On Final Thoughts on North Carolina’s Amendment One
Some final thoughts on North Carolina and Amendment One. (Previous comments here and here.)
I know that many of the people who voted in favor of Amendment One did so on religious grounds. They feel that homosexuality is incompatible with their religious beliefs because it is condemned in the text of the Bible.
But I would ask them.
Of everything that the Bible says, of everything that Christianity teaches, why that?
What part of “Love thy neighbor as thyself” (Mark 12:31) did you not understand?
What part of “Now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity” (1 Corinthians 13:13) was unclear?
What part of “God is love” (1 John 4:8) did you miss?
The greatest theological virtue in Christianity is love. But there is no love in Amendment One. It’s not loving to empower the state to treat some of citizens as something different and something less. It’s not loving to tell your neighbors that the love their have for their partners counts for less than the love you have for your husband or wife.
I cannot conceive of how someone’s definition of love can be so twisted that it could justify a vote for Amendment One in their hearts. Love is so important and so special. Love is sharing yourself. Love is being part of the community. Love is knowing that everyone is special and treating them as special. Love is supporting those who falter and celebrating those who succeed. Love is valuing someone else more than yourself. Love is what makes us human.
There is no humanity in Amendment One.
I’m not blind to the irony of an atheist citing the greatest of the Christian virtues in relation to Amendment One. Yet, as a moral code, I cannot conceive of one better than “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” I may not be a Christian, but Christian ethics still have some resonance with me.
I’m reminded of something Ganhdi said, “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” Or, more recently, John Scalzi’s “Leviticans” essay, which makes the same point but at much greater length.
What troubles me is that those who voted for Amendment One and told themselves that they were doing so for Christian reasons cannot see how un-Christian their actions are. I know they believe that, when they are judged at the Pearly Gates for the actions of their lives, that the vote for Amendment One will stand as point in their favor.
But I think, and I’ve discussed this before, that we only get one shot at life, that we need to lead life as if there’s no tomorrow, that we need to be kind to each other, that we need to love one another, and that we need to leave this world in a better place than we found it. No deity will judge me at the End of Days, but history will.
History will judge those who stood against Amendment One well. History will call them loving and kind.
But history won’t judge those who voted for Amendment One with any kindness.
Today fills me with sadness.
On My Instant Reaction to Amendment One
This morning I wrote about Amendment One, a Constitutional amendment in North Carolina that was up for a vote on election day that would outlaw same-sex marriage and any heterosexual arrangement that wasn’t marriage. I implored people to vote against its passage, and I won’t recap what I said there; just read it for yourself if interested.
To my disappointment and disgust, North Carolina decided today overwhelmingly to enshrine homophobia and misogyny into their state’s fundamental charter by passing Amendment One. At this writing, it looks like by a twenty-point margin. I thought it would be closer than that, maybe 53-47 in favor.
I honestly wasn’t optimistic for the chances of defeat. North Carolina is trending liberal with enclaves like the Triangle, Asheville, and Charlotte, but even when North Carolina turns blue it will be the South’s Pennsyltucky. For now, though, it’s still a deeply conservative state, and there are counties where Amendment One passed by margins of over eighty percent.
MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell wanted some instant reaction on Facebook. Here’s what I wrote in the comment thread:
A friend of mine who lives in North Carolina (where I lived until six years ago) posted a jubilant message on his Facebook wall about the passage of Amendment One. And he complained about amendment foes spreading “hate” on WRAL’s website in reaction to the loss. Here’s what I wrote in response to Michael:
Allow them their anger, Michael. The people who worked against Amendment One are disappointed that people would enshrine bigotry against their fellow Carolinians in the state’s Constitution. Everyone wants to think the best of their fellow human beings, and that’s difficult to do when the majority of the state’s citizens decided to declare to all the world that some of their neighbors, their friends, and their family members are second-class citizens at best. I’m not going to lie, I’m disappointed in you and anyone who voted for Amendment One. But I’m not angry at you and I don’t hate you. Just disappointed. I’m sorry to say that, but it’s honest.
I’m disappointed that the amendment passed with a 20-point margin. I wouldn’t have expected that, but when I saw that Wake County, a fairly liberal place, was close, I knew the amendment was going to pass. It took a century for North Carolina’s interracial marriage amendment to be overturned. Hopefully, it won’t take even half that long for this atrocity to be overturned.
To my friends who voted for this, I am not angry with you nor do I hate you, but I am disappointed in the lack of compassion you have chosen to show your neighbors, your friends, and even your family by your decision to declare some of them to be second-class citizens. Given a choice, you made the willful decision to put a selfish cruelty above caritas, and that, I am sorry to say, I cannot forgive you.
That’s my feeling.
Time to pound the keyboard. I have a couple of pages of copy to write. I just needed to share that.
On North Carolina’s Amendment One
Many states are going to the polls today. Dick Lugar’s career is likely to end today in Indiana as the crazy wing of the Republican Party turns him out in a primary. And North Carolina votes on Amendment One.
Yesterday, I was invited to an after-election party in Raleigh by one of the anti-Amendment One forces. Amendment One seeks to enshrine a same-sex marriage ban in the state’s constitution, even though North Carolina already has a law on the books that outlaws same-sex marriage. There’s nothing insufficient about the law for the purpose, the state Republican Party wanted a ballot measure that would draw conservative voters to the polls. They wanted it on the November ballot to swing the state back to the Republicans in the presidential election, but due to dealmaking with the Democrats it ended up on the primary ballot. Unfortunately, what they came up with went far beyond a same-sex marriage ban. Amendment One eliminates any defined relationship that isn’t a married heterosexual couple, which will affect North Carolina’s unmarried families. Amendment One will play havoc with the state’s laws and disrupt families.
Here’s what I wrote on Facebook this morning as an exhortation to my North Carolina friends on Election Day:
Election Day has arrived in several states. I trust that all my North Carolina friends have voted or will vote against Amendment One. It is unnecessary; you already have a law on the books banning same-sex marriage. But Amendment One goes further than that; it also eliminates civil unions and domestic partnerships for unmarried couples, whether gay or straight, and will gut the state’s domestic violence laws. There is no compelling reason to enshrine the homophobic and misogynistic Amendment One in your state’s foundational document. Take a stand for humanity and compassion over intolerance. Vote against Amendment One today, North Carolina.
Amendment One is more than just bad law. It’s cynical politics. It doesn’t exist for any good reason except to enflame the passions. It needs to be voted down, and I hope, for the sake of all my North Carolina friends who will be affected by it, that Amendment One is consigned to the scrap heap of history.
On Helping Sponsor an SPCA Walk
In about six weeks, my friends Natalie and Beau are doing a 3K walk with their dog Kaylee to help raise money for the SPCA of Wake County, North Carolina. The Wake SPCA is a No-Kill organization, and that takes money and resources that they have to receive from private individuals since they receive no government funding.
Team Kaylee are hoping to raise $250.00 toward keeping the Wake SPCA going. I was glad to make a donation, not because Natalie and Beau are my friends (and I think of Natalie as my littlest sister) or because I’ve been slobbered all over by Kaylee, but because supporting the SPCA is a good cause and they do good work.
If you can chip in a few dollars to Team Kaylee so they can help the Wake SPCA find homes for other animals, please do.