A Look Back to the 2012 North Carolina Marriage Protection Amendment
Vote FOR Marriage NC


Vote FOR Marriage NC was a bi-partisan, broad coalition of leaders, including leaders of various faiths as well as people outside the religious community, who supported the North Carolina Marriage Protection Amendment and asked the Legislature to place it on the ballot.
The content is from the site's 2012 archived pages as well as other outside sources.


CIRCA 2012

The Marriage Protection Amendment will allow ALL voters in North Carolina to exercise their voice in preserving and protecting marriage in our state. Every state to consider a marriage amendment has adopted it (30 in all), and North Carolina is ready to be next. Please vote for the amendment on May 8, 2012 so we may join 30 other states in protecting marriage in our constitution, where an activist judge or future legislature cannot overturn it.

 

en.wikipedia.org/
North Carolina Amendment 1 (often referred to as simply Amendment 1) was a legislatively referred constitutional amendment in North Carolina that (until overruled in federal court) amended the North Carolina Constitution to prohibit the state from recognizing or performing same-sex marriages or civil unions. The amendment did not prohibit domestic partnership agreements, but defined male–female marriage as "the only domestic legal union" considered valid or recognized in the state. On May 8, 2012, North Carolina voters approved the amendment, 61% to 39%, with a voter turnout of 35%.

State law had already defined marriage as being between a man and a woman prior to its passage.

The amendment was found unconstitutional in federal court on October 10, 2014.

 

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The Threat To Marriage

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The threat to our state’s definition of marriage is real. In fact, North Carolina is the only remaining southern state that has not protected the definition of marriage in its constitution. As we have seen happen in other states, the first of what will be many lawsuits was filed in North Carolina challenging our marriage laws in December of 2011.  Each of these lawsuits demands that the definition of marriage for everyone be permanently changed to suit the needs of just one same-sex couple. The lawsuit filed in Guilford County, is just another example of why the Marriage Protection Amendment is needed and should be passed by North Carolina voters in May.  If activist judges or politicians were to succeed in redefining marriage in North Carolina in the future, there would be profound consequences for religious organizations, individuals, medical professionals, and small businesses—and for society itself.

Contrary to what some people think, same-sex ‘marriage’ would not exist in the law alongside traditional marriage; as if it were a different expression of the same marriage institution they have always known. Marriage will be redefined for everyone. Our historic understanding of marriage as the union of one man and one woman would be replaced by a new paradigm for  marriage as the union of two adults, regardless of gender.

This new, redefined version of marriage as a genderless institution would be the only legally recognized definition of marriage in North Carolina. Such a radical change in the definition of marriage will produce a host of societal conflicts that government, exercising its broad enforcement powers, will have to resolve. Citizens, small businesses and religious organizations whose own beliefs, traditions, morals or ethnic upbringing are at odds with the new definition of marriage will find themselves subjected to legal consequences if they  do not act according to the new legal orthodoxy.

Legal experts on both sides of the marriage debate agree that the issue has profound impacts on society. Scholars from some of the nation’s most respected law schools have written that the issue implicates a host of issues, ranging from religious liberty, to individual expression of faith, to education and the professions.

For example, these legal scholars predict “a sea of change in American law,” and foretell an “immense” volume of litigation against individuals, small businesses and religious organizations.

Those who do not agree with this new definition of marriage as a genderless institution existing for the benefit of adults will be treated under the law just like racists and bigots, and will be punished for their beliefs. This is already occurring:

