08 May 2012

Will North Carolina voters outlaw civil unions and domestic partnerships?

Today, when the citizens of North Carolina go to the polls, they will be asked to vote on Amendment 1, which would amend the state's constitution to say "Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in the state."

This is not just another Proposition 8. Same-sex marriage is already illegal in North Carolina. If passed, Amendment 1 would ban civil unions and domestic partnership benefits even among opposite-sex couples.

National Organization for Women (NOW) President Terry O'Neill explains the ramifications:

"In addition to placing a permanent ban on civil unions, Amendment One would also strip the domestic partnership benefits currently afforded to unmarried public employees all across North Carolina.

"Amendment One could interfere with protections for all unmarried couples, such as their ability to visit one another in the hospital or make emergency medical and financial decisions if one partner is incapacitated. It could also hamper the enforcement of wills, trusts, and medical powers of attorney, exclude partners from private employer healthcare benefits, as well as threaten domestic violence protections for all unmarried women."

In other words, if Amendment 1 passes, married couples will be first-class citizens, while everyone else will be second-class at best.

This is despite the fact that this nation was founded on the principle that all people are created equal.

Fingers crossed in hopes that the people of North Carolina will vote for equality, not discrimination.

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