Category Archives: Marriage

Universal pre-K is bad for everyone

Given the continuous study information that Head Start doesn’t really give anyone a head start, it does seem like families need childcare, not pre-school. Excellent points in this post from Penelope Trunk:

In his last State of the Union speech President Obama proposed that we have universal preschool in the US. It’s appalling to me that he wants to pour money into preschool programs that are so out of sync with what families need.

Women have been very vocal about not wanting to work full-time while they have kids. And we have recognized as a nation that our school system is out of date and a waste of time for kids. So why are we dumping money into an institution that does not meet anyone’s needs?

Women don’t want a preschool system.
Most women want to stay home with their kids or work part-time. But some women don’t have enough money to do that and they need to work full-time. Other women who can afford to work part-time have huge difficulty finding rewarding, engaging part-time work because most of the exciting work in our economy is full-time.

Women going back to work full-time is not good for the kids when the women themselves feel they are gone from the kids for too much time.  But women working part-time is good for young kids for a wide range of reasons.

This means that universal preschool does very little for working women. It doesn’t allow women to work full-time, because preschool isn’t full-time, and it doesn’t provide part-time jobs for women who want them.

Preschool does not help most kids.
Kids with educated parents do not need to go to preschool. So preschool primarily benefits kids with uneducated parents. Preschool can help those kids start out on equal footing with kids of educated parents.

Children who have educated parents should be playing when they are preschool age. They learn through play. They do not need to learn to sit still and stand in line and play only when the teacher says play….

We do need good childcare.
What everyone wants is good childcare.
That’s why they send their kids to school – because school is our state-funded babysitting system.  Parents who are home with their kids want to have a break from their kids. Parents depend on school to provide that break from parenting duties, but we have no system for giving parents breaks when kids are not school age.

At best, universal pre-K is a babysitting service. Middle-class parents can’t afford good child care, which Obama says in his speech, and he says that preschool is a childcare solution more than an education solution. The real issue here is that he wants to give good childcare to the parents who want it.

That’s really different from saying that all kids should go to school….

Putting universal pre-K on the table is taking away the very idea of choice that women have been fighting for. Women should have a choice to work or stay home with kids. Women should be able to choose parenting. Today we raise girls to think they are in school expressly to get a job that is not parenting. That’s as damaging to girls as telling them they are going to school to stay home and have kids.

We do not need our politicians to use their federal funding to denigrate the job of parenting any more than so much of society already does….

Focus on deadbeat dads instead of universal pre-K.
Here is my proposed solution. First, promote marriage. Yes, it’s judgmental and pushing cultural values onto individual citizens. But so is universal pre-K. Marriage, however, is much more successful at giving kids a good chance in life:  keeping a marriage together decreases the chance of a child living in poverty by 80%.

And let’s go after deadbeat dads. The majority of low-income kids are not living with their dad.  I do not believe that low-income moms are different than high-income moms; I think l0w-income moms also would choose to be home with their kids over working full-time….

Read it all.

N.C. catholic bishops on the Marriage Protection vote

Marriage Protection vote in North CarolinaAll but seven of N.C. counties voted overwhelmingly in favor of the marriage amendment May 8. (Source: N.C. State Board of Elections)

A quick look at those in light blue (counties that voted against the Marriage Protection amendment) and I see (starting from the far west):

  • Buncombe County: home to Asheville, the largest city in western North Carolina who delights in holding herself up as the enlightened beacon in the midst of backwoods bumpkins
  • Watagua County (northeast of Buncombe): I have no idea what’s going on here
  • Mecklenburg County (way south of Watagua): home to Charlotte, a major metropolitan area
  • Orange, Durham, Chatham, and Wake counties: well, that’s Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill–what did you expect?

From the Catholic News Herald:

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — With a heavy turnout at the polls, North Carolina voters approved a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman by a 3-to-2 margin.
From the Catholic News Herald:

In unofficial results calculated late May 8 by the North Carolina State Board of Elections, 1,303,952 people — 61.05 percent — voted for the amendment while 831,788 people — 38.95 percent — voted against it.

The amendment read, “Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state.” It enshrines the definition of traditional marriage in the state constitution, elevating it from what has been state law since 1996.

Bishop Peter J. Jugis of Charlotte and Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Raleigh, who were at the Vatican May 8 for their “ad limina” visits, had both championed the amendment, which they said would prevent any arbitrary redefinition of marriage.

Marriage, they reminded Catholics, is based in natural law by God and instituted as a sacrament by Jesus Christ. It binds together a family, the fundamental building block of all societies, and provides the most stable and nurturing environment to raise children….

Ever since the amendment was put on the ballot by the Republican-led Legislature last fall, the bishops had urged Catholics to vote for it. They communicated with parishioners in print and online diocesan news media, TV and radio ads, parish bulletins and postcards, billboards and yard signs, and letters read from the pulpit during Masses the weekend before the vote.

The bishops had said the vote presented an opportunity to explain the importance and sanctity of traditional marriage in the Church and in society.

In a joint letter read at all Masses May 5-6, the bishops wrote, “We are for marriage, as we believe it is a vocation in which God calls couples to faithfully and permanently embrace a fruitful union in a mutual self-giving bond of love, according to his purposes. It is not only the union itself that is essential to these purposes, but also the life to which spouses are called to be open, the gift of children.”

Their efforts ran parallel to the campaign by Vote For Marriage NC, a nonpartisan coalition of churches, groups and individuals that organized public support for the amendment, which even at the start of the campaign last fall was considered widely popular among North Carolina voters. Each diocese also donated $50,000 to the Vote for Marriage NC campaign for its advertising blitz and voter education efforts….

Read it all.

Marriage Protection Amendment controversy leads to vandalism

FOR Marriage signs defaced in Henderson County (NC)

Unfortunately, I saw this in California as well during the Prop 8 vote in 2008–today, as then, most of the signs defaced are those supporting traditional marriage. In California, when the people voted to uphold traditional marriage, there was additional vandalism and violence from those who supported same-sex marriage, even reports of people who donated to the Prop 8 campaign being fired because of that support.

From the Hendersonville Times-News:

Board of Elections Director Beverly Cunningham said vandalized signs have never been a problem since during her time at the helm of her office. Until this year, however, when a heated controversy over the definition of marriage has led to reports of slashed and stolen signs across the county.

Several Times-News callers and letter writers have reported signs being vandalized or stolen, both those supporting and opposing North Carolina Senate Bill 512, or Amendment One.

The bill, if passed by voters May 8 in the primary election, would amend the state Constitution to say that marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union valid or recognized in the state.

While she has not received any official written complaints, Cunningham said she has heard people talking about the vandalism….

The Henderson County Sheriff’s Office has received several calls concerning the destruction, vandalism and larceny of political signs, said Capt. Frank Stout.

