When Is A Moral Victory Not A Moral Victory?

North Carolina’s legislature wrote an amendment to the state Constitution that will be voted on during primaries on May 8th, 2012. Amendment One, as it is called, would take the current law banning same sex marriages a step farther. The amendment is worded:

“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.”

Setting aside all religious or moral debates, this amendment is making people across the state nervous, and rightly so. This amendment would erase all legal rights and protections afforded to individuals in committed, non-married relationships. Seniors who cohabitate because marriage would cause them to lose benefits, particularly widows whose only income is a pension from their deceased husbands, would be forced to get married or lose the right to visit their loved one in the hospital.

There are many companies, including some government agencies, whose employee benefits package include “domestic unions”. These may be same sex couples, but they also could be roommates living together to share expenses. Removing these benefits will expose individuals who are struggling to get by as it is to a loss of health care or prescription benefits.

Amendment One is posed to hurt a great many people, both financially and emotionally. It will roll back liberties enjoyed by North Carolinians of all backgrounds, hurting the state’s ability to truly say it cares for its citizens.

Is this really a “moral” victory?


**Corrections made to original post: references to how the Amendment will affect Domestic Violence protection were removed. The proposed Amendment should not affect the statutes on Domestic Violence, where protected relationships are specifically stated, as opposed to relying on individual interpretations of “domestic relationship”.

We apologize for the error.

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