An atheist's reflection on opposing Amendment One.
by Christi Sevits
The nonreligious and LGBT communities share a struggle for visibility and acceptance in society. This holds true here in North Carolina, where the state constitution is littered with religious invocations. The numerous references to a higher power begin in the preamble, which “acknowledg[es] our dependence upon Him.” Article VI, Section 8 declares that “any person who shall deny the being of Almighty God” is not qualified to serve in public office.
You might be wondering how this relates to LGBT rights. Legislation under the name of Amendment One is underway to constitutionally ban marriage between same-sex partners in North Carolina. The effects of this repugnant amendment endangers the rights of not only gay couples: it will revoke benefits of domestic partners, increase the difficulty of winning court cases involving child custody, and relax domestic violence laws to exclude an unmarried person from bringing an abusive partner to justice.
The state constitution already discriminates against atheists. I refuse to stand by and let a document meant to grant freedoms instead take away more rights from me. A resident of North Carolina for seventeen of my nearly twenty-one years, I am no less a citizen of this state than any heterosexual religious person. Why should the state give a damn if I want to marry a woman one day?
Defeating Amendment One will not legalize gay marriage. However, crushing this institutionalized homophobia shows that pro-equality North Carolinians refuse to back down. We cannot allow this amendment to leave a devastating stain on North Carolina’s fight for civil rights. A vote against the amendment on May 8th (early voting taking place from April 19th-May 5th) means a vote for equality.