“Most of these calls have been in reference to the vote for marriage amendment signs,” he said….

Read it all.

N.C.: Campbell University School of Law professors submit a white paper on the Marriage Amendment

On April 18, 2012, Lynn R. Buzzard, William A. Woodruff, and E. Gregory Wallace, professors at Campbell University School of Law, submitted a white paper to the North Carolina public. In “The Meaning and Potential Legal Effects of North Carolina’s Proposed Marriage Amendment,” the professors bring to light several factual inaccuracies that have been spread by those opposed to the Marriage Amendment (on the ballot this May 8).

Vote FOR Marriage NC presents a short outline summary of the facts presented by the white paper:

30-State Precedent:

  • Thirty states have passed similar amendments.
  • The intent of these amendments are clear: (1) to protect the definition of marriage as the union between one man and one woman, and (2) prohibits the legal validity of marriage-like imitations or substitutes.
  • There is no evidence that NC’s proposed Amendment is intended to go further than the marriage amendments in every other state.

UNC’s Maxine Eichner’s Doublespeak:

  • UNC professor Maxine Eichner’s flawed analysis does not give the term “union” its proper effect in limiting the Amendment’s reach.
  • In her 27-page report, she only devotes a single sentence to the meaning of the term “union.” She also fails to footnote this single sentence.
  • Idaho’s marriage amendment, which has the exact wording as the proposed North Carolina amendment—to date—has not reported a single appellate court decision clarifying the amendment’s meaning. “Professor Eichner concedes as much when she observes that ‘Idaho courts have yet to interpret that statute.’”

The Ohio Factor and Domestic Violence:

  • “There is a significant difference between Ohio and North Carolina, and it is a difference that favors domestic violence protections in North Carolina.”
  • Unlike Ohio, North Carolina domestic violence law outlines six possible identifiers of people who are in a “personal relationship,” only one of the six possibilities includes the presence of a “current or former spouse.”
  • “The Ohio Supreme Court overruled these decisions and held that the domestic violence protections do not violate Ohio’s marriage amendment.”

Partner Benefits:

  • The Marriage Protection Amendment is very clear that it would not affect private contracts.
  • “[I]f the proposed Amendment passes, same-sex partners still may be able to receive health insurance benefits.”
  • “The proposed Amendment also does not prevent private employers from extending health insurance benefits to domestic partners, no matter how those relationships are defined.”
  • “The amendment specifically provides that it ‘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.”

The Nitty-Gritty:

  • “The proposed Amendment does not change the ‘best interests of the child’ standard that North Carolina courts use for determining custody and visitation.”
  • “The Amendment’s plain language…does not disapprove of cohabitation or make illegal non-marital relationships; rather it bars the state from creating or recognizing a legal status for unmarried couples that resembles marriage.”
  • The second sentence of the actual ballot language clearly states: “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.”
  • This Amendment does not impact other couples or the benefits they receive.
  • It also does NOT impact domestic violence laws, interfere with existing child custody and visitation rights or invalidate trusts, wills, and end-of-life directives.
  • “Marriage provides women with protection against domestic violence and abandonment far better than any other human relationship or institution.”

N.C.: District attorneys rebut the Marriage Amendment opposition

From Vote FOR Marriage NC, district attorneys and law enforcement officials rebut allegations of domestic violence impact of the Marriage Amendment:

Today, a coalition of District Attorneys, legal professionals, and other law enforcement officials sharply rebutted claims that the pending constitutional amendment on marriage would strip citizens of domestic violence protections, as is being claimed in television ads being aired by amendment opponents. The officials say such allegations are utterly false.

I am concerned about the false and misleading claims that are being made by opponents of the Marriage Protection Amendment,” said Rockingham County District Attorney Phil Berger, Jr., Vice President of the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys. “Citizens should have no concern that the marriage amendment will impact domestic violence prosecution, because it will not.”

Berger was joined at the press conference by Jeff Hunt, District Attorney from Prosecutorial District #29B (Henderson, Polk, and Transylvania Counties), Tom Keith, former District Attorney from Prosecutorial District #21 (Forsyth County), Raven Byrne, family law attorney in Wake County, and Paul Wright, former District and Superior Court Judge.  Additionally, a written statement was issued by over a dozen prosecutors and law enforcement officials that said, “The protections of North Carolina’s domestic violence statute (General Statutes 50B-1) do not depend on the marital status of the victim or her relationship to the abuser. The law very clearly provides identical protections to married spouses as they do to unmarried women or men who have shared a household with the abuser. We encourage citizens to read the easily understandable law for themselves.”

In addition to Berger, Hunt, Keith, Byrne, and Wright, signers of the statement from law enforcement officials included the following:

Locke Bell – District Attorney, Prosecutorial District #27A (Gaston County)
Wallace Bradsher – District Attorney, Prosecutorial District #09A (Caswell and Person Counties)
Garry Frank – District Attorney, Prosecutorial District #22B (Davidson and Davie Counties)
Jay Gaither – District Attorney, Prosecutorial District #25 (Burke, Caldwell and Catawba Counties)
Terry Johnson – Sheriff, Alamance County
John Snyder – Former District Attorney, Prosecutorial District #20B (Union County)
Jerry Wilson – District Attorney, Prosecutorial District #24 (Avery, Madison, Mitchell, Watauga, and Yancey Counties)
Carey Winders – Sheriff, Wayne County

“We are pleased that these leading prosecutors and law enforcement officials have stepped forward to make it clear that the Marriage Protection Amendment will have absolutely no impact on victims of domestic violence,” said Tami Fitzgerald, Chairwoman of the Vote FOR Marriage NC campaign. “But we are distressed by the wholly dishonest and false advertising campaign being waged by our opponents. There are 30 state constitutional amendments defining marriage in this country, and not one has resulted in domestic violence protections being denied to unmarried people. Our opponents have completely abandoned campaigning on the marriage issue because they know that an overwhelming majority of North Carolinians support marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Putting our existing definition of marriage into the state constitution is all the amendment does.”

Bishop Burbidge of Raleigh on the N.C. marriage protection amendment

From Catholic Voice NC, Bishop Michael Burbidge of the Diocese of Raleigh on the North Carolina Marriage Protection amendment:

Vote FOR Marriage #4 from Diocese of Charlotte on Vimeo.

Also check out the earlier videos from Bishop Burbidge and Bishop Peter Jugis of the Diocese of Charlotte.

USCCB: Our first, most cherished liberty

From the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops:

…As Catholic bishops and American citizens, we address an urgent summons to our fellow Catholics and fellow Americans to be on guard, for religious liberty is under attack, both at home and abroad.