  • Religious groups who have refused to make their facilities available for same-sex couples have lost their state tax exemption.
  • Religious groups like Catholic Charities in Boston and Washington DC have had to choose between fulfilling their social mission based on their religious beliefs, or acquiescing to this new definition of marriage. They have, for example, been forced to close their charitable adoption agencies.
  • Nonprofit groups are faced with abandoning their historic mission principles in order to maintain governmental contracts (for things like low-income housing, health clinics, etc.)
  • Whenever schools educate children about marriage, which happens throughout the curriculum, they will have no choice but to teach this new genderless institution. In Massachusetts, kids as young as second grade were taught about gay marriage in class. The courts ruled that parents had no right to prior notice, or to opt their children out of such instruction.
  • Wedding professionals have been fined for refusing to participate in a same-sex ceremony. Christian innkeepers in Vermont and Illinois are being sued over their refusal to make their facilities available for same-sex weddings despite offers to refer the couples to other providers and in spite of the deeply-held religious views of the inn-keepers.
  • Doctors, lawyers, accountants and other licensed professionals risk their state licensure if they act on their belief that a same-sex couple cannot really be married. A counselor, for example, could not refuse “marriage therapy” to a same-sex couple because she doesn’t believe in gay marriage. She’d put her licensure at risk.
  • Those people – a strong majority of North Carolinians – who believe marriage is between one man and one woman, would be the legal equivalent of bigots for acting on their heartfelt beliefs. Refusal to accommodate and recognize same-sex “marriages” would be the equivalent of racial discrimination. Not only will the law penalize traditional marriage supporters, but the power of government will work in concert to promote this belief throughout the culture.

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Perhaps most importantly, shifting the focus of our marriage laws away from the interests of children and society as a whole, and onto the desires of the adults involved in a same-sex relationship will result in the most profound long-term consequences. Such a paradigm shift says to children that mothers and fathers don’t matter (especially fathers) – any two “parents” will do. It proclaims the false notion that a man can be a mother and a woman can be a father – that men and women are exactly the same in rearing children. And it undermines the marriage culture by making marriage a meaningless political gesture, rather than a child-affirming social construct.

When marriage ceases to have its historic meaning and understanding, over time fewer and fewer people will marry. We will have an inevitable increase in children born out of wedlock, an increase in fatherlessness, a resulting increase in female and child poverty, and a higher incidence of all the documented social ills associated with children being raised in a home without their married biological parents.

Ultimately, we as a society all suffer when we fail to nourish a true, thriving marriage culture founded on the truth experienced by virtually every civilization in every nation since the dawn of time – marriage is the union of one man and one woman.


WHY MARRIAGE MATTERS

In recent years, the definition of marriage in our country has become a passionate topic of debate at both the state and federal levels.   Although on its surface, the debate may seem straight forward, the issues and subsequent consequences surrounding the definition of marriage are much more complex than many of us may think.

This May, North Carolina voters will have the opportunity to forever preserve the definition of marriage in our state by voting YES on the Marriage Protection Amendment.

What is the Marriage Protection Amendment and what is at stake for North Carolinians with the amendment vote this May?

While many people would like to believe that proposals to allow same-sex marriage are simply about allowing a different form of marriage to coexist alongside traditional man/woman marriage, they are wrong.   The impact that same-sex marriage will have on society is much deeper and far-reaching then a modest change in the word’s definition.

What is at stake in this debate are two competing definitions of marriage. One definition – advocated by same-sex “marriage” activists – would define marriage as the union of any two people regardless of gender, with the law treating the parties’ genders as irrelevant to the meaning of marriage. The other definition, contained in the proposed constitutional amendment and reflective of North Carolina’s current law and the collective understanding of virtually every nation throughout recorded history, is that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.

Under the law, one definition of marriage would not exist alongside the other. Only one of the competing definitions of marriage would legally exist. As noted in a scholarly review published in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, “…once the judiciary or legislature adopts ‘the union of any two persons’ as the legal definition of civil marriage, that conception becomes the sole definitional basis for the only law-sanctioned marriage that any couple can enter, whether same-sex or man-woman. Therefore, legally sanctioned genderless marriage, rather than peacefully coexisting with the contemporary man-woman marriage institution, actually displaces and replaces it.”

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Why has virtually every society throughout history defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman?  The answer can be summarized in one word: children.

Protecting the interests of children is the primary reason that government regulates and licenses marriage in the first instance. After all, government does not license or regulate any other form of intimate relationship – not friendship or dating. People are free, under the law, to live as they choose, and engage in sexually intimate relationships with whomever they choose – all without any governmental recognition or regulation.

But marriage is a special relationship reserved exclusively for heterosexual unions, because only the intimate relationship between men and women has the ability to produce children as a result of that sexual union.

