Why I am Opposed to NC’s Amendment One

Posted on | May 3, 2012 | 21 Comments

In 1958, a young woman and a young man were married in the District of Columbia.  They married and then returned home to their home state of Virginia, where they were arrested and charged with violating the “Racial Integrity Act” which prohibited a marriage between any white person and any non-white person.  The Loving’s were arrested in their bedroom, where police hoped to find them in the midst of sex so they could be charged with an additional crime as well. Prior to the Loving’s arrest, several other mixed-race couples were subjected to felony convictions under various anti-miscegenation laws throughout the South.

In 1967, the Lovings, who had already been convicted and sentenced to one year in prison or an immediate departure from the state of Virginia, had their case ruled on by the United States Supreme Court. In that unanimous decision, the court stated:

“Marriage is one of the basic civil rights of man, fundamental to our very existence and survival… to deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the … classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive the State’s citizens of liberty without due process of law.  The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious … discrimination.”

The elipses contained in that quote were put in place of the word “racial” because I do not believe that decision was pigeon-holed to be solely important to citizens of different colors.  Instead, the decision by the United States Supreme Court was made based on the Fourteenth Amendment… an Amendment that does not deal with race, but with citizenship.  The Fourteenth Amendment requires that no state deprive any citizen of life, liberty, or property without due process of the law and the United States Supreme Court held that depriving citizens from marriage fell squarely under the Fourteenth Amendment.

Read that quote from the Court again.

Instead of “racial” put in the words “sexual orientation.”

In the 1950s, law makers were terrified of the burgeoning rights of the African American population.  They wanted to keep them tucked away, separate… different.  Law makers, especially in the south (and yes, then the South reached all the way up to Virginia), thought that by passing these laws, they could keep things “pure.” They could do God’s work by making sure that African American’s didn’t “soil” the white race by marrying into it.

Fast forward sixty years and here we are again.  Only rather than the African American population being pigeon-holed into second class citizenship it is the homosexual population.

Answer me this… why do we care?

Why is it so important to limit the rights of another group of people?

Are their rights bothering you?

Are they hurting you physically with their decision to dedicate their lives to another human being? To grow old with someone? To share memories and stories and love?

What is it about marriage… be it interracial or homosexual… that bothers people so very much?

Maybe you can tell me, North Carolina, because I don’t understand it.  The Supreme Court of the United States has declared marriage a “basic civil right.”  Basic, defined as “fundamental,” which means, among other things that the United States Supreme Court believes that marriage is an ESSENTIAL part of being a citizen.  Essential.  Part of what makes a person a citizen of this country.

So who are you, North Carolina law makers, to decide that there are men and women who don’t qualify for your club of citizenship?

Amendment One is not being proposed to ban same-sex marriage… that is already illegal in North Carolina.  Instead, Amendment One is being proposed to add that ban to the state constitution… to have the constitution of the state read that marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union valid or recognized in the state. The only one.

No civil unions.

No domestic partnerships.

No rights for anyone who loves different than you.

The Lovings were forced to leave the state they called home because they loved differently than the state thought they should.  In 2007, Mildred Loving looked out on a political landscape very different from the one facing her and her deceased husband in the 1950s.  She loved her husband for the rest of her life, raising children and enjoying grandchildren even after his death.  And as she surveyed this political landscape she offered one small opinion:

Not a day goes by that I don’t think of Richard and our love, our right to marry, and how much it meant to me to have that freedom to marry the person precious to me, even if others thought he was the “wrong kind of person” for me to marry.  I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry.”  

Not that it should matter, but I am a Christian.  The fact is, I love Jesus with all my heart, but I don’t feel it is my job to legislate my beliefs on anyone else.  Although, with that in mind,  I honestly believe that Jesus would be first on the picket line, telling the government, telling North Carolina to “love.”  Telling them to love their neighbor as themselves.  Telling them to cast the first stone only if they are without sin.  I believe Jesus would reach out his hand to the men and women who are scared of what this means for the children they’ve already adopted, the houses they own, the lives they live… and he would stand with them.

Because it is the right thing to do.

Because no one should be reduced to second-class citizenship.

Not in this country. 

Not anymore.