This has been noticed both near and far. Pope Benedict XVI recently spoke about his worry that religious liberty in the United States is being weakened. He called it the “most cherished of American freedoms”—and indeed it is. All the more reason to heed the warning of the Holy Father, a friend of America and an ally in the defense of freedom, in his recent address to American bishops…

Is our most cherished freedom truly under threat? Sadly, it is. This is not a theological or legal dispute without real world consequences. Consider the following:

  • HHS mandate for contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs. The mandate of the Department of Health and Human Services has received wide attention and has been met with our vigorous and united opposition. In an unprecedented way, the federal government will both force religious institutions to facilitate and fund a product contrary to their own moral teaching and purport to define which religious institutions are “religious enough” to merit protection of their religious liberty. These features of the “preventive services” mandate amount to an unjust law. As Archbishop-designate William Lori of Baltimore, Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, testified to Congress: “This is not a matter of whether contraception may be prohibited by the government. This is not even a matter of whether contraception may be supported by the government. Instead, it is a matter of whether religious people and institutions may be forced by the government to provide coverage for contraception or sterilization, even if that violates their religious beliefs.”…
  • Christian students on campus. In its over-100-year history, the University of California Hastings College of Law has denied student organization status to only one group, the Christian Legal Society, because it required its leaders to be Christian and to abstain from sexual activity outside of marriage.
  • Catholic foster care and adoption services. Boston, San Francisco, the District of Columbia, and the state of Illinois have driven local Catholic Charities out of the business of providing adoption or foster care services—by revoking their licenses, by ending their government contracts, or both—because those Charities refused to place children with same-sex couples or unmarried opposite-sex couples who cohabit.
  • Discrimination against small church congregations. New York City enacted a rule that barred the Bronx Household of Faith and sixty other churches from renting public schools on weekends for worship services even though non-religious groups could rent the same schools for scores of other uses. While this would not frequently affect Catholic parishes, which generally own their own buildings, it would be devastating to many smaller congregations. It is a simple case of discrimination against religious believers.
  • Discrimination against Catholic humanitarian services. Notwithstanding years of excellent performance by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Migration and Refugee Services in administering contract services for victims of human trafficking, the federal government changed its contract specifications to require us to provide or refer for contraceptive and abortion services in violation of Catholic teaching. Religious institutions should not be disqualified from a government contract based on religious belief, and they do not somehow lose their religious identity or liberty upon entering such contracts. And yet a federal court in Massachusetts, turning religious liberty on its head, has since declared that such a disqualification is required by the First Amendment—that the government somehow violates religious liberty by allowing Catholic organizations to participate in contracts in a manner consistent with their beliefs on contraception and abortion….

What is at stake is whether America will continue to have a free, creative, and robust civil society—or whether the state alone will determine who gets to contribute to the common good, and how they get to do it….

This is not a Catholic issue. This is not a Jewish issue. This is not an Orthodox, Mormon, or Muslim issue. It is an American issue….

Read it all.

Test of Fire: Election 2012

From Catholics Called to Witness:

N.C.: Marriage matters

From Vote FOR Marriage NC:

…What is at stake with the outcome of the vote on the Marriage Protection Amendment this May?

First, of course, is which of the two irreconcilable and conflicting definitions of marriage will be the only form of marriage legally recognized in North Carolina:

  • The amendment preserves North Carolina’s historic and traditional definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman – the same definition adopted by voters in every state to consider the question (30 of 30 states have voted to amend their state constitutions to define marriage in this way), adopted by a bi-partisan majority in Congress and signed into law by President Clinton, and adopted by virtually every society in every nation to ever live, from the ancients to current times.

Additionally, passage of the marriage amendment ensures that the people of North Carolina themselves, and not activist judges or politicians, decide how our state will define marriage in the future.

  • Without a marriage amendment in our constitution, activist judges can substitute their values for those of the people of North Carolina. This is exactly what happened in Iowa, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and California. Similarly, legislators can redefine marriage without the permission of the people, as was done in New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire. The marriage amendment ensures that if activists want to redefine marriage in the future, they must receive the approval of voters to do so.

Marriage as the union of one man and one woman is in the public good. It serves the interests of men and women, of children, and of society itself. The marriage amendment on the May 2012 ballot gives voters the opportunity to preserve this special and timeless institution.

Read it all. And note that John Burton, chairman of the California Democratic Party, has offered help for those opposed to this constitutional amendment, so there will be a push from those outside of the state to defeat this.

N.C.: More on why marriage matters

Part of the reason we’re dealing with the issue of same-sex marriage is because we as a society have not valued the institution of marriage as much as we should have, especially in the past 50 years. When more and more children are being born out of wedlock, with all of the problems that causes, it’s easy to see how others may feel they can demand their own part of the marriage pie.

But as is noted here, once the definition of marriage changes, it changes irrevocably for everyone. And the persistent question, from a legal standpoint, if the sex of the participants is no longer relevant, why should the number be?

From Vote FOR Marriage NC:

…Marriage serves a vital and universal societal purpose – to channel biological drive and sexual passion that might otherwise become socially destructive into enduring family units that have the best opportunity to ensure the care and education of any children produced by that biological drive and sexual passion.  Indeed, the United States Supreme Court has said that marriage is, “fundamental to the very existence and survival of the [human] race.”  The noted British philosopher Bertrand Russell (hardly a conservative – Russell was a liberal anti-war activist and socialist) said, “But for children, there would be no need of any institution concerned with sex…It is of children alone that sexual relations become of importance of society, and worthy to be taken cognizance of by a legal institution.”

By encouraging men and women to marry, society helps ensure that children will be known by and cared for by their biological parents. Whenever a child is born, her mother will almost always be nearby. But the same cannot always be said of her father. Men, especially, are encouraged to take responsibility for their children through the institution of marriage.  Marriage is society’s mechanism of increasing the likelihood that children will be born and raised by the two people responsible for bringing them into the world – their mother and father.

While death and divorce too often prevent it, the overwhelming body of social science evidence establishes that children do best when raised by their married mother and father. Simply stated, children need both a mother and a father. No matter one’s view of homosexual “marriage,” it is undeniable that every child born into a same-sex relationship is intentionally denied the love and affection of one of her biological parents.

David Blankenhorn, president of the Institute for American Values and a self-described liberal Democrat, said of marriage, “[M]arriage is a gift that society bestows on its next generation. Marriage (and only marriage) unites the three core dimensions of parenthood – biological, social and legal – into one pro-child form: the married couple. Marriage says to a child: The man and woman whose sexual union made you will also be there to love and raise you. Marriage says to society as a whole: For every child born, there is a recognized mother and father, accountable to the child and to each other.”

