Asheville, NC - Dozens of community members and students rallied and marched through downtown Asheville April 7, chanting, “Gay or straight, stop the hate! Vote no on May 8th!” Amendment One is an anti-GLBTQ marriage proposal. The University of North Carolina-Asheville Coalition Against Amendment One organized the event.
North Carolina Senate Bill 514, also known as Amendment One, is a dangerous rewrite of the North Carolina constitution. In a sneaky move, the vote is scheduled as part of the primary election in hopes that it would have a higher Republican turnout. The text that voters will vote for or against will read: “Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State.”
If passed, it will have countless unintended consequences for children, families, unmarried women and seniors. Children could lose health care benefits and it could threaten existing child custody and visitation rights. Domestic violence protections could only apply to married couples. We have already seen a precedent in Ohio where a similar constitutional amendment allowed convictions to be overturned. Even trusts and wills could be invalidated.
Despite the fact that it is already illegal for LGBTQ people to marry in North Carolina, this would invalidate domestic partner benefits that are offered by many municipalities. Durham, Mecklenburg and Orange counties, as well as the city of Asheville, have domestic partner registries. These provide a mechanism through which hospitals, businesses and other entities have the ability to recognize domestic partnership.
People passing by the rally today were also reminded they can vote against this amendment during early voting that runs from April 19 through May 5. Across the state, there are many more rallies, forums and events against Amendment One scheduled to take place between now and May 8.