I’d like you to meet my friends Amy and Lisa and their four kids. They work hard to make ends meet and raise these kids. They fuss over what to watch on TV, try to keep the house in order — pretty much everything a straight couple does.
But if The Amendment passes in North Carolina next month, they will never be recognized by the state as a family. If Amy gets sick, Lisa may not be able to have a say in how she is treated.
The Amendment, as it is called on the ballot, would insert discrimination into the state’s constitution.
It also would affect heterosexual couples who have chosen not to marry legally — something several couples I know have chosen to protest discrimination against gays and lesbians. They could lose domestic partner benefits.
What’s even scarier is that it would make domestic violence laws more difficult to enforce, as has happened in Ohio. Women who are battered by their boyfriends are less likely to be able to prosecute under domestic violence laws. They can still file assault charges, but there are fewer protections for them. It is a huge step backwards.
North Carolina already has a law against same-sex marriage, but opponents — who overwhelmingly object on religious grounds — want to make it even harder to repeal the ban.
I believe Amy and Lisa have a right to be married legally and have the same legal benefits and protections I do. Marriage is a legal contract and it should be nothing more than that to the state. To bring religion into it violates the First Amendment to the US Constitution, which supersedes the state’s. It’s none of my business whether a couple is gay or straight; the only marriage I should have any say in is my own.
Early voting begins next Thursday. Before you vote, please consider the harm this amendment would cause to gay and straight couples and their children. It’s morally wrong and it needs to be defeated.
Leslie Boyd, a former newspaper reporter, is president of the health care advocacy nonprofit, Life o' Mike Inc., named in memory of her son, who died in 2008 because he couldn't access health care. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about Life o' Mike or to read Boyd's blog, visit lifeomike.org.