Fundamentally, same-sex marriage advocates propose to shift the marriage paradigm away from what definition of marriage is best for society – especially for children – and squarely onto the desires of the individual adults who seek to marry. Under a definition of marriage that is genderless, the interests of children – and therefore society’s intrinsic interest in marriage – is eliminated entirely. Only the wishes of the two adults in question matter.

When a court or a legislature adopts a genderless definition of marriage, legal experts warn (and actual experience from other states and countries confirms) that there will be profound consequences for society. Those people who refuse to accept this redefinition of marriage will be punished by the law. Churches and religious organizations can lose their tax exemptions and be forced to abandon their core moral principles or face punishment. Individuals, small businesses and groups will be subjected to lawsuits and regulatory action if they refuse to condone the “new” understanding of marriage. Perhaps most profoundly, children at a very young age will be taught in school that marriage is between any two adults, no matter what they have been taught at home, in church or in their ethnic traditions. Under the law, those who believe otherwise will be treated as the legal and moral equivalent of bigots. [To learn more about the consequences of redefining marriage, click here.]…

Check it out.

N.C.: Why marriage matters

From Vote FOR Marriage NC:

…While many people would like to believe that proposals to allow same-sex marriage are simply about allowing a different form of marriage to coexist alongside traditional man/woman marriage, they are wrong.   The impact that same-sex marriage will have on society is much deeper and far-reaching then a modest change in the word’s definition.

What is at stake in this debate are two competing definitions of marriage. One definition – advocated by same-sex “marriage” activists – would define marriage as the union of any two people regardless of gender, with the law treating the parties’ genders as irrelevant to the meaning of marriage. The other definition, contained in the proposed constitutional amendment and reflective of North Carolina’s current law and the collective understanding of virtually every nation throughout recorded history, is that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.

Under the law, one definition of marriage would not exist alongside the other. Only one of the competing definitions of marriage would legally exist. As noted in a scholarly review published in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, “…once the judiciary or legislature adopts ‘the union of any two persons’ as the legal definition of civil marriage, that conception becomes the sole definitional basis for the only law-sanctioned marriage that any couple can enter, whether same-sex or man-woman. Therefore, legally sanctioned genderless marriage, rather than peacefully coexisting with the contemporary man-woman marriage institution, actually displaces and replaces it.”

Why has virtually every society throughout history defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman?  The answer can be summarized in one word: children.

Protecting the interests of children is the primary reason that government regulates and licenses marriage in the first instance. After all, government does not license or regulate any other form of intimate relationship – not friendship or dating. People are free, under the law, to live as they choose, and engage in sexually intimate relationships with whomever they choose – all without any governmental recognition or regulation.

But marriage is a special relationship reserved exclusively for heterosexual unions, because only the intimate relationship between men and women has the ability to produce children as a result of that sexual union….

Check it out.

N.C.: The threat to marriage, part deux

From Vote FOR Marriage NC:

…Perhaps most importantly, shifting the focus of our marriage laws away from the interests of children and society as a whole, and onto the desires of the adults involved in a same-sex relationship will result in the most profound long-term consequences. Such a paradigm shift says to children that mothers and fathers don’t matter (especially fathers) – any two “parents” will do. It proclaims the false notion that a man can be a mother and a woman can be a father – that men and women are exactly the same in rearing children. And it undermines the marriage culture by making marriage a meaningless political gesture, rather than a child-affirming social construct.

When marriage ceases to have its historic meaning and understanding, over time fewer and fewer people will marry. We will have an inevitable increase in children born out of wedlock, an increase in fatherlessness, a resulting increase in female and child poverty, and a higher incidence of all the documented social ills associated with children being raised in a home without their married biological parents….

Check it out.

N.C.: The threat to marriage

Some good points from Vote FOR Marriage NC:

Contrary to what some people think, same-sex ‘marriage’ would not exist in the law alongside traditional marriage; as if it were a different expression of the same marriage institution they have always known. Marriage will be redefined for everyone. Our historic understanding of marriage as the union of one man and one woman would be replaced by a new paradigm for  marriage as the union of two adults, regardless of gender.

This new, redefined version of marriage as a genderless institution would be the only legally recognized definition of marriage in North Carolina. Such a radical change in the definition of marriage will produce a host of societal conflicts that government, exercising its broad enforcement powers, will have to resolve. Citizens, small businesses and religious organizations whose own beliefs, traditions, morals or ethnic upbringing are at odds with the new definition of marriage will find themselves subjected to legal consequences if they  do not act according to the new legal orthodoxy.

Legal experts on both sides of the marriage debate agree that the issue has profound impacts on society. Scholars from some of the nation’s most respected law schools have written that the issue implicates a host of issues, ranging from religious liberty, to individual expression of faith, to education and the professions.

For example, these legal scholars predict “a sea of change in American law,” and foretell an “immense” volume of litigation against individuals, small businesses and religious organizations.

Those who do not agree with this new definition of marriage as a genderless institution existing for the benefit of adults will be treated under the law just like racists and bigots, and will be punished for their beliefs.

This is already occurring…

Read it all.

N.C.: Primary ballot will list Marriage Amendment as “Constitutional Amendment,” not “Amendment One”

From Vote FOR Marriage NC, info on how the “marriage amendment” will look on the May 8 ballot:

RALEIGH, N.C.- On Monday [March 26], the State Board of Elections stated that the May primary ballot will list the proposed constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union between one man and one woman as “Constitutional Amendment,” not “Amendment One” as opponents of the amendment have falsely reported. Deputy Director Johnnie McLean informed a constituent on Monday that, “The constitutional amendment will appear exactly as it is on the sample ballot. It is unclear who has named it ‘Amendment One’ but it was not the General Assembly nor the Board of Elections.”

“For months, opponents to the marriage amendment have identified the amendment as ‘Amendment One,’ which will only confuse voters on Election Day because those words will not appear on the ballot,” said Tami Fitzgerald, chairwoman of Vote FOR Marriage NC. “Those who have adopted the incorrect term ‘Amendment One’ seek to distract voters from the real issue at hand. Unfortunately, the media has also disseminated this false term. Make no mistake: There is only one ballot question on the primary ballot, and that proposed amendment gives voters the chance to define marriage as the union between one man and one woman in the state constitution. Our campaign is working diligently to keep voters informed on the facts.”

Vote FOR Marriage NC is the referendum committee working to pass the proposed constitutional amendment defining marriage between one man and one woman on May 8th. The campaign is comprised of a multitude of policy organizations, denominations, and civic groups. Its Executive Committee consists of the Christian Action League, NC Values Coalition, a coalition of African American pastors, NC Baptists, and the National Organization for Marriage (NOM).

North Carolinians interested in more information about Vote FOR Marriage NC may visit the campaign’s website: www.VoteFORMarriageNC.com.