Marriage serves a vital and universal societal purpose – to channel biological drive and sexual passion that might otherwise become socially destructive into enduring family units that have the best opportunity to ensure the care and education of any children produced by that biological drive and sexual passion.  Indeed, the United States Supreme Court has said that marriage is, “fundamental to the very existence and survival of the [human] race.”  The noted British philosopher Bertrand Russell (hardly a conservative – Russell was a liberal anti-war activist and socialist) said, “But for children, there would be no need of any institution concerned with sex…It is of children alone that sexual relations become of importance of society, and worthy to be taken cognizance of by a legal institution.”

By encouraging men and women to marry, society helps ensure that children will be known by and cared for by their biological parents. Whenever a child is born, her mother will almost always be nearby. But the same cannot always be said of her father. Men, especially, are encouraged to take responsibility for their children through the institution of marriage.  Marriage is society’s mechanism of increasing the likelihood that children will be born and raised by the two people responsible for bringing them into the world – their mother and father.

While death and divorce too often prevent it, the overwhelming body of social science evidence establishes that children do best when raised by their married mother and father. Simply stated, children need both a mother and a father. No matter one’s view of homosexual “marriage,” it is undeniable that every child born into a same-sex relationship is intentionally denied the love and affection of one of her biological parents.

David Blankenhorn, president of the Institute for American Values and a self-described liberal Democrat, said of marriage, “[M]arriage is a gift that society bestows on its next generation. Marriage (and only marriage) unites the three core dimensions of parenthood – biological, social and legal – into one pro-child form: the married couple. Marriage says to a child: The man and woman whose sexual union made you will also be there to love and raise you. Marriage says to society as a whole: For every child born, there is a recognized mother and father, accountable to the child and to each other.”

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Fundamentally, same-sex marriage advocates propose to shift the marriage paradigm away from what definition of marriage is best for society – especially for children – and squarely onto the desires of the individual adults who seek to marry. Under a definition of marriage that is genderless, the interests of children – and therefore society’s intrinsic interest in marriage – is eliminated entirely. Only the wishes of the two adults in question matter.

When a court or a legislature adopts a genderless definition of marriage, legal experts warn (and actual experience from other states and countries confirms) that there will be profound consequences for society. Those people who refuse to accept this redefinition of marriage will be punished by the law. Churches and religious organizations can lose their tax exemptions and be forced to abandon their core moral principles or face punishment. Individuals, small businesses and groups will be subjected to lawsuits and regulatory action if they refuse to condone the “new” understanding of marriage. Perhaps most profoundly, children at a very young age will be taught in school that marriage is between any two adults, no matter what they have been taught at home, in church or in their ethnic traditions. Under the law, those who believe otherwise will be treated as the legal and moral equivalent of bigots.

What is at stake with the outcome of the vote on the Marriage Protection Amendment this May?

First, of course, is which of the two irreconcilable and conflicting definitions of marriage will be the only form of marriage legally recognized in North Carolina:

  • The amendment preserves North Carolina’s historic and traditional definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman – the same definition adopted by voters in every state to consider the question (30 of 30 states have voted to amend their state constitutions to define marriage in this way), adopted by a bi-partisan majority in Congress and signed into law by President Clinton, and adopted by virtually every society in every nation to ever live, from the ancients to current times.

Additionally, passage of the marriage amendment ensures that the people of North Carolina themselves, and not activist judges or politicians, decide how our state will define marriage in the future.

  • Without a marriage amendment in our constitution, activist judges can substitute their values for those of the people of North Carolina. This is exactly what happened in Iowa, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and California. Similarly, legislators can redefine marriage without the permission of the people, as was done in New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire. The marriage amendment ensures that if activists want to redefine marriage in the future, they must receive the approval of voters to do so.

Marriage as the union of one man and one woman is in the public good. It serves the interests of men and women, of children, and of society itself. The marriage amendment on the May 2012 ballot gives voters the opportunity to preserve this special and timeless institution.


