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North Carolina’s Amendment 1: Leading North Carolina conservative speaks in opposition

Marriage equality

By Scottie ThomastonGoal Thermometer

John Hood, president and chairman of the John Locke Foundation, a leading conservative think tank in North Carolina, has written an article in opposition to Amendment 1. He joins several other prominent conservatives in opposing the odious and unnecessary amendment. Russell and Sally Robinson have suggested that “the amendment is very bad, and [they] devoutly hope this state will reject that amendment when they vote on May 8th.” The North Carolina Libertarian Party formally declared its opposition, saying the amendment will have “far-reaching, unintended consequences” and the party’s candidate for governor Michael Munger says the amendment “explicitly takes right away” and that it’s “inappropriate.” Cathy Bessant, a Bank of America executive, weighed in against it as well.

Discussing the ostensible reasons behind pushing for the amendment’s passage, Hood lays out the case against what he sees as the actual threats to marriage, from a conservative standpoint:

I think amending North Carolina’s constitution to forbid gay and lesbian couples from receiving any future legal recognition, including civil unions, is unwise and unfair. In my opinion the real threat to marriage is not the prospect of gay people getting hitched. It is the reality of straight people too quickly resorting to divorce, or never getting hitched in the first place.

It’s good to see prominent conservatives recognizing the unfairness of the continuous stream of laws and amendments aimed at the LGBT populations of various regions, and particularly the states where we are the most vulnerable. As a southerner myself, it’s been my experience that we’re often the hardest hit and we have a shorter list of viable options for approaches to fight back and certainly less help. More and more it seems people are waking up to this and becoming less willing to stand by and watch as it happens to us. Here in the South it seems the influx of new anti-LGBT bills is never-ending and the sheer amount of laws that are already on the books in southern states makes fighting back a daunting task.

Living in south Alabama, I’ve consistently seen southern states get ignored or left out of discussions pertaining to LGBT activism. Whether it’s marriage or other odious legislation in southern states, there rarely seems to be a strong effort made to show solidarity here. Seemingly, the focus is always on places like New York or other areas where a win seems imminent. Meanwhile southern LGBT people are fighting all these uphill battles and often we lose, and even more often there are serious repercussions that stem from the type of rhetoric we hear in campaigns to promote these amendments and laws.

And the South, and North Carolina particularly, is a great place to start hitting back on this, as Jacob Combs says:

More importantly, though, North Carolina differs both demographically and in its political philosophy from the rest of the South. Democrats controlled at least one chamber of the state legislature for over a century until 2010, blocking constitutional marriage bans when they arose. Desegregation in North Carolina took place without the violence endured by other Southern states; Barack Obama won the state’s 15 electoral votes in 2008.

In other words: out of all the Southern states, North Carolina seems the most natural choice to reflect the growing support for marriage equality across the U.S. by bucking the tradition set by its neighbors and defeating a marriage ban. A win for our side in North Carolina would show that the momentum for marriage equality truly is building, and that the coalition of voters from all walks of life that support the right to marry can make a difference and defeat an odious measure like Amendment One. This victory may seem largely symbolic, but it is in fact extremely practical as well. The last time a marriage amendment was considered in a Southern state was in 2008. Amendment One has re-opened the marriage conversation in the South, and now that it is 2012 and much has changed in the last four years, the opportunity is ripe to reach out to citizens and change minds and hearts.

It is important to have this fight right now, and it’s just as important for everyone to show up and to keep pointing out the negative effects initiatives like this have on regions where LGBT people are not as likely to have support. It’s unconscionable to abandon people here and leave us to fend off anti-LGBT bigotry all by ourselves.

Winning hearts and minds is possible, even in the South. We just have to show up.

Courage Campaign and Prop 8 Trial Tracker are joining a money bomb this week to support the Coalition to Protect NC Families in the fight to defeat Amendment 1.


  • 1. Sagesse  |  March 26, 2012 at 1:39 pm


  • 2. Ann_S  |  March 26, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    Sagesse, I think I have figured out how to subscribe without commenting. It's the drop-down menu to the right just above where the comments begin.

    Now I have special powers, too!

  • 3. Scottie Thomaston  |  March 26, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    I'm glad to know why those symbols show up, though. That was weird.

  • 4. Mets102  |  March 26, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    I would note that those speaking out reflect the divide in the conservative movement between the Falwell/Robertson conservatives and the Goldwater conservatives. The Goldwater conservatives are all about governing getting out of people's lives, with Barry Goldwater, when the issue of gays and lesbians openly serving in the military first came up, famously saying that you don't have to be straight to shoot straight.