Same-sex marriage: Anthony Esolen’s ten arguments for sanity

Originally published in Touchstone, an essay by Prof. Anthony Esolen opposing same-sex marriage based on secular considerations:

Most people believe that the principal objections, or even the only objections, to the drive to legalize homosexual “marriage” spring from religious faith. But that is simply not true.  Beginning with this post I’ll offer ten objections that have nothing to do with any religion at all, except insofar as the great religions of the world happen to reflect the nature of mankind.  These objections spring from three sourcesThe first is a commonsense observation of man — his needs, his shortcomings, and his aspirations.  The second is a consideration of history: our own recent history, and the history of those who once committed the mistakes we are committing now. The last is logic, that relentlessly honest instrument of thought. The objections are such as should make everyone in our world uncomfortable, both those who call themselves conservative and are busy destroying the heritage of western civilization, and those who call themselves liberal and are busy curtailing and denying every freedom but that of the zipper.

1.  The legalization of homosexual “marriages” would enshrine the sexual revolution in law.

Forty years ago, we were advised by popular singers that we needed to open our hearts to love, meaning a free and easy practice of sexual intercourse, without what were called “hangups”.  Modesty was decried as prudishness, and chastity ridiculed as either impossible or hypocritical.  Experimentation abounded: the so-called “open marriages,” public intercourse, intercourse under the influence of psychedelic drugs.  A few of the experiments fizzled out for a time, though they are now resurging, as witness the sewer of websites devoted to “swingers.” The #### explosion shows no sign of abating, having been given its second life by the internet….

Is there any honest observer of our situation, or any political partisan so intransigent, who dares to argue that the results have not been disastrous?  We were told that the legalization of abortion would lead, paradoxically, to fewer abortions, and fewer instances of child abuse.  Instead it led to far more abortions than even the opponents ever imagined, and it so cheapened infant life that child abuse spiked sharply upward….

We were told that the legalization of contraceptive drugs would lead to fewer unwanted children — certainly to fewer children born out of wedlock.  Anyone with a passing familiarity with the human race should have known otherwise.  Whatever one may believe about contraception, one must admit the historical fact: by reducing the perceived risk of pregnancy almost to zero, contraception removed from the young woman the most powerful natural weapon in her arsenal against male sexual aggression.  She no longer had any pressing reason not to concede to the boyfriend’s wishes….

2.  It would, in particular, enshrine in law the principle that sexual intercourse is a matter of personal fulfillment, with which the society has nothing to do.

It is hard for us to imagine, in a world of mass entertainment and its consequent homogenization of peoples, how central an event the marriage is in every culture.  It marks the most joyful celebration of a people, who see their own renewal in the vows made by the young man and the young woman.  For although marriage focuses upon the couple (and it is interesting to remember that even our word focus is a marriage word, denoting in Latin the hearth), it does so because the couple embody a rejuvenation in which everyone, young and old, male and female, take part….

Of course [marriage] is personal and private: and it is public, and universal, even cosmic.  It bridges two chasms that must be bridged, lest the culture, that is the cultivation of all that a people most dearly cherish, wither away, and the people separate one from another, into a suspicious world of privacy.  One chasm is that which divides the generations.  At the true wedding, the elders know that the future belongs to the couple, who in their love that night, or on a night soon to come, will in turn raise up yet another generation.  Sexual intercourse is, as a brute biological fact, the act by which we renew mankind.  We celebrate the wedding because it betokens our survival, our hope for those to come after us.

But we could not have children without the bridge thrown over the more dangerous divide, that which separates two groups of human beings who seldom understand one another, whose bodies and psyches are so markedly different; who try to love one another, and so often fail, yet who try again for all that.  I mean men and women.  The wedding is a symbol of the union of differences: the generations, certainly, and separate families, but most strikingly, man and woman.  The very word sex derives from Latin sexus, denoting that which separates; it is cognate with a whole host of words for severance, such as (in English) schism, scissors, sect, shed.

What man and woman do in the marriage bed is not “have” sex; the sex, that is the separation, they are provided with already.  What they do is to unite, across the separation.  And unless man and woman unite — and, given their differences, it always amazes me that they can — the culture cannot survive.  The women will split away to protect their persons and their relatively few children; the unattached males will pass the dull hours in destruction.

3. It will drive a deeper wedge between man and woman.

The unhappy parting of man and woman that I have described in argument 2 is already a common feature of our day….

Perhaps the reader will ask what homosexuality has to do with this problem. It is simple: the acceptance of homosexuality is predicated upon the tacit assumption that male and female are not made for one another. It defines male apart from female, female apart from male; or it leaves those terms free-floating, without definition. Young men and young women already are growing up without understanding what they are to be for one another. Again, the results are predictable. Fewer young people marry.  When they do marry, their emphasis on personal fulfillment, rather than on interpersonal and complementary gifts, bodes ill for the survival of the marriage; for a spouse will destroy many a foolish daydream of youth. They will have fewer children. In no western country does the birth rate now assure even a replacement of one generation by the next; in many countries, the birth rate is so low as to constitute a slow and numb despair, a resignation to cultural suicide….

5. It will curtail opportunities for deep and emotionally fulfilling friendships between members of the same sex, opportunities that are already few and strained. This is particularly true of men….

Let me give you an analogy. Our sexual customs constitute a language, one that we must all use, whether we like it or not. If, all at once, clothing becomes optional on a certain beach, then that beach is a nude beach. If you wear your suit to that beach, your action has a meaning it did not have before. At the very least it means that you do not approve of public nudity. It may mean that you are ashamed of your body. It may mean that your religion forbids it. It may mean you are a prude. But it does signify something; and it must. You cannot say, “It means nothing to me,” simply because language is by its nature public and communal.  Suppose the incest taboo were removed. You may say, “I will hug and kiss my niece in any case,” but your actions will now have a significance they did not have before. The shadow of the thought must cross any beholder’s mind; it might cross the niece’s mind. If you were at all considerate of her feelings, you would hesitate before you did it.

The incest taboo is surely not irrational: it allows members of a family the freedom to share each other’s company, in what might otherwise be often embarrassing circumstances, and to touch, in ways that would mean something, were it not a brother or an aunt giving the kiss. On pain of expulsion from the group, that taboo must be upheld, so that the deep feelings and intimacy of a family may develop freely and sanely….

Not so long ago, it was conceivable to suppose that two men might share an apartment merely as close friends; if Oscar and Felix of The Odd Couple did the same thing now, homosexuality would be the first thing to cross your mind, whether you support the homosexual agenda or reject it. One of my students related to me an incident that happened to him in a bar. His closest buddy had been abandoned by his girlfriend, and was weeping freely as the young man cradled his head in his arms. A young lady walked up to them and chirpily asked them if they were gay.