 

RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF THE NC MARRIAGE PROTECTION AMENDMENT

Respectfully submitted by Cindy Hamilton (Precinct Chairman 11-02) to the Wake County Republican Convention March 22, 2012

WHEREAS, marriage as the union of one man and one woman has served as the foundation of our society since before North Carolina was a state;

WHEREAS, marriage, is not merely a private contract, but a social institution of great public value and concern, benefitting the married couple, their children, our economy, and the State as a whole;

WHEREAS, attempts by politicians and a lawsuit to redefine marriage are currently underway in NC which might result in the re-definition of marriage to make it genderless;

WHEREAS, the NC Marriage Protection Amendment simply allows voters to protect our state’s current definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman by putting it into the Constitution;

WHEREAS, North Carolina is the only state in the South that has not protected marriage in its constitution, even though every state that has allowed the people to vote, 30 in all, has protected marriage in their state constitutions as the union of one man and one woman;

WHEREAS, The Marriage Protection Amendment reads, “Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State. This section does not prohibit a private party from entering into contracts with another private party; nor does this section prohibit courts from adjudicating the rights of private parties pursuant to such contracts”;

WHEREAS, the Wake County GOP encourages the people of Wake County and North Carolina to voice their opinion by exercising their right to vote to protect marriage on May 8 th, 2012;

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Wake County GOP endorses the Marriage Protection Amendment to the North Carolina Constitution which states that the only domestic legal union that is valid or recognized in North Carolina is marriage between one man and one woman; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Wake County GOP encourages voter participation on this important issue to be voted upon on May 8, 2012.

Dated this 22nd day of March, 2012.

WAKE COUNTY REPUBLICAN PARTY BY:__________________________________
Susan Bryant, Chairwoman


 

Frequently Asked Questions
About the North Carolina Marriage Protection Amendment

What is the Marriage Protection Amendment?

The North Carolina Marriage Protection Amendment would put our State’s historic definition of marriage into the Constitution where it will be protected from being altered or overturned by legislators or activist judges, as has occurred in other states. The measure provides, “Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State. This section does not prohibit a private party from entering into contracts with another private party; nor does this section prohibit courts from adjudicating the rights of private parties pursuant to such contracts."

When do voters consider the Marriage Protection Amendment?

The measure will appear on the North Carolina primary election ballot, presently set for May 8, 2012.

Why is it necessary to enact the amendment now?

North Carolina is the only remaining southern state that has not protected marriage in its constitution, and as threats to marriage are increasing, the Amendment is necessary to prevent activist judges or future legislatures from redefining marriage in North Carolina. As recently as October 2011, same-sex couples demanded marriage licenses in Asheville, setting up a potential legal challenge to North Carolina’s laws defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. In December 2011, such a lawsuit was filed challenging our state’s marriage laws on state constitutional grounds. Among other things, the lawsuit charges that our marriage laws are unconstitutional because they do not allow same-sex couples to marry. By securing marriage as the union of one man and one woman in our state constitution, challenges such as this lawsuit will not be possible. Additionally, without the amendment, any same-sex couples “married” elsewhere could move to North Carolina and sue to have their “marriage” recognized by the State of North Carolina. These types of lawsuits have already been filed across the country in Texas, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Wyoming, New Mexico, Nebraska, Missouri, Indiana, and Rhode Island. Each of these lawsuits demands that the definition of marriage for everyone be permanently changed to suit the needs of just one same-sex couple.

Does this amendment change the definition of marriage in North Carolina?

No. The amendment takes our current definition of marriage as between one man and one woman and embodies it in our state Constitution, where activist judges and legislators cannot meddle with or overturn it.

Why is marriage worth preserving?

The institution of marriage predates government and has served as the foundation of family and society for thousands of years. Marriage is a deep social good, as it brings together the two halves of humanity—men and women—and provides the ideal environment for raising children. Marriage benefits men and women, their children, our economy, and the state as a whole. It is not merely a private contract, but a social institution of great public importance.

What is the “Common Good” of Marriage?

Marriage serves a vital and universal societal purpose – to channel biological drive and sexual passion into enduring family units that have the best opportunity to ensure the care and

education of any children produced by that biological drive and sexual passion. Indeed, the United States Supreme Court has said that marriage is, “fundamental to the very existence and survival of the [human] race.” By encouraging men and women to marry, society helps promote the ideal—that children will be known by and cared for by the man and woman responsible for bringing them into the world. The overwhelming body of social science evidence establishes that children do best when raised by their married mother and father in a low conflict marriage. While there are many different kinds of families, we all agree that, as a state, we should promote and encourage the best possible environment for our children, whether at home, school, or elsewhere. No matter one’s view of same-sex “marriage,” it is undeniable that every child born into a same-sex relationship is intentionally denied the love and affection of one of their biological parents.

