North Carolina’s Amendment One was a constitutional bill so anti-gay that even David Blankenhorn, the defence’s sole expert witness in the Proposition 8 trial, disavowed it. And yet, yesterday, voters in the state passed it by a majority of 60% to 40%, robbing gay families of all legal protections afforded to heterosexual married couples.
Unlike California’s Prop 8, and contrary to most news headlines this morning, the amendment didn’t merely define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. It declared that the marriage of one man and one woman would be the only valid relationship. And the declaration wasn’t merely a law; it was enshrined in the state constitution of North Carolina. Three fifths of the electorate said to gay families, “Fuck your rights.”
The lost, drained expressions in the photo above (from The Guardian) tell all.
I’m left feeling incredibly sad for the gays and lesbians affected by this pernicious legislation. It means the love between two men or two women will never be recognized in law as anything more than the relationship between two people who just happen to occupy the same apartment. It means more stories like that of Shane and Tom. They shared their lives together for almost six years before Tom died, leaving Shane bereft and with no legal recognition of their mutual love and commitment. This video is hard to watch, but it illustrates compellingly the basic dignity and rights that straight, married couples take for granted, which vicious, homophobic legislation like Amendment One denies same-sex couples.
The fight to pass Amendment One, like similar legal efforts, was driven by those who claim to be “pro-family.” This is a misnomer. What pro-family really means in this context is “pro any family exactly like ours.” Such activists have no qualms about hounding, destroying and discriminating against families that do not conform to their so-called traditional values. They are anti-family, and they should be ashamed of their actions.