Shame On You North Carolina
Equal rights for the LGBT community took a major hit yesterday. In North Carolina, same sex marriage, as well as legal benefits for same sex partners, was banned with the passage of Amendment One. The amendment, which declares that marriage is only to be recognized as a union between one man and one woman, was pushed through by some major players of the religious right, including NOM, which contributed nearly $500,000 to get the amendment passed. In spite of several please from many state wide christian leaders from the African American community, the amendment passed by a wide margin.
I have to say that not only am I surprised that such a prejudicial law was passed; I also feel shame. Even though 30 other states have such laws, it seemed as if the country was making huge strides toward LGBT equality. In fact, in the most recent polls taken, 47% of Americans asked are in favor of same sex marriage, which is the highest rate of approval so far. Many christian ministers have spoken out for LGBT equality, and recently many high ranking members of the Obama administration, including Joe Biden, have outright stated that they are in favor of same sex marriage as well. What the hell happened in North Carolina?
NOM, the National Organization for Marriage is what happened. This group of right wing, homophobic religious zealots has been sticking their bible thumping noses into both national and state legislatures for years. As I mentioned earlier, NOM swooped into the state, and poured nearly half a million dollars into making biblical law a secular law. They put political pressure on state legislators to create the amendment, then they proceeded to blitzkreig the public with an immense campaign of homophobic misinformation that was sure to make the most expert of propagandists proud. Hell, they even trotted out the 93 year old minister Billy Graham, who took out a full page ad in several North Carolina newspapers, in order to put his hateful rhetoric back into the public eye. Because of NOM, equal rights in the LGBT community never stood a chance in the Tar Heel state. Religious zealotry won over basic human rights, and that disgust’s me.
So what does this mean? For starters, the Obama administration needs to put forward a clearly defined policy concerning LGBT rights. Although it has made perhaps the biggest advancements toward equal rights in this arena, their policy toward same sex marriage is still vague. Sure, DADT is gone, and the Department of Justice has been instructed not to defend DOMA in court; there is no doubt that the administration is sympathetic to the cause. However, a major blow could be struck if DOMA were to be eliminated, it can be done. Several circuit courts have declared it unconstitutional; it needs to be challenged in the Supreme Court. If it can be stricken, then maybe legislation could possible be introduced to protect same sex marriage on a national level, state statutes be damned. It’s a hard, long fight, but it can be done, and Obama must lead the way. Otherwise, prejudiced hate groups like NOM just may continue to get their way.
The LGBT movement may have taken a big hit yesterday, but it was by no means a death blow. Grass roots support grows bigger by the day, and the voice for equality just grows louder. Not even NOM with their bibles and money can stop it. Love is universal, and knows not of sex or gender. You would think even the hardest core christian would recognize and accept that: Isn’t love what your god is all about?
Apparently not in North Carolina: For now.
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- Gay marriages banned in southern U.S. state (vancouversun.com)