Why does the state need to be involved in marriage anyway?

The answer can be summarized in one word: children. Protecting the interests of children is the primary reason that government regulates and licenses marriage in the first instance. Marriage between a man and a woman protects and promotes the well-being of children by allowing the children produced from the sexual union of the two adults to benefit from being raised by both her father and mother. While death, divorce, and other circumstances sometimes prevent it, children do best when raised by a loving mother and father within the bounds of a low-conflict marriage. Marriage is a special relationship in our society reserved exclusively for heterosexual unions because only the intimate relationship between men and women has the ability to produce children as a result of that sexual union.

Does the amendment prohibit State and local government from providing for civil unions or domestic partnerships?

The amendment is clear that marriage shall be the only domestic legal union valid or recognized in North Carolina. Civil unions and domestic partnerships created in some states are just marriage substitutes, and the Amendment will not allow legal recognition for any substitutes for marriage between a man and a woman.

 Does the amendment take away private contractual rights for unmarried couples?

No. The second sentence of the Amendment is clear: “This section does not prohibit a private party from entering into contracts with another private party; nor does this section prohibit courts from adjudicating the rights of private parties pursuant to such contracts.”

For instance, a private company could agree to provide legally enforceable health benefits to same-sex couples, and the couple could enforce this agreement in court.

Does the amendment prohibit local governments or the UNC System from providing benefits to unmarried partners?

No. The amendment would not prohibit the granting of benefits to an individual government employee and another person designated by him. The amendment does not prevent governments or universities within North Carolina from extending benefits to the same-sex partner of a student or employee.

Does it interfere with benefits that private employers provide to gay couples?

No. Nothing in the amendment interferes with any benefits that private employers provide to their employees and others.

Will the amendment damage North Carolina’s economy?

North Carolina is consistently ranked one of the best places to do business. The amendment will not change that, because it will not change North Carolina’s current definition of marriage or business climate. If anything, the amendment will help our economy. States with a marriage protection amendment in their state constitution are some of our country’s top performing economic states. Six of the “top ten performing states” for “creating jobs, economic development and prosperity in challenging times,” as identified in a study published by the National Chamber Foundation, also have state marriage amendments in their constitutions. Finally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in March that of the six states with the lowest unemployment rate, four of them had state marriage amendments. (Six of the ten states with the lowest unemployment rates had a state marriage amendment.)

Does the amendment target same-sex couples or treat them unfairly?

The amendment isn’t against anyone, but pro-marriage and pro-North Carolina. The amendment doesn’t change our marriage laws, but preserves our historic understanding of marriage by securing that definition in our constitution. Gays and lesbians have the right to live as they choose, and this amendment doesn’t change that, but they do not have the right to redefine marriage for the rest of society.

Shouldn’t marriage be broad enough to accommodate the growing number of same-sex couples who are raising children?

Gay activists are propounding the misperception that gay couples are raising children just like opposite sex couples do. The truth is that very few same-sex couples are raising children. According to the Williams Institute, a gay think tank at UCLA, only 22% of same-sex couples are raising children. (Most of those couples involve children from a prior heterosexual relationship.) Because the number of same-sex couples is so small, and because so few of them are raising children, only 0.12 percent of US households constitute same-sex couples raising children. Why should the definition of marriage be redefined for the 99.88% of households in order to accommodate the desires of the 0.12%?

Does the amendment enshrine discrimination into our State Constitution?

discriminates against nobody. The amendment does not interfere with how people choose to live, or prohibit the extension of benefits to unmarried couples. The amendment simply secures our state’s enduring definition of marriage in our state constitution.

h3>Shouldn’t we leave it to the legislature to make our laws?

The constitution is the people’s document and belongs to citizens, not the legislature. The only way that the North Carolina Constitution is ever amended is through the collective will of the people at the ballot box, and the legislature voted to give the people the opportunity to decide this issue at the ballot box. This vote gives every North Carolina voter a chance to have a say on how our constitution should read. Don’t miss this opportunity to make your personal mark on the future of our state.

