Stop the hate, save our state: Vote against Amendment 1

May 8: the day that could possibly change the lives of millions of North Carolinians. On the ballot is Amendment I, which says “Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state.”

Our law allows so much to be interpreted into those 22 words, especially the part “only domestic legal union.” Domestic amendments don’t happen very often, but when they do, it is very hard for them to be changed.

Amendment I is a very big deal; not only could it affect millions, but the effects may also be permanent and extremely difficult to change if later down the road people wanted to change it back. That is why it is important that before you vote, you know what you are doing.

If you want to be a well-informed voter, you should know that this amendment deals with more than just gay marriage, because that is already against the law in North Carolina. It bans all civil unions and domestic partnerships. In a marriage you have matrimonial rights such as work benefits and child custody. Civil unions and domestic partnerships are very similar to this. They grant two people who are joined together, usually because they live together, the same matrimonial rights given to married people.

Many businesses in North Carolina recognize domestic partnerships and give them the same benefits as marriage. With a domestic partnership, you can get rights involving child custody and employee benefits for married couples. If you know any two people who live together who are not married (gay or straight), some of their rights could be taken away. All kinds of scenarios can be drawn up, because the way this amendment has been written allows for a lot of different interpretations.

This amendment can cause committed partners to lose the ability to take care of one another financially or medically. For example, people who rely on health care from their partner’s job could lose those benefits.

Imagine a child who lives with his birth mother and another man who are in a domestic partnership together. If this law passed and the child’s mother died, the man he has been living with (who he might call his dad) will no longer be legally responsible for him. The child could be taken away from the man if someone with a stronger legal obligation wanted to take him, because this man who had rights under the old law might no longer have them.

Governor Beverly Perdue stated in a Youtube interview that Amendment I could also invalidate domestic violence protections for unmarried partners.

Due to the fact that no Democrat is seriously running against Obama, there will be a low voter turnout for the N.C. Democratic primary. The legislators who made this bill chose to place it on this day so there would be fewer Democrats voting and it would be more likely to pass. It is so crucial that this amendment does not get passed. Our state is taking a step backward. This amendment will hurt people who live right in our community, so please go out and vote against Amendment I.

— By Anna LaRocco Masi