North Carolinians had some bipartisan, high-profile reminders last week that while some among us might see gay unions as a threat to marriage, the institution is already taking a pretty good pummeling from heterosexuals.
First, there was the ongoing, shower-inducing trial of former U.S. Sen. John Edwards, at which we learned that the star witness against the philandering former Democratic candidate for president is a married political aide who also engaged in an adulterous one-night stand.
Later in the week, the (Raleigh) News & Observer told us of Charles Thomas, the chief of staff of Republican N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis. Thomas, a former one-term lawmaker from Asheville, resigned after being caught carrying on with a lobbyist for the homebuilding industry. The apparent affair might have been deliciously ironic given Tillis’ support for Amendment One, except for the sobering reality that two spouses were surely seeing their families in tatters, thanks to a now-public infidelity.
So tell us again what we’re protecting marriage from on May 8?
In one week, North Carolina will vote on Amendment One, which would constitutionally ban same-sex marriage in the state. You’ll read much in the next seven days about the amendment and its potentially harmful impact, legal and otherwise. But it was the past seven days that reminded us again how at least some of those who support the amendment are engaging in selective morality in their effort to get government tangled this deeply in its citizens’ behavior.
You’ve heard those moral arguments, of course – how scripture has harsh words for homosexuality, including labeling it an “abomination.” Let’s set aside the fact that some Biblical scholars disagree on the specifics and intent of the nine passages commonly cited in the condemnation of homosexuality. Wouldn’t infidelity, by scriptural measure, be worse? After all, adultery rises to the level of being addressed by one of the commandments that Moses cradled.
But while some can’t flip to Leviticus fast enough when the topic of same-sex marriage comes up, no one is rushing forth with legislation outlawing infidelity. The simple reason: We don’t want to have government that deeply involved in legislating our behaviors.
Yes, we’re a country based on laws that spring from our values, and those values are rooted historically in the faith of our forefathers. But those laws, for the most part, are protective – they shield us from harmful behavior, not merely behavior with which we disagree.
We have yet to see a compelling argument that a committed same-sex marriage is harmful to anyone, let alone the institution of marriage. What Amendment One does, then, is give us a government mired in regulating sin. That, along with the amendment’s discriminatory intent, should give North Carolinians good reason to pause one week from today.