 

Myths & Facts:
The North Carolina Marriage Protection Amendment

Myth: The amendment isn’t necessary.

Fact: Unless North Carolina passes the Marriage Protection Amendment, our present marriage laws are vulnerable to politicians and activist judges overturning them and imposing same-sex marriage here. This is what occurred in New York, New Hampshire, California, Massachusetts, Iowa, District of Columbia, Vermont and Connecticut. Already, lawsuits have been filed in North Carolina to invalidate our marriage laws! We need the Amendment to ensure that lawsuits like this are not successful

Myth: The amendment is just more big government telling people how to live their private lives.

Fact: The amendment will prevent government from re-defining marriage for us without our input or our vote. Marriage has a definition that predates government, and the amendment will insure that government, either through an activist judge or legislative action, cannot redefine marriage. Once the amendment passes, only another vote of the people of North Carolina can change the definition of marriage.

Myth: Marriage is simply about loving couples making a public commitment of their love.

Fact: Marriage certainly provides an opportunity for a couple in love to declare their commitment to each other, but the government doesn’t regulate marriage to provide a forum for public commitment simply because two people love each other. Marriage is unique because it is the social institution we recognize to channel the biological drive of men and women with its inherent capacity to produce children into the ideal family units. Marriage provides the best opportunity of ensuring that any children produced by that sexual union are known by and cared for by their biological parents, and that benefits us all. It is because of children that government regulates and licenses marriage.

Myth: The amendment prohibits same sex couples from entering into private contractual agreements.

Fact: No. The Marriage Protection Amendment is very clear: “This section does not prohibit a private party from entering into contracts with another private party; nor does this section prohibit courts from adjudicating the rights of private parties pursuant to such contracts." Thus, the Amendment allows same-sex couples and others to enter into, and enforce, private legal agreements. For instance, a private company could agree to provide health benefits to any couple it chooses, and the couple could enforce this agreement in court.

Myth: The measure strips important public benefits for same-sex partners of city and county employees.

Fact: Government benefits that are currently received by unmarried couples can continue to exist, even with the passage of the Amendment. Universities and other local governments, under the Amendment, can grant benefits to an individual government employee that he or she could share with another person of his or her choice

Myth: The measure contains vague language that could have profound unforeseen consequences.

Fact: The amendment is two sentences and easy to read and understand. It means, simply, that marriage will continue to be only between one man and one woman and that private parties can enter into enforceable contracts with other private parties.

Myth: The amendment could invalidate domestic violence laws as they are currently applied to unmarried couples.

Fact: This Myth is an example of the length to which opponents of the amendment are going to attempt to trick voters into opposing the amendment. No state with a similar amendment has ever ruled that it has any impact on domestic violence laws. In Ohio, their Supreme Court made clear that their marriage protection amendment would not impact the application of the state domestic violence laws. The same is true in North Carolina.

Myth: The amendment could interfere with existing child custody and visitation rights that seek to protect the best interests of children. Fact: The amendment has nothing to do

Fact: The amendment has nothing to do with child custody laws or arrangements. M

Myth: The amendment could result in courts invalidating trusts, wills, and end-of-life directives– which are not “private contracts” – in which an unmarried partner is a beneficiary and/or is entrusted with the care of a loved one.

Fact: The amendment has nothing to do with trusts, wills and end-of-life directives. The amendment puts our existing definition of marriage into the constitution where it will be safe from future legislative or judicial tampering. It will not interfere with private agreements governing the end-of-life decisions made by same-sex partners.

Myth: The amendment should be called the “anti gay amendment.”

Fact: The amendment is pro-marriage, it is not anti-anyone and doesn’t even use the words “gay” or “homosexual.” Our current marriage laws limit marriage to only one man and one woman. The amendment does not change that.

Myth: The amendment signals to gay people that they are second-class citizens.