  • 5. Scottie Thomaston  |  March 26, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    It really seems to be interesting. The coalition fighting Amendment 1 consists of everyone from womens' rights groups to disability rights groups to the NAACP to libertarians and Goldwater-style conservatives.

    IIRC there have even been a few preachers/religious people in opposition, so I wouldn't say it's solely divided along those lines, but certainly it shows the big difference between those conservatives who want government out of people's lives and those who want the government to invade people's bedrooms.

  • 6. Scottie Thomaston  |  March 26, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    I've been reading the site since it started but only really ventured into the comments during the live blogging. :(

    I'm glad to spend more time in here now though!

  • 7. Mets102  |  March 26, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    Well, people forget there is a religious left that believes in the separation between religion and state and believe that we should use our religion to love and spread understanding rather than to hate and sow the seeds of division.

  • 8. Glen  |  March 26, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    How do they do that while still clinging to a book that is chock-full of hate and bigotry?

    Good decent people need to BE good decent people without having to pretend some imaginary friend is responsible.

    It's great that the religious left is MUCH more willing to ignore vast portions of their holy book, but their continued reverence for it (for the few nuggets of good in it) gives the far-right religious nuts A LOT of cover.

  • 9. Str8Grandmother  |  March 26, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    I got some docs from the Federal Court today on NOM vs Maine, some have been under seal. I posted the links as a comment on Good As You

  • 10. Balu  |  March 26, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    Hi Folks, I am a legal immigrant in USA on a work visa. Can I donate to fight propositions like Amendment One?


  • 11. Adam Bink  |  March 26, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    Hi Balu, thanks for asking. Donations can only be legally made by citizens or permanent residents (green cards). However, someone can donate in your name!

  • 12. RainbowWarrior  |  March 26, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    As a lifelong resident of Tennessee and a current college student in central Arkansas, I can speak to the general feeling that in the South there is just no point in devoting time, attention, effort, money or any other important resources to LGBT causes, because the odds of even moderate successes are just astronomical. It's psychologically so much easier to focus our attention on those states where we can contribute to, witness, and feel a part of victories than to look at our own situations and feel that degree of hopelessness. But the truth is, the only way to make change is to change hearts, and the only way to do that is to own our locations – force the regions where people tend to think gays wouldn't dare set foot to acknowledge that people in their communities, their neighbors, their doctors, their teachers and friends are LGBT, or have LGBT people who are dear to them. It is only when we stop treating the most hopeless of places as a lost cause that we will make real strides, so that people don't have to feel like they must move far away from home to have safety, security, and a family. This is a step in the right direction, albeit a baby step, and it's important not to overlook the significance of conservatives in a state like NC stepping up like they did.

  • 13. Reformed  |  March 26, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    Driving home this evening, I had a thought, maybe not valid, but here it is.

    NOM "think"/say says two adults (of the marriage equality type) who wish to marry are . . . saying . . "children don't need a mother or father". Well, leaps of logic aside, supposing I wanted to actually say "children don't need a mother or a father" I could say that, free speech and all. Then promoting marriage equality, or becoming a party to it, even if for the sole purpose of "making a statement that children don't need a mother or a father" would be protected under the free speech ammendment to the constitution if "says"anything.

  • 14. Reformed  |  March 26, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    (children are not procreated into existence by a statement after all). I make this point (valid or not) to show that arguing for restricting marriage from adults, that cannot procreate, based on what is supposedly "says" about children not needing a mother or a father violates the adult's free speech. The argument then would need to move to whether ot not gay couples should be able to adopt children (children who by definition, are already not connected to a monthr or a father, and would presumably be better of with one of each, one or the other, or even two of one) Getting the focus off of marriage and what it supposed "says" would get the focus more squarely where it "belongs" if it truely
    "all" or even "at all" "about the children". One layer of nonsense would be stipped away so that the issue of gay couples adopting cold be decided on the merits. NOMers biggest weapon is the nuanced layer upon layer of of whitewashing coupled with co-opting for a common cause the more rabid looking and sounding anti gays types. (no doubt the 2% of the 52% that help to pass prop 8).

