by our laws.
I struggled for a while about what to say about Amendment One, not because I didn’t know what I believe but because I didn’t know how to present it. Yesterday, a friend of mine posted a very passionate, well-written article about Amendment One on his Facebook page. His name is Jeff. With his permission, I am copying that plea to my blog in the hopes that it will reach more people.
I’ve hesitated to post this, but I must – it’s cathartic. I may be hidden from your newsfeed or I may be ‘unfriended’. I’m OK with that.
For two days I’ve watched a controversy on Facebook in my own neighborhood. An offer from a young man to provide ‘Vote Against Amendment One’ signs to anyone who wanted one went the route I suspected it would. That using our neighborhood’s Facebook page to promote a political agenda was not appropriate.
Aside from offering signs myself, I refrained from the debate. It’s too personal. Which is why the those who believe it’s a political or religious issue are wrong. And you have never been more wrong about anything. While Amendment One poses to limit rights in a number of areas I’ll speak to the one that I am an expert on – my own.
I was angry and frustrated to see the dispute in my own immediate environment, but the feeling that I felt the most was hurt. That discussion amongst neighbors was not about signs, political beliefs, or religious beliefs; it was about me. Part of Amendment One is about me. It suggests that I am inferior. It suggests that my feelings towards another human being are inferior. I’m reminded of this every single day. Every. Single. Day. It terrifies me that one person’s beliefs about themselves and how they live their lives has the ability to cast a vote against how I live my life. I have never had that ability, that power, in any vote that I’ve participated and I would never want to.
But it terrifies me even more to think that the unquestionable right you have to be by your spouse’s bedside in a time of need is a right that could be taken away from me or my partner. Many of you go to sleep at night with the comfort that this is something you will never have to face. I go to sleep every night terrified that the government actually has the ability to take that away from me. And they’ve asked you to cast your vote on this. Think about that power.
This isn’t about Democrats vs. Republicans, Right vs. Left, or Conservatives vs. Liberals. This is about people being respected for the human beings that they are. For living your beliefs the way you want to and allowing others to live their lives the way they are entitled.
Educate yourself. Consider others. And remember me when you cast your vote. My name is Jeff. I’m your friend, I’m your neighbor, I’m your colleague. And I have a face. There are so many faces behind Amendment One. The faces of those affected by it. If you are for Amendment One, please ask yourself how it affects you. Ask yourself how it affects your beliefs – no one is taking away your views, your beliefs; but Amendment One takes away the very thing that makes us compassionate beings.
Because Amendment One affects me negatively – I’ve been forced to cast a vote AGAINST it. Please don’t make that effort be in vain. I’m happy to be part of this world, and I’d like nothing more than to be accepted in it. Please stop and think, and take the power you’ve been given seriously. No one is asking you to cast a vote against Amendment One, but I beg you to simply not vote at all if you are for it.