Fact: Thousands of gays and lesbians have chosen to make North Carolina their home, where marriage has always been defined as the union of one man and one woman. All citizens of our state – gay and straight – are respected and welcomed, but that doesn’t mean that marriage should be redefined

Myth: The amendment is bad for business

Fact: Marriage is not only good for families and children, but also good for business. Research shows that states with a marriage protection amendment in their state constitution are the nation’s top performing economic states. This includes eight of the top ten “best states for business” (according to a survey of 556 CEOs) and eight of the top ten states for job growth (according to Moody’s Analytics, Nov. 23, 2011).

Myth: Polls show that the amendment is trailing badly and will fail.

Fact: Every legitimate poll of likely or actual North Carolina voters has shown the marriage amendment has extensive support in the Tar Heel state. This includes polls by PPP, the Civitas Institute, and Public Opinion Strategies. The only survey claiming that the amendment is trailing is an outdated Elon University Survey, but this poll admits that it “does not restrict respondents by voter eligibility or likelihood of voting.” Every state in the nation to consider a marriage amendment has approved it, including states like California, Wisconsin, and Maine. In fact, among southern states, the average vote in favor of a marriage amendment is 74%!

 

Supporters

We support the North Carolina Marriage Protection Amendment that preserves North Carolina’s historic and traditional definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman and will be voting FOR marriage on May 8th!

Legal Professionals & Law Enforcement

  • Locke Bell- District Attorney, Gaston County, Dis. #27A
  • Phil Berger, Jr.- District Attorney, Rockingham County, & Vice President of the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys
  • Senator Phil Berger- Senate Leader, Dis. #26
  • Wallace Bradsher- District Attorney, Caswell and Person Counties, Dis. #09A
  • Raven Byrne- Family Law Attorney in Wake County
  • Garry Frank- District Attorney, Davidson and Davie Counties, Dis. #22B
  • Jay Gaither- District Attorney, Burke, Caldwell, and Catawba Counties, Dis. #25
  • Jeff Hunt- District Attorney, Henderson, Polk, and Transylvania Counties, Dis. #29B
  • Terry Johnson- Sheriff, Alamance County
  • Tom Keith- Former District Attorney, Forsyth County, Dis. #21
  • John Snyder- Former District Attorney, Union County, Dis. #20B
  • Jerry Wilson- District Attorney, Avery, Madison, Mitchell, Watauga, and Yancey Counties, Dis. #24
  • Carey Winders- Sheriff, Wayne County
  • Judge Paul Wright- Former District and Superior Court Judge

 

Republicans: Wired for homophobia

New research sheds light on why conservatives are so eager to embrace anti-gay pseudoscience

CHRIS MOONEY | www.salon.com/
MAY 5, 2012 5:00PM (UTC)
This article originally appeared on AlterNet.

On May 8, North Carolinians will vote on a constitutional amendment that defines a marriage between a man and a woman as the “only domestic legal union” the state will recognize -- thereby barring LGBT marriage equality. The amendment would also ban civil unions and end domestic partner benefits like prescription drug and health care coverage for the partners and children of public employees. At its deepest level, this issue is about fairness for everyone under the law. But less mentioned is that it is also about science, and about what’s factually true.


AlterNetMany voters who go to the polls to support Amendment One will do so believing outright falsehoods about same-sex marriages and civil unions. In particular, they hold the belief that such partnerships are damaging to the health and well-being of the children raised in them. That is, after all, one of the chief justifications for the amendment.

According to the pro-Amendment One group Vote for Marriage NC, for instance, “the overwhelming body of social science evidence establishes that children do best when raised by their married mother and father.” If marriage is defined as anything other than the union between man and woman, the group adds, we will see “a higher incidence of all the documented social ills associated with children being raised in a home without their married biological parents.”

“Overwhelming body of social science evidence”? “Documented social ills”? Is this really true? Are same-sex marriages and civil unions bad for kids?

Well, no. Indeed, as I report in my new book "The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science -- and Reality," the claim that the kids won’t be all right in same sex marriages or partnerships now rates up there with a number of other hoary old falsehoods about homosexuality: the assertion that people can “choose” whether to be gay; the notion that homosexuality is a type of disorder; and the wrong idea that it can be cured through “reparative” therapy. All of these claims are explicitly disavowed by the American Psychological Association (APA).