  • 15. grod  |  March 26, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    The two Catholic bishops in NC each put out a video in support of the amendment. I wondered what percent of wedding per year their churches conducted relative to all the weddings being authorized in the State. I found it was 2% when it was Catholics marrying Catholics, and 3% when you take interfaith marriages that these two dioceses perform. When I looked at Maine statistics for 2011, Catholic/Catholic weddings comprised 4% and near 6% when interfaith marriages performed by priests of the diocese were taken into account. Given these statistics, I find it extraordinary that these bishops believe that they ought to be a defining voice in the debate on civil marriage equality. Just two percent!. Lead one to see the merit of separation of church and state.

  • 16. Straght4Equality  |  March 26, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    Many thanks, Str8Grandmother, for all your efforts over there, with key excerpts, etc. Great job!

  • 17. Reformed  |  March 26, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    The very fact that the catholic church is relevant at all ouside the perimeter of their tax exempt structure is beyond me considering the absolute corruption and violence of this organization through the various inquisitions (pasting together some text from wikipedia related to) starting in the 12th century, with the introduction of torture in the persecution of heresy, not per se for the correction and good of the person being tortured, but for the public good so that others may become terrified and weaned away from the evils they would commit. (think the rack, cutting out of tongues, the pear of anguish). The legitimacy of the pope is heavily dependent on continuity from Peter to the present right through the popes during those centuries of horror. Interestingly enough, the "traditional" "definition" of marriage must have passed through there too. Is it any surprise that marriage remained "traditional". What same sex couple would dare to apply for a marriage license at the local clerks office under those conditions? I immagine they were content with the right to live as they choose without trying to redefine marriage for the rest of society.

  • 18. Reformed  |  March 26, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    I think its time to revive the inquisition in the minds of the american public. Its a matter of historical fact. Not even denied by the Catholic church. But many Catholics are probably not aware of it, being that there are so many "nominal" catholics. (no offense to anyone out there, of course – to quote the Carrie Prejean)

  • 19. celdd  |  March 26, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    I got some from the link posted by Sagesse. They are all strategy documents by NOM on how to win the "war on marriage". I look forward to more discussion.

  • 20. grod  |  March 27, 2012 at 5:59 am

    Thank you for drawing my attention to these documents [and for your effort]
    For those interested in Brian Brown being 'deposed', in June 2010, here is the link. Pg 174 to 177 gives insight into NOM financing of Prop 8. Pg 191 to 225 is about NOM significant role in Stand-for-Marriage Maine, not only as an key player but as a funder – i.e from Oct 1, 9, 14, and the 27, NOM transferred to Stand $1.2 million.
    Later focus was on candidates for election.

  • 21. MJFargo  |  March 27, 2012 at 7:06 am

    If this has been posted, sorry. (But it's worth posting again IMHO :) )

    The Obama Administration is asking the DOJ to encouage the courts to speed up review of DOMA cases as well as apply heightened scrutiny.

  • 22. Rich  |  March 27, 2012 at 8:00 am

    But what really interests me is that there is now a direct link between Bob Emrich (the Maine pastor who wrote a letter to an MP in Uganda celebrating that country's push to give life in prison or death to gays), Mark Mutty, (the Catholic Church's spokesperson during the first marriage vote-he subsequently admitted that they lied), the current spokesperson for the Maine Diocese (name escapes me) and NOM. The good citizens of Maine will need to know of this and I intend to get the word out. As an aside, now that we know of this close connection, I'm not surprised that the Maine Diocese is backing off this next campaign. People in Maine never realized just how cosy the Church had become with perpetrators of hate, deceit and lies.

  • 23. grod  |  March 27, 2012 at 8:05 am

    Rich Very well said. Stand for Marriage was a shell for these three players.

  • 24. Str8Grandmother  |  March 27, 2012 at 9:49 am

    grod you are welcome :)
    The link you provided is to my Scribd Account where I uploaded the docs, ha-ha. It's a small world. Anyway I am merely a small ant in this army. As someone mentioned on Good As You we really should ALL be thanking Fred Karger who on his own dime started this lawsuit. We would have never gotten to these docs if it were not for Fred Karger.

    Story idea for Jacob or Scottie, connect with Fred Karger and phone interview him. He deserves the biggest props of ALL!

  • 25. Balu  |  March 27, 2012 at 10:20 am

    Thanks Adam. I will encourage all my friends who are citizens here to donate.

  • 26. Prop 8 Trial Tracker &raq&hellip  |  April 10, 2012 at 11:01 am

    […] have been reporting on the growing opposition to Amendment 1 in North Carolina over the past few months. With polling on the issue seemingly all over the map […]

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