North Carolina can set national example
As a daughter and granddaughter of those who were cast out from their home and life in 1930s Munich, Germany, I am well aware of the dangers of state-sanctioned discrimination. Prejudicial amendments to the constitution lead to acts of hate in the community. If those in our state who support equal rights for all were to defeat Amendment One, then I believe that North Carolina would stop the chain of dominoes falling against the LGBT community.
As a person of faith, I struggle daily with the beauty and complexity of the sacred texts that Jews and Christians share. Our defeat of this amendment would call upon the country to read the sacred texts of Genesis and Leviticus more thoroughly, going beyond the two verses used at the expense of so many others. Voting against Amendment One will tell the country that there are religious communities in the South who embrace the texts of Leviticus that teach about love rather than hate, who elevate the texts of Genesis that recognize the Divine in all human beings, and who understand that Genesis cannot be relied upon as the sole text that determines the modern institution of marriage.
We would affirm, as well, that our Constitution does not favor one religion over another.
I am blessed to officiate at a great number of weddings. It is a ceremony that sanctifies and celebrates the love and holiness of a covenantal commitment that exists in a relationship. As people of faith, our goal should be to move toward creating holy homes rather than tearing them apart.
The central motif of the Hebrew Bible is the movement from slavery to freedom towards justice for all. Voting against Amendment One will affirm that our Southern state is erasing a past that protects the rights of one group at the expense of another's. North Carolina is part of a New South, one that does not divide, discriminate, devalue and devastate those who are different, but welcomes the rich diversity of all who dwell here.
-- Rabbi Judy Schindler, Temple Beth El
People have the right to be 'let alone'
Greta Garbo, the famously reclusive actress of silent movies and early talkies, uttered a line in her film, Grand Hotel, that was associated with her for the rest of her life, "I want to be alone." Later, though, in talking about her early retirement from stardom, Garbo insisted, "I never said, 'I want to be alone.' I only said, I want to be let alone. There is a world of difference." There is a world of difference. Hermits want to be "alone," but almost all of us, at many times in our lives, want to be "let alone."
If interference in our private affairs by friends and relatives is annoying, interference in our personal lives by the government is oppressive. In 1928 Justice Louis Brandeis wrote, "the makers of our Constitution ... sought to protect Americans in their beliefs, their thoughts, their emotions and their sensations. They conferred against the government, the right to be let alone - the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men."
This amendment would constitutionally restrict an important personal freedom for gay and lesbian citizens, the freedom to declare to the world one's love for and faithfulness to another person and to have that vow honored by society.
North Carolina has no constitutional restrictions on drug addicts, child molesters or spouse abusers marrying. When you consider that any two unmarried heterosexuals, who are not close blood relations, can easily get a marriage license, the state's withholding of that same license from gays and lesbians is not leaving them alone. Withholding that license is interfering with the most private and personal of rights, the right to legally commit to live with and support another person.
Defeating Amendment One will let us live into the legacy of our freedom-loving founding fathers by sending a loud and clear signal that in the Old North State, we still value and defend the right to be let alone.
- David Jones, Charlotte attorney
All we seek are civil rights others enjoy
We are native North Carolinians and long-time Charlotteans. We were educated in N.C. public schools and universities, but have lived in Washington, D.C., for 16 years because it offers equal protection for all citizens, regardless of sexual orientation. People and places change, so we have been investigating returning to be near our aging parents and live in a place we love. In short, we are considering coming home.
Imagine our dismay when learning that North Carolina, which already has a ban on same-sex marriage, is threatening to further strip existing legal protections, thus cementing our second-class citizenship. Oddly enough, we are the sort of public-spirited citizens who most places openly welcome - taxpaying, property-owning, law-abiding. We are not asking for special privileges, nor are we trying to subvert other families and religious beliefs. We are simply two of your native daughters who expect the same civil rights and legal protections as other N.C. citizens.
- Leslie Griffin and Dee Cain, Washington, D.C.
Sounds like 1875 rule against blacks
Our constitution offers no guidance on who may marry whom, when, or how. Once, however, it did. In 1875, a decade after the Civil War, the people of North Carolina amended the state constitution to include the following language: "All marriages between a white person and a negro, or between a white person and a person of negro descent to the third generation inclusive, are forever prohibited."
Today we are on the precipice of doing it again. We are being asked to write express discrimination back into our constitution. We are being asked to codify into it the religious beliefs of only some state citizens.
While this amendment might have some Biblical support, it is morally wrong, no less wrong than the 1875 marriage amendment.
- Frederick M. Thurman Jr., Charlotte attorney
Reproduction is a silly argument
My grandmother Alice Miller, a faithful Episcopalian, remarried when she was 82. She had been married to my grandfather for more than 50 years until his death. She then married her high-school sweetheart, Harold Sachs, a devout Roman Catholic. When the Catholic priest, apparently working from a checklist, asked them during their pre-marital counseling whether they promised to raise their children in the Catholic faith, they both laughed.
Some say reproduction, or even the possibility of it, is reason enough to support the amendment on Tuesday. But what of the countless heterosexual couples who marry, often in a church, without any possibility of children? The church still pronounces God's blessing on those relationships.
Heterosexual and homosexual couples marry for the same goals - love and companionship.
We are social beings. While some people live their lives singly, most crave a companion. It has long been known that, in general, married heterosexual couples are happier, healthier, wealthier and more successful than single persons. The same is increasingly found true for married homosexuals. The public commitment between two people enhances lives.
As has been shown in other states with same-sex marriage, the covenant of marriage is rooted in two persons' public commitment to each other. This commitment, whether by heterosexuals or homosexuals, strengthens our society. The proposed amendment hurts all North Carolinians. It institutionalizes discrimination at the highest possible level in our state and weakens the very fabric of our society.
- The Rev. Dr. John Kenneth Gibson, senior associate rector at St. Michael's Episcopal Church in Raleigh.