In a moment, I want to explore the underlying psychology behind how conservatives, especially religious ones, can believe such falsehoods. But first, let’s dismantle, on a substantive level, the idea that research shows that kids fare worse when raised by two parents who are of the same gender.

According to the APA, the relevant science shows nothing of the kind. “Beliefs that lesbian and gay adults are not fit parents … have no empirical foundation,” concludes a recent publication from the organization. To the contrary, the association states, the “development, adjustment, and well-being of children with lesbian and gay parents do not differ markedly from that of children with heterosexual parents.”

So how can Christian conservatives possibly claim otherwise?

Well, one favored approach is literally citing the wrong studies. There is, after all, a vast amount of research on kids in heterosexual two-parent families, and mostly these kids do quite well — certainly better than kids in single-parent families (for obvious reasons). Christian conservatives cite these studies to argue that heterosexual families are best for kids, but there’s just one glaring problem. In the studies of heterosexual two-parent families where children fare well, the comparison group is families with one mother or one father — not two mothers or two fathers. So to leap from these studies to conclusions about same-sex parenting, explains University of Virginia social scientist Charlotte Patterson, is “what we call in the trade bad sampling techniques.”

But wait: Don’t Christian conservatives want to be factually right and to believe what’s true about the world? And shouldn’t a proper reading of this research actually come as a relief to them and help to assuage their concerns about dangerous social consequences of same-sex marriage or civil unions? If only it were that simple. We all want to be right and to believe that our views are based on the best available information. But in this case, Christian conservatives utterly fail to get past their emotions, which powerfully bias their reasoning. Indeed, science doesn’t just demonstrate that the kids are all right in same-sex unions. It also shows how and why some people reason poorly in highly politicized cases like this one -- and, in the case of the anti-gay views of Christian conservatives, rely on their gut emotions to come up with wrong beliefs.

Here’s how it works.

There are a small number of Christian right researchers and intellectuals who have tried to make a scientific case against same-sex marriages and unions by citing alleged harms to children. This stuff isn’t mainstream or scientifically accepted -- witness the APA’s statements on the matter. But from the perspective of the Christian right, that doesn’t really matter. When people are looking for evidence to support their deeply held views, the science suggests that people engage in “motivated reasoning.” Their deep emotional convictions guide the retrieval of self-supporting information that they then use to argue with, and to prop themselves up. It isn’t about truth, it’s about feeling that you’re right -- righteous, even.

And where, in turn, do these emotions come from? Well, there’s the crux. A growing body of research shows that liberals and conservatives, on average, have different moral intuitions, impulses that bias us in different directions before we’re even consciously thinking about situations or issues. Indeed, this research suggests that liberals and conservatives even have different bodily responses to stimuli, of a sort that they cannot control. And one of the strongest areas of difference involves one’s sensitivity to the feeling of disgust.

A recent study, for instance, found that “individuals with marked involuntary physiological responses to disgusting images, such as of a man eating a large mouthful of writhing worms, are more likely to self-identify as conservative and, especially, to oppose gay marriage than are individuals with more muted physiological responses to the same images.” In other words, there’s now data to back up what we’ve always kind of known: The average conservative, much more than the average liberal, is having visceral feelings of disgust toward same-sex marriage. And then, when these conservatives try to consciously reason about the matter, they seize on any information to support or justify their deep-seated and uncontrolled response -- which pushes them in the direction of believing and embracing information that appears to justify and ratify the emotional impulse.

And voila. Suddenly same-sex marriages and civil unions are bad for kids. How’s that for the power of human reason?

All people engage in emotion-guided or -motivated reasoning, to be sure. But mounting evidence suggests that the Left and Right may do so differently. And they definitely do so for different reasons -- as the present case so strongly demonstrates.

Does this mean we should be more tolerant of the intolerant, or less disgusted by those who may consider us disgusting? Maybe. After all, people may not have much control over these impulses. They may not even be aware of them. At the very least, such knowledge should increase our level of understanding of those who disagree with us.

In the end, however, facts are facts -- and emotions and gut instincts are an utterly unreliable way of identifying them. We can try to be understanding of people different from us -- even when they’re manifestly failing at the same task. But the latest research makes it more untenable than ever to base public policy on gut-driven misinformation.

 


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