This afternoon, the North Carolina legislature begins debating a Constitutional amendment referendum that would define marriage as "between one man and one woman." The North Carolina NAACP has released an open letter that asks all North Carolinians to oppose the proposed amendment. The letter is signed by Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, President of the North Carolina Chapter of the NAACP.
An excerpt via the Progressive Pulse:
The NAACP does not and has not taken a position endorsing or opposing same sex marriage. However, the NAACP has a long history of opposing any proposal that would alter the federal or state Constitutions for the purpose of excluding any group or individuals from guarantees of equal protection under the law. Our opposition is based on our mission statement, which calls for the 'equality of rights of all persons.'
A vote on the same sex marriage amendment has nothing to do with your personal opinion on same sex marriage but everything to do with whether or not you believe discrimination should be codified and legalized constitutionally.
Our legislature and all North Carolinians should focus on providing sound basic education for every child; equal access to good health care; living wages; workers rights; recovery from natural disasters; and protections for maximum voter turnout.
Who can tell thousands of families living without health care that they are better served by the legislature debating whether to amend the Constitution to address a personal religious issue in a way that will enshrine discrimination into the sacred document?
Who wants to stand in the face of parents whose children are receiving a sub-par education at woefully under-resourced public schools that their primary concern should be about our legislature dictating which families are worthy of the law’s protections and which ones are not?
Who would dare go to unemployed workers and tell them they should clamor to see another group of North Carolinians forever excluded from the guarantee of equal protection under the laws rather than demand that we work to provide jobs and economic empowerment for them so they can feed their families and keep a roof over their heads?
Who will look in the eyes of women victimized by brutal sterilization and tell them to put their pain and hurt aside and join the chorus of those who want to write laws that hurt other people?
The NAACP strongly urges you to reject the so-called same sex amendment and any other present or future proposals of constitutional amendments that would permanently deprive any person in our great state of his or her inalienable rights.”
Bravo to Rev. Barber. The state chapter's move comes at the same time the national organization has been criticized for being timid on LGBT rights and for having a number anti-gay pastors in leadership positions.
North Carolina is the only state in the Southeast without a same-sex marriage ban in its constitution. North Carolina was a swing state in the 2008, narrowly won by Barack Obama and Charlotte will host the 2012 Democratic National Convention. The NAACP, an editorial in the Durham Herald-Sun and Fayetteville Observer columnist Myron B. Pitts all note that the proposed amendment is a "cynical" move by the GOP to lure Black voters into helping white conservatives win in 2012.