The effect upon boys is devastating; it is hard for women to understand it. Their own friendships come easily, and in general are not based upon shared conquest, physical or intellectual. It is simply an anthropological fact that male friendship is essential for the full development of the boy’s intellect: the history of every society reveals it. But now the boys suffer under a terrible pincers attack. The sexual revolution causes them to rouse themselves to interest, or to pretend to interest, in girls long before they or the girls are emotionally or intellectually ready for it; and now the condonement of homosexuality prevents them from publicly preferring the company of their own sex. This is simply inarguable….

6. It leaves us with no logical grounds for opposing any form of consensual intercourse among adults.

No culture in history has accepted (even celebrated!) homosexual acts between adult men or adult women. (I will deal with the case of Athens in a later post; it is lethal to the homosexual cause.) But plenty of cultures have accepted polygamy, or, more appropriately, polygyny, the marriage of one man to several wives. Certain religions allow it or encourage it: Islam allows a man to have up to four wives, and radical Mormonism is, as I understand it, even more generous….

What grounds could we possibly have to deny people the opportunity to marry more than one person? If we establish as a matter of law that marital relations are free to any two people who consent, why limit the number to two? Polygyny, after all, is much easier to justify than are homosexual relations: it does not violate the biology of the people involved; it brings forth many children; it preserves the ideal of the union of male and female. But what would happen if the door were opened to polygyny? Would we not find ourselves, almost overnight, in a world utterly different from the one into which we were born? Nor would it be enough to say to oneself, “I do not believe in it; I will never marry another.” What about one’s spouse? What about the members the opposite sex whom you may happen to meet? In every culture that allows polygyny, the pressure of the possibility of dalliance and marriage, no matter who you are (for it turns married men instantly into eligible bachelors), compels the severest separation of roles for men and women. Is that what we want?

On what grounds could we deny any combination of people who wish to “marry”?…

Read the whole essay.

North Carolina Marriage Protection Amendment misconceptions & facts

From Catholic Voice NC (Diocese of Charlotte):

Misconception: The amendment isn’t necessary.
Fact: Unless North Carolina passes the Marriage Protection Amendment, our present marriage laws are vulnerable to future legislative or judicial decisions overturning them and imposing same-sex marriage here. This is what occurred in several other states, including California, Massachusetts, Iowa, Vermont and Connecticut.

Misconception: Marriage is simply about loving couples making a public commitment of their love.
Fact: Marriage provides an opportunity for a couple in love to declare their commitment to each other, but the government doesn’t regulate marriage to provide a forum for public commitment simply because two people love each other. Marriage is regulated by government because it is the unique social institution based in eternal natural law to channel the biological drive of men and women with its inherent capacity to produce children into family units with the best opportunity of ensuring that any children produced by that sexual union are known and cared for by their biological parents. It is in the interests of children that government regulates and licenses marriage.

Misconception: The measure prohibits important public benefits for same-sex partners of city and county employees.
Fact: Nothing in the amendment prohibits same-sex couples from any rights or benefits. Local governments and the UNC System may offer (or continue to offer) benefits to same-sex partners of employees or students if they choose to do so by changing the basis upon which benefits are offered.

Misconception: The amendment could invalidate domestic violence programs for unmarried same-sex couples.
Fact: The amendment has nothing to do with domestic violence programs and does not change the law on domestic violence. We would not support it if we believed it did.

Misconception: The amendment could interfere with existing child custody and visitation rights that seek to protect the best interests of children.
Fact: The amendment has nothing to do with existing child custody laws or arrangements. We would not support it if we believed it did.

Misconception: The amendment could result in courts invalidating trusts, wills and end-of-life directives – which are not “private contracts” – in which an unmarried partner is a beneficiary and/or is entrusted with the care of a loved one.
Fact: The amendment has nothing to do with trusts, wills and end-of-life directives. The amendment simply puts our existing definition of marriage into the constitution where it will be protected from future legislative or judicial decisions. We would not support it if it invalidated such contracts.

Misconception: The amendment is bad for business.
Fact: We are concerned about any proposed legislation that would negatively impact employment opportunities in North Carolina, especially in light of our current economic situation. We would not support the proposed amendment if we believed it would imperil employment. According to the information we have received, research shows that states with a marriage protection amendment in their state constitution are the nation’s top performing economic states. This includes eight of the top ten “best states for business” (according to a survey of 556 CEOs) and eight of the top ten states for job growth (according to Moody’s Analytics).

Misconception: The amendment signals to homosexuals that they are second-class citizens.
Fact: Thousands of gays and lesbians have chosen to make North Carolina their home despite the fact that they are unable to marry here. All residents of our state – regardless of sexual orientation – are to be respected and welcomed. Our own teaching as a Church is clear on the inherent dignity of each and every person without exception. Because traditional marriage is so foundational to our identity which is based in eternal natural law, we simply do not believe that marriage can be redefined.

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North Carolina Marriage Protection Amendment FAQs

Good FAQ sheet from Catholic Voice NC:

What is the Marriage Protection Amendment?
The North Carolina Marriage Protection Amendment would put our state’s historic definition of marriage into the constitution where it will be protected from being altered or overturned by future legislative or judicial decisions, as has occurred in other states. The measure says, “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.”

When do voters consider the Marriage Protection Amendment?
The measure will appear on the North Carolina primary election ballot on May 8, 2012.

Why is it necessary to enact the amendment now?
The amendment is necessary to prevent future legislative or judicial actions from redefining marriage in North Carolina. For example, last October same-sex couples requested marriage licenses in Asheville, setting up a potential legal challenge to our laws defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Additionally, without the amendment a same-sex couple “married” in another state could move to North Carolina and file suit, demanding to have state law recognize their “marriage” here.

Does this amendment change the definition of marriage in North Carolina?
No. The amendment takes our current definition of marriage as between one man and one woman and embodies it in the state constitution. Additionally, the amendment ensures that relationships like civil unions and domestic partnerships cannot be considered under the law to be the same as a marriage.

Why is it important to preserve traditional marriage?
The institution of marriage existed before Christ was born and predates government. It has served as the foundation of society for thousands of years. Marriage is also the foundation of the family. Marriage is profoundly in the common good because it brings together the two halves of humanity – men and women- and provides the ideal environment for raising children. Marriage benefits men and women, their children, our economy and the state as a whole. It is not merely a private contract, but a social institution of great public importance.

What is the “Common Good” of Marriage?
Marriage serves a vital and universal societal purpose – to channel biological drive and sexual passion that might otherwise become socially destructive into enduring family units that have the best opportunity to ensure the care and education of any children produced by that biological drive and sexual passion. Indeed, the United States Supreme Court has said that marriage is “fundamental to the very existence and survival of the [human] race.” By encouraging men and women to marry, society helps ensure that children will be known by and cared for by their biological parents. The overwhelming body of social science evidence establishes that children do best when raised by their married mother and father.

