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Equality news round-up

Marriage equality

By Scottie Thomaston

– First is of course the big news of the day: the new PPP poll showing support for the anti-gay Amendment 1 in North Carolina has shifted six points in a few weeks, toward our side. Democrats are more strongly opposed, and opposition among black voters is increasing.

– President Obama is in North Carolina today, but is not expected to comment on Amendment 1. With all the harms to women and families the amendment would cause, it would seem like a good idea to speak out, but alas.

– Chris Johnson at The Washington Blade had a story about the real harms Amendment 1 in NC would cause.

– From a press release, we learn that one of the primary sponsors of Amendment 1 admits it discriminates against the gay community:

PRIMARY SPONSOR ADMITS AMENDMENT ONE “DISCRIMINATES AGAINST THE GAY COMMUNITY”

Raleigh, N.C. – In an interview with WRAL’s David Crabtree for the documentary “The Amendment,” Amendment One primary sponsor Rep. James Crawford (D – Granville/Vance) admitted the he believes the constitutional amendment on the May 8, North Carolina primary ballot, “discriminates against the gay community.” When Crabtree asked if Crawford was “OK” with that fact, the Eastern North Carolina Democratic legislator responded simply, “No.”

Crawford’s statement speaking to not only the harms of Amendment One, but also his reservations about it, represents the first such sentiments from any sponsor of the amendment. The statement is also in sharp contrast to prior claims by Amendment One supporters that the broad constitutional rewrite that could threaten protections for all of the state’s unmarried couples, does not discriminate against families.

Most notably, Crawford’s comments directly conflict with other amendment proponents in the documentary like Sen. Buck Newton (R- Nash/Wilson) who claimed the amendment is “not at all” discriminatory.

In response to Crawford’s comments, Alex Miller, campaign co-chair for Protect All NC Families, the coalition effort to defeat Amendment One, points out that Crawford’s comments reflect a significant shift in sentiment and support for the amendment.

“Rep. Crawford is seen by many as the leader of the group of conservative Democrats who broke with their party and supported the proposal that put this amendment before the voters. In my opinion the amendment would not have passed without his support,” said Miller. “This is quite simply the most stunning reversal we have seen to date, and further evidence that support for this amendment is crumbling even among those who once endorsed it.”

The half-hour documentary, which premiered on April 23, and featured both sides of the social, economic and political sides of the Amendment One debate, included families that would impacted by Amendment One, legislative opponents, as well as business leaders speaking out about the harms of Amendment One.

One of those business leaders, Bob Page, the CEO of Replacements, Ltd., was also one of more than 75 CEOs across the state who signed a letter to legislative leaders opposing Amendment One. He told Crabtree if Amendment One passed, “some would not see this as being a great environment for hiring employees.”

Most striking was Crabtree’s admission that he, even with the help of Amendment One proponents, was unable to find a single CEO who would speak in favor of the amendment.

“We tried to find a CEO who supports Amendment One to interview. We worked with the two lead organizations campaigning for it, the North Carolina Family Policy Council and the North Carolina Values Coalition,” said Crabtree. “They could not find a pro-amendment CEO willing to be interviewed for this documentary.”

“North Carolina’s business leaders are unwilling to support Amendment One for one simple reason: it’s bad for business growth, employee recruitment and the economy as a whole.” said Jeremy Kennedy, campaign manager for Protect All NC Families. “As Mr. Crabtree points out in his documentary, legislators pledged to help average North Carolinians by focusing on jobs and the economy. What they got in return was divisive social legislation that hurts the state’s most vulnerable citizens. Fortunately, even now voters are heading to the polls early to repudiate legislation that we can now all agree hurts North Carolinians.”

– Newt Gingrich is a huge fan of Amendment 1:

In his video message posted on Monday evening, Gingrich argued that marriage is under attack, and voters need to pass Amendment 1:

Marriage between a man and a woman is at the heart of our civilization. It’s a belief that is now under attack, yet it’s at the very core of defining who we are. That’s why I urge you to vote for the initiative right here in North Carolina. The chance to vote for a referendum to declare clearly that marriage is between a man and a woman.

This is part of the same great process this year that’s involved with President Obama, and that’s involved with the whole danger of what’s happening to our basic beliefs. There’s an effort by radicals at every level to change who we are, to change what America is and to change for our children into a future that I think will be much worse.

This is your chance to turn out and vote and vote for preserving America, and to vote for preserving a very basic institution.

6 Comments

  • 1. Lynn E  |  April 24, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    The documentary "The Amendment" can be viewed on the WRAL website, if anyone is interested.

  • 2. DaveP  |  April 24, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    I just watched it, thanks. I found it interesting that the people in the documentary who were speaking in favor of Amendment One were often basing their arguments on things that were just plain factually incorrect.
    Example – 'marriage comes from religion'. No, it has always been a civil matter and civil marriage existed long before any religion got involved and started solemnizing these marriages.
    Example – 'marriage has ALWAYS been one man and one woman'. No, same sex civil marriage has existed for years in many countries including right here in the USA. And marriage was 'one man several women' in many places for most of recorded history.
    Example – 'traditional marriages are in danger and are being threatened by gay marraige'. No, the facts in all of the places that have had civil marriage equality for years now show that same sex marriage has no effect at all on other marriages.

    It's rather telling that the documentary did not provide any arguments to counter these false statements from the yes on One people..

  • 3. Str8Grandmother  |  April 24, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    I would like to watch the video, would you be able to provide the link?

  • 4. DaveP  |  April 24, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    I can't insert a link in the comment, but go to dubbya dubbya dubbya WRAL dottcom. You'll see a row of ten or eleven blue boxes near the top of the page. Just below these, at the left you'll see "Hot Links >> Documentary: The Amendment". Click on that and you'll see an article with the video in the article.

  • 5. Jon  |  April 24, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    Newt defending marriage is like Al Capone defending safe workplaces.

    Newt was dating his second and third wives while married to his first and second. Fact.

    What a defender of marriage we have in Newt.

    I guess wedge politics is about all he has left.

  • 6. RWG  |  April 25, 2012 at 7:02 am

    If North Carolina passes this abortion of a law, corporations large and small will begin to flee the state. The state will suffer economically as businesses relocate to where they can attract the best employees, and the state will have no one to blame but themselves for the losses.

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