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  • Violina23

    For all that I’m conservative (fiscally, I feel it is important to add), I simply don’t get vehement objection to gay marriage. I always liked this “explanation”:
    http://www.buzzfeed.com/donnad/how-gay-rights-is-nothing-like-legalizing-beastali

    Maybe it’s a bit naive of me, but I think we’re going in the right direction and it’s partially a generational thing that will get better. Growing up in the 80’s, I couldn’t fathom why someone would treat someone else differently because of their skin color or religion, but homosexuality was still a bit taboo (nobody *talked* about it — frankly, I didn’t think of people that way. I found out several classmates were gay 10+ years later, and I was like “ooooh, well THAT makes sense!”). Hopefully our generation’s kids will grow up not understanding what the big deal is to have two men or two women get married.

    Some people are never going to be convinced. But for everyone else, I think the best thing we can do is treat homosexual relationships as NORMAL! Because isn’t two people having a loving, committed, relationship exactly what we want our children to consider normal & healthy?

    • lawmomma

      YES! Amen. I feel the same way. I will love my son no matter who he grows up to be or love… and I want him to have the opportunity to experience a committed, loving relationship with whoever that person is that he loves. There just shouldn’t be a question about all of this… But then, I just never have gotten into the whole “hate” ideology in any form.

  • http://mom2tomtom.wordpress.com/ Momalegal

    Amen, sister! :) As a NC registered voter, I plan on making my voice heard.

    • lawmomma

      Hooray!!! Vote for equality!

  • Megan Anderson

    From one law momma to another: this is a beautifully written post. Way to take the law and make it human. Equal rights for all.

    • lawmomma

      Thanks so much. I really appreciate that!

  • Alecia

    Absolutely! I’m am in NC and will make my voice heard too on May 8th!

    • lawmomma

      Glad to hear it!!

  • aim

    YES. YES. YES. Lets hope NC can pull this off and vote it DOWN. Great post! And whether you are Christian or not, who cares…..the law isn’t (or shouldn’t be) Christian, Muslim, Jewish, or Pagan, etc…..Right?

    • lawmomma

      Absolutely, Aims. Absolutely. I just was nipping in the bud the argument on this being important to Jesus.

  • Linds

    Amen!!! This is beautifully written and means so much to me as I have close friends who only want to love one another and enjoy the same life my husband and I have. I just don’t understand the objection. How does what anyone does in their own private time affect my marriage? It doesn’t. I want my children to see postive examples of love as they grow and to know that we are ALL worthy and deserving of this love. I hope the California Supreme Court does the right thing and upholds the ruling that Prop 8 (marriage is for heterosexual couples only) is unconstituational.

    • lawmomma

      I know. One of my oldest and dearest friends will be affected by this law. She should be able to bind herself in matrimony to the woman she loves. No one should be able to tell her that she can’t.

  • Pinkflipflops44

    I completely agree.

    • lawmomma

      :) Thanks. Now if only all of North Carolina did.

  • Karah Spahn

    LOVE LOVE LOVE!! And I especially love the part about Jesus being the first in line to support people who love each other. Thank you for posting!

    • lawmomma

      Thank YOU for reading!

  • MaconMom

    amen and shared!

    • lawmomma

      Thanks, friend!

  • http://twitter.com/KirstenPiccini Kirsten Piccini

    loved and shared…your writing is so clear and concise, it was the perfect way to phrase this. AMEN!

  • http://awmylifeasiknowit.blogspot.com/ Ally

    “Because it is the right thing to do.
    Because no one should be reduced to second-class citizenship.
    Not in this country.
    Not anymore.”

    Amen lady, amazing post and so very very true. I agree 100%.

  • Star Crawford

    Thank you. You took the words from my head and the sentiments from my heart and put them together in a beautiful way. I have been feeling this way for weeks and as an NC resident, Christian, and seminary student I will happily vote against this amendment and will do my best to convince everyone I know to do the same.

  • Creative Commons License
    Spilled Milk (and Other Atrocities) by Law Momma is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
    Based on a work at http://www.law-momma.com.



  • I'm a divorced, single mom to a pre-schooler, a full-time attorney, and a semi-reluctant vegetarian. I work hard and when given the chance, I play hard... but I'm almost never given the chance.

    It's possible that I never outgrew 7th grade mentality, as I still laugh when anyone says anything that can be remotely construed as sexual. Let's face it, if you're not down with "That's what s/he said" at the end of almost any sentence, we're probably not going to get along all that well.

    I drink more than I should, I run more than I should, and I laugh as much as I can. So I'm pretty much winning at life.

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