Monday, February 6, 2012

Understanding N.C.'s gay marriage amendment

I'm covering North Carolina's vote on Amendment 1, which would write the state's ban on gay marriage into the N.C. constitution. I'd like to use this post as a call for input and to think out loud about the way this amendment would interplay with some of the principles on which our government was built.

Nuance and questions about the amendment's full impact on domestic partnership benefits aside, it's fairly easy to understand why people are against the amendment. What I'd like to hear more about is: Why are many people so passionately for it? What is so threatening about the government allowing gay people to marry?

Does it really boil down to God says it's wrong to be gay? If so, are you sure he does? And if you are, are we the kind of country that codifies the majority's understanding of God's word on social issues?

And if we are, why isn't, say, adultery illegal?

It is not my place to decide or advocate. I just want to put as many relevant facts and voices before voters as I can, and play a part in North Carolinians deciding issues from a position of knowledge.

That's my role in our democracy as a member of the press - to verify, to agitate and to question. But I believe in democracy not because it's intrinsically great, but in large part because it seems to be the best method developed to protect individual rights.

And because I believe individual rights are a foundation of society, it's hard for me to understand the argument against allowing gay people to marry each other. That's the point I'd like to hear from people on: What is so dangerous about it, how does it so violate your own rights, your safety or society's needs  that it should be banned by the state's constitution?

I'll be covering this issue for the Winston-Salem Journal, but this is my personal political blog and unaffiliated with the paper. If you'd like to share your thoughts, and your name, please contact me via cfain (at) wsjournal.com. Thank you for your time.

"A majority taken collectively is only an individual, whose opinions, and frequently whose interests, are opposed to those of another individual, who is styled a minority. If it be admitted that a man possessing absolute power may misuse that power by wronging his adversaries, why should not a majority be liable to the same reproach?"

- Alexis DeTocqueville, Democracy in America.

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