Why does the state need to be involved in marriage anyway?
The answer can be summarized in one word: children. Protecting the interests of children is the primary reason that government regulates and licenses marriage in the first instance. Marriage between a man and a woman protects and promotes the well-being of children by allowing the children produced from the sexual union of the two adults to benefit from being raised by both their father and mother. While death and divorce too often prevent it, children do best when raised by a loving mother and father within the bounds of marriage. Marriage is a special relationship reserved exclusively for heterosexual unions because only the intimate relationship between men and women has the ability to produce children as a result of that sexual union.

Does the amendment prohibit the Legislature from providing for civil unions or domestic partnerships?
Yes, the Amendment prevents legal recognition of any relationships considered to be like marriage.

Does the amendment take away rights for same-sex couples?
No. Marriage has always been defined in North Carolina as the union of one man and one woman. North Carolina law has never allowed civil unions or domestic partnerships as legally binding entities. The Amendment preserves those provisions, but does allow same-sex couples and others to enter into, and enforce, private legal agreements. For instance, a private company could agree to provide health benefits to a same-sex couple and the couple could enforce this agreement in court.

Does the amendment prohibit local governments or the UNC System from
providing benefits to same-sex couples?

Nothing in the amendment prohibits local governments or the UNC System from offering or continuing to offer benefits to same-sex couples of employees or students if they choose to do so by changing the basis upon which benefits are offered.

Does it interfere with benefits that employers provide to same-sex couples?
No. Nothing in the amendment interferes with any benefits that employers provide to same-sex couples.

Will the amendment damage North Carolina’s economy?
North Carolina has consistently been ranked one of the best places to do business. The amendment will not change that because it will not change North Carolina’s current definition of marriage. If anything, the amendment will help our economy. Research shows that states with a marriage protection amendment in their state constitution are our top performing economic states. For example, eight of the top ten “best states for business” according to a survey of 556 CEOs by Chief Executive Magazine have a state marriage amendment in their constitution. Six of the “top ten performing states” for “creating jobs, economic development and prosperity in challenging times” have state marriage amendments in their constitutions, according to a study published by the National Chamber Foundation. According to Moody’s Analytics, eight of the top ten states for job growth have a marriage amendment in their state constitution.

Does the amendment enshrine discrimination into our state constitution?
No. The amendment does not interfere with the way same-sex couples choose to live. It does not prevent local government and the UNC System offering benefits provided they change the basis upon which benefits are offered (which they can). Businesses may continue to offer benefits. The amendment enshrines the belief that marriage is a social institution whose definition cannot be changed by civil law because it is an essential and enduring institution of society that does not change from culture to culture or from generation to generation.


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.

O’Neill: Why gay marriage is a very bad idea

From Brendan O’Neill for spiked.com (U.K.), a thought-provoking essay on who is pushing for same-sex marriage:

Nothing in the gay-marriage debate adds up. Nothing. For example, gay-marriage rights are presented as a radical rallying cry on a par with the struggles for women’s suffrage or black civil rights, and yet they’re enthusiastically backed by such superbly un-radical institutions as The Times, Goldman Sachs and David Cameron. Politicians say they must do ‘the right thing’ on gay marriage, just as earlier politicians eventually did the right thing on giving women the vote, neglecting to mention that there has been absolutely no sustained public agitation, no leaping in front of the Queen’s horse, for the right of gays to get hitched. Self-selected gay spokespeople present this effort as the logical conclusion to their 60-odd years of campaigning for equality, overlooking the fact that a great many gay activists once saw marriage and the family as problems, and demanded recognition of their right to live outside of those institutions….

Given its surreality, it is remarkable that so many intelligent people are taking the gay-marriage issue at face value, seriously saying ‘Yes, I fully support the enactment of this long-traduced historic right’. What they should be doing is asking why gay marriage is an issue at all and untangling how it came to be a defining battleground in the modern Culture Wars. Because it strikes me that what is happening here is that, under the cover of ‘expanding equality’, we are really witnessing the instinctive consolidation of a new class, of a new political set, which, lacking the familiar moral signposts of the past, has magicked up a non-issue through which it might define itself and its values.

The reason the gay-marriage issue can feel like it came from nowhere, and is now everywhere, is because it is an entirely top-down, elite-driven thing. The true driving force behind it is not any real or publicly manifested hunger amongst homosexual couples to get wed, far less a broader public appetite for the reform of the institution of marriage; rather it is the need of the political and media class for an issue through which to signify its values and advertise its superiority. Gay marriage is not a real issue – it is a cultural signifier, like wearing a pink ribbon to show you care about breast cancer….

One of the most striking things about gay marriage is the disparity between mass feeling for the issue (which is best described as weak to non-existent) and elite passion for it (which is intense). All sorts of elite institutions, from political parties to massive corporations, are lining up to back the gay-marriage ‘cause’, clearly having sensed that it is the issue through which their kind can now make a display of their sanctity. So not only are old-world, conservative media institutions such as The Times and right-wing parties like the Conservatives declaring their support for gay marriage, so is the CEO of Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein. He has become a spokesman for one of America’s largest gay-rights group, appearing in its adverts to say ‘I support marriage equality’.

Gay marriage is clearly looked upon as an opportunity to demonstrate ‘true statesmanship’ at a time when other opportunities to do so are few and far between for our aloof rulers.

The transformation of gay marriage into a barometer of moral decency explains why the debate about it is so shot through with censoriousness and condemnation. That is another striking difference between the old genuinely democratic reformers and today’s gay-marriage supporters – where the proper reformers were in favour of openness and debate, the gay-marriage lobby seems far more keen to stifle dissent. As a writer for the Guardian put it, ‘There are some subjects that should be discussed in shades of grey, with acknowledgement of subtleties and cultural differences. Same-sex marriage is not one of those. There is a right answer.’ This is clearly not a political issue as we would once have understood it, where different views clash and compete for support; rather it is more akin to a new religious stricture, where the aim is to distinguish between those who are Good (the elite enthusiasts for gay marriage) and those who Bad (the people who oppose or can’t get excited about it)….

But even in its own terms, gay marriage is a bad idea, for many reasons. Primarily because, while it is presented to us as a wonderfully generous act of cultural elevation (of gay couples), it is more importantly a thoughtless act of cultural devaluation (of traditional marriage). An institution entered into by millions of people for quite specific reasons – often, though not always, for the purpose of procreation – is being casually demoted, with the Lib-Con government even proposing that the terms ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ no longer be used in official documents. The overnight Orwellian airbrushing of two such longstanding titles from public records demonstrates the extent to which the elite is willing to ride roughshod over traditional identities in pursuit of its own new identity as gay-friendly and moral.

