If you are a regular Creative Loafing reader, you've no doubt noticed that we've dropped a lot of ink lately on Amendment One. That's no accident. We made a conscious decision early on to give this referendum our full editorial attention. That's because it is CL's position that what the far-right, Republican-controlled North Carolina General Assembly is asking us to vote on at the polls May 8 involves the single most important civil rights issue of our times.
In case you've been on an extended vacation, Amendment One, if passed, will change the N.C. Constitution to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman only. What's more, it will make marriage between a man and a woman the only legal domestic union recognized by the state.
The flagrant bigotry at the heart of this amendment is an affront to all of our gay and lesbian friends, family members and co-workers. But that's not all. It's an insult to any citizen who feels the government should not be in our homes and bedrooms dictating whom we love and how we choose to live our domestic lives. The legal rights and privileges of the domestic partnership we call marriage should extend to all citizens, not just those who happen to agree on theological matters.
When we say Amendment One involves the single most important civil rights issue of our times - LGBT rights - that in no way diminishes other important civil rights issues, from the continued racial profiling of African-Americans and Latinos to the hate-fueled targeting of religious minorities. And the passage of Amendment One would impact those things, too, in that it would officially write bigotry into our state's constitution. This is a radical measure put forth by radical right-wing conservative politicians who have decided that their own fears and personal religious beliefs are more important than liberty and justice for all. They've decided that an entire population should be treated as less than human. And that is unacceptable.
In our cover story last week, longtime Charlotte journalist Ed Williams covered what Amendment One is, what it would do legally, and why conservative Republicans decided to bring it to a vote now. In this issue, CL news editor Ana McKenzie reports on what raising the marriage issue is already doing, in terms of its psychological effects on gay and lesbian couples, other domestic partners and their children. Make no mistake about it: Bringing up this amendment now, with all of the bullying and stereotyping it promotes, is a calculated ploy on the part of Amendment One supporters to demean, ostracize and marginalize an entire group of North Carolina citizens. We've seen it happen throughout history, from the Salem witch trials to the South of the Jim Crow era. And we're seeing it now.
Sadly, we live in a time of heightened fear of difference in our communities and our nation — fear egged on by politicians and media personalities looking for cheap votes, big ratings and just plain old attention. That egging has resulted in some outrageous nonsense including the unfounded belief by some that the president of the United States is secretly a Muslim and that he is not an American citizen. This kind of anti-intellectual drivel must stop.
And nowhere recently has such ugliness manifested itself so blatantly than in the wording of Amendment One. For that reason, we urge all of our readers — many of you in domestic partnerships that would be affected by this law — to go to the polls on May 8 and vote against Amendment One. Our future and the future of our children depend on our political action.