In poker knowing when to hold or fold is a critical skill. In North Carolina the legislature has decided that some people can't be trusted with knowing whom to hold (that would be a reference to the ban on same-sex marriage) or when to fold (that would be a reference to a proposed law that would require a two year waiting period and compulsory counseling for any married couples pursuing a no-fault divorce). Combine that two year waiting period with loosened gun regs and you have yourself a recipe for some interesting situations don't you?
Gay columnist Dan Savage gets a marriage license for himself and a lesbian coworker and in the process he exposes the idiocy of laws against gay marriage:
Like I said, Amy and Sonia and I didn't show up at the county building last Friday because we were planning to sue. We came to make a point about the absurdity of our marriage laws. Amy can't marry Sonia, I can't marry Terry–why? Because the sanctity of marriage must be protected from the queers! But Amy and I can get a marriage license-and into a sham marriage, if we care to, a joke marriage, one that I promise you won't produce children. And we can do this with the state's blessing–why? Because one of us is a man and one of us is a woman. Who cares that one of us is a gay man and one of us is a lesbian? So marriage is to be protected from the homos–unless the homos marry each other.
With the exception of health related concerns, and protecting underage children from being victimized by adults trying to marry them off for whatever reason, I'm stumped as to why the state has a compelling reason to try and control who marries whom.
If you live in North Carolina and aren't living in utter seclusion, you're aware that the "Marriage Amendment" is on the ballot in today's primary. Normally a primary held after the presidential nominees have alreay been determined would draw only the hard core party faithful, but because of the amendment there's been an extraordinary amount of attention paid to this year's primary and it will be interesting to see how that affects the results.
Some questions to ponder:
- In a state where 25% of the voters are independent how many of those unaffiliated voters will be drawn to the primaries because of the amendment?
- Democrats make up 43%, and Republicans 31%, of registered voters. If independents decide to participate more heavily in the Republican primaries will they affect the outcome of some close races for NC Senate/House, city councils, county commissions, etc.?
- With either the Democratic or Republican primaries will the participation of independents skew the votes towards more centrist candidates?
- If the independents participate more heavily in the Republican primary they will likely have a greater impact since there's a smaller pool of Republican voters. Assuming the independents will lean more towards the center will their participation hurt the more conservative candidates? If so, will the conservative Republicans' strategy of putting the Amendment on the primary ballot end up being viewed as a mistake in hindsight, even if it passes?
The 2008 primary was dramatic on the Democratic ticket because the presidential nomination was still up in the air at the time, but this year's primaries are dramatic all the way around due to the amendment. The debate about the direct consequences of the amendment has been well documented, but there hasn't been much exploration of the potential collateral damage the amendment might incur politically, and it will be fascinating to see how it shakes out.
I've been watching with interest the developing marriage amendment story here in North Carolina:
North Carolina voters will decide in the May 2012 primary whether to add an amendment to the state constitution that bans legal recognition of same-sex marriages, after a 30-16 vote Tuesday in the stateSenate in favor of a referendum.
Supporters and opponents of the marriage amendment say they expect to be busy trying to persuade people between now and next spring.
I'm personally against the amendment, and in fact I have some pretty strong feelings about the appropriate role for government in defining relationships at all, so you can safely assume that I'll vote against the amendment. You can also safely assume that a great number of people, including the amendment's supporters, assume that I'm in the minority here in North Carolina and so they feel confident that they'll get the amendment passed. It's also probably a safe assumption you'll hear at least some of the amendment supporters say something to the effect of "Well, most people here are straight and are good Christians and believe that a real marriage is only between a man and a woman. Since we're the majority we should be able to say that marriage is only rightly between a man and a woman. That's our right in our democratic system – majority rules."
That last statement opens up a lot of arguments (equal rights/protections for minority groups, the proper role of religion in public policy, etc.) that would take about 800 pages to dig into and I'll save that for another day. I will, however, tell you that I'm always made uncomfortable by that argument because it uses the same logic that has been used to oppress people in the minority throughout our history. I will also tell you that I'm far more concerned with the state of our economy than with the fact that Harry might marry Barry.
I'd really rather not have our leaders play the marriage fiddle while tens of thousands of our citizens suffer through high unemployment and soaring rates of hunger and poverty in a burning Rome. (See Nero Fiddling While Rome Burns).
On a more fundamental level I'll also tell you that I will vote against the amendment because I don't happen to think that if someone is gay there's something wrong with them. I don't think being gay is something that a person can, or should, be cured of, and I find any law that singles out our gay fellow citizens and treats them as a second class citizen to be a stain on our society. Just wanted to make that clear.