Now, perhaps you think the institution of marriage should be devalued, that it is stuffy and conservative and in need of an overhaul. Fine. Then argue for that, openly and honestly. But no one benefits from the charade of gay marriage. The fact is that marriage is not simply about co-habitation or partnership; it is not even simply about having an intense relationship. It has historically been about much more – about creating a unit, with its own rules, that is recognised by the state and society as a distinctive union often entered into for the purpose of raising a new generation. Yes, some couples enter into it for other reasons – for companionship, larks, a party or whatever – but we are not talking about individuals’ motives here; we are talking about the meaning of an institution. Collapsing together every human relationship, so that everything from gay love to a Christian couple who want to have five kids is homogenised under the term ‘marriage’, benefits no one. It doesn’t benefit gay couples, whose ‘marriage’ will have little historic depth or meaning, and it doesn’t benefit currently married couples, some of whom may feel a corrosion of their identity….

Read it all.

North Carolina Marriage Protection Amendment fact sheet

From Catholic Voice NC, information on the May 8 vote on the Marriage Protection Amendment:

A bi-partisan majority of the North Carolina Legislature has voted to put the North Carolina Marriage Protection Amendment on the ballot to preserve marriage in our state as the union of one man and one woman. North Carolinians will finally have the opportunity to vote on May 8, 2012, to preserve a traditional definition of marriage, just as 30 other states have already done.

North Carolina Marriage Protection Amendment Language: “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.”

Fact: The State of North Carolina should protect marriage.
Marriage as the union of a man and a woman is uniquely in the common good and serves as the basic building block of civilization and a productive society. Marriage benefits men and women, their children, our economy and the state as a whole. It is not merely a private contract, but a social institution of great public importance.

Fact: Marriage is vulnerable to being redefined by future legislative or judicial decisions.
Judicial decisions in other states have redefined marriage to make it genderless, thus imposing same-sex marriage with no input from the people of those states. This has occurred in Massachusetts, Iowa, Vermont, Connecticut and California. All told, same-sex “marriage” is allowed in six states and the District of Columbia. Any homosexual couple “married” in one of those state could move to North Carolina and sue to have their “marriage” recognized by the State of North Carolina.

Fact: The Marriage Protection Amendment ensures that North Carolinians control the definition of marriage in our state.
By putting the traditional definition of marriage in our state constitution, as 30 other states have already done, we will ensure that voters will control the definition of marriage in our state. This will also prevent a homosexual couple from another state suing to force North Carolina to recognize their “marriage” under state law.

Fact: Defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman is already the law in North Carolina.
While the current marriage law in North Carolina permits only traditional marriage, it can be changed by a judicial or legislative act. The Marriage Protection Amendment simply puts into our state constitution the traditional definition of marriage, thereby prohibiting judges and legislators from attempting to give other relationships the legal status of marriage. Judges elsewhere have attempted to use the existence of “civil unions” or “domestic partnerships” as a legal means to redefine marriage. The Marriage Protection Amendment provides that those types of relationships will not be considered marriage-like relationships under the law.

Fact: The Marriage Protection Amendment does not take away any rights from same-sex couples.
Marriage has always been defined in North Carolina as the union of one man and one woman. North Carolina law has never allowed civil unions or domestic partnerships as legally binding entities. The Amendment preserves those provisions, but does allow same-sex couples and others to enter into, and enforce, private legal agreements. For instance, a private company could agree to provide health benefits to same-sex couples, and the couple could enforce this agreement in court. Nothing in the Amendment prohibits local governments or the UNC System from offering or continuing to offer benefits to same-sex partners of employees or students if they choose to do so by changing the basis upon which benefits are offered.

Fact: Children do best when raised by their married mother and father.
The overwhelming body of social science evidence shows that children, raised by their married mother and father, experience less poverty, commit far fewer suicides and far fewer crimes and are half as likely to become pregnant out of wedlock. They also develop better academically and socially and are healthier physically and emotionally when they become adults.

Fact: North Carolina is the only southern state that has not defined marriage in its state constitution.
The Marriage Protection Amendment will allow voters in North Carolina to preserve and protect the traditional definition of marriage in our state. Please vote for the amendment on May 8, 2012 so we may join 30 other states in protecting traditional marriage.

N.C. Catholic bishops react to President Obama’s statement on marriage

In response to President Obama’s public opposition to the North Carolina Marriage Protection Amendment, Bishop Peter Jugis of the Diocese of Charlotte and Bishop Michael Burbidge of the Diocese of Raleigh have issued the following letter:

March 21, 2012

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Last week, President Barack Obama took the unusual step of commenting on a state ballot initiative. His stated opposition to the referendum on the marriage amendment in North Carolina is a grave disappointment, as it is reported to be the first time that the President has entered into this issue on the state level, further escalating the increasing confusion on the part of some in our society to the very nature of marriage itself.

As Catholics, we are FOR marriage, as we believe it is a vocation in which God calls couples to faithfully and permanently embrace a fruitful union in a mutual self-giving bond of love, according to His purposes.  It is not only the union itself that is essential to these purposes, but also the life to which spouses are called to be open, the gift of children.  Children have the right to the indispensable place of fatherhood and motherhood in their lives as they grow, are loved, nurtured and formed by those whose unique vocation it is to be a father and a mother through the bond of one man and one woman in marriage.  As our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI,  has stated, children have the fundamental right to grow up with the understanding of the proper place of sexuality in human relationships.  He recently emphasized that “Children are the greatest treasure and the future of every society: truly caring for them means recognizing our responsibility to teach, defend and live the moral virtues which are the key to human fulfillment.”

In his comments on the upcoming referendum in our State, the President regrettably characterized the marriage amendment as a matter of discrimination.  While we are respectful of the Office of the President, we strongly disagree with this assessment.  As Cardinal Timothy Dolan, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, recently stated, “The Catholic Church recognizes the immeasurable personal dignity and equal worth of all individuals, including those with same-sex attraction, and we reject all hatred and unjust treatment against any person.  Our profound regard for marriage, as the complementary and fruitful union of a man and a woman does not negate our concern for the well-being of all people, but reinforces it.  While all persons merit our full respect, no other relationships provide for the common good what marriage between husband and wife provides.”

Join us in our support FOR the sacred vocation of marriage and what it means for us and for the future of our great State.  We urge you to visit our Catholic Voice NC website for more information and to vote FOR the referendum on May 8th.

Sincerely in Christ,


The Most Reverend  Michael F. Burbidge
Bishop of Raleigh


The Most Reverend Peter J. Jugis
Bishop of Charlotte

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