North Carolinians voted on and passed Amendment One on May 8, a constitutional amendment against the rights of same-sex couples. Amendment One not only defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman but it also goes beyond state law (which already contains this definition of marriage) and bans other types of previously legal domestic unions.
The basis for this vote took place back in September 2011. The North Carolina House passed the ballot measure by a 75-42 while the Senate passed it 30-16. Because it’s a state constitutional ballot question, the governor had no ability to veto the measure and the vote was scheduled for May 8, the same day as the Republican Party’s presidential primary.
In a country that prides itself on individual equality and liberty through the law, passage of laws and amendments like Amendment One is a disgrace. It refuses same-sex couples the right to enter into a legal partnership, a legal right that is given to heterosexual couples. The Amendment thus discriminates against individuals based on sexual orientation. It even takes away the right of heterosexual couples to choose whether to marry or to enter into a legal domestic partnership instead. In order to have a relationship under the law, they must marry. Finally, Amendment One puts the legal rights of citizens up to a vote of others. Although our country is a democracy in electing officials, our individual rights should not be at the whim of public opinion. That is why we have the Constitution and laws to protect these rights.
How could such an amendment have passed in a country that’s known as the “land of the free”? ?” Partially it seems because voters did not know exactly what they were voting on. Just 36% of voters correctly stated that it would ban both same-sex marriage and domestic partnerships and, when voters were informed of this, only 38% continued to support the amendment with 46% in opposition.
We at Trust Women believe that respecting the dignity of each and every person in the United States and granting them equal rights under the law is an ideal that our country should strive for. One of the many ways that LGBT rights and reproductive rights are related is that when people respect and value the dignity of others, they are also more likely to trust them to make the appropriate choices for themselves and their families. This is just one of the ways in which there is a great intersection between LGBT rights and reproductive rights.