This Tuesday, May 8 will be a very important day for citizens of North Carolina, my family included. For the record, I am a heterosexual female who has been married for nearly five years to a male, making our family fall under what some would like to call the only true definition of marriage. I disagree with this statement. I also disagree with the notion that recognizing or legalizing same-sex marriages takes away from the validity of my marriage or threatens it in anyway. The only way my marriage will be "threatened" is if some dapper gay gentleman decides to make a move on my mans at which point he will feel very threatened. To quote Lois Griffin ~ "This is MINE. This is where MY BABIES come from!" I hope this scenario never happens because I've known many a dapper gay gentleman and I just can't compete and it would be utterly mortifying.
If you have taken the time to read the actual amendment and I urge you to do so, you will have probably noted that in addition to being hastily written it really has very little to do with protecting marriage or families. The amendment reads: "Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State. This section does not prohibit a private party from entering into contracts with another private party; nor does this section prohibit courts from adjudicating the rights of private parties pursuant to such contracts." The way this bill is currently written leaves room for some dire consequences to ALL North Carolina families, not just those of same sex partners.
It places a ban on civil unions and strips domestic partners of benefits. It threatens health coverage for dependents of non-married couples as well as victims of domestic abuse by making protection orders invalid. Both of these points also harm children, which I would hope that no matter what side of this debate you are on, you would agree they are the ones most deserving of protection by our legal system.
I understand that some people's faith and religious beliefs prevent them from being able to view and recognize a same-sex couple's relationship as a marriage. I respect people's right to have this opinion as well as their right to worship freely in the manner they so choose. I pray that the people who believe in keeping the definition of marriage of that as a union between one man and one woman will recognize that Amendment one is not about same-sex marriage.
You may be curious as to why someone not "affected" by this bill cares so much. I care because I am the mother of a little girl who is going to grow up one day and fall in love and have a family of her own, God willing. I also believe that people are born gay and that it is in their DNA and hard wiring - it is not a choice. By that logic there are odds that my daughter could one day come to me and tell me that she is a lesbian. Frankly, if she finds someone who loves her fiercely, has her best interest at heart, is supportive and kind I'm not too concerned with the package they come in. And anyone who has a problem with her being gay is going to have a bigger problem with me. That is my job as a mother ~ to love her wholly and unconditionally and I will do so until my dying day (and then from beyond the grave).
I want to leave her a world that no matter where life takes her, her world is one filled with love and acceptance. A world where she can live her life and raise a family free from the worry of unjust prejudice or persecution. I may never see that world in my lifetime but I can damn sure try to help see it come to life. One of my favorite prayers / chants sums it up best: lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu. This translates to: May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.
I will be voting against Amendment One this Tuesday. I hope that in the next few days you will educate yourself to make an informed decision and that you will join me.