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Marriage amendment debate rages one week before vote

Posted April 30, 2012
Updated May 1, 2012

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— A week before North Carolina voters head to the polls on a controversial marriage amendment to the state constitution, a panel discussion in Durham Monday joined both sides of the aisle in a spirited debate about the issue.

Supporters of Amendment One, which would amend the state constitution to make marriage between one man and one woman the only legal domestic union, say it protects families and preserves traditional Christian values.

Opponents, however, charge that the amendment is discriminatory and that its vague language could have far-reaching consequences beyond outlawing same-sex unions.

The panel discussion was sponsored by Leadership Triangle, a nonprofit group that aims to bolster leadership initiatives in the area.

Pastor Patrick Wooden, who has been an outspoken supporter of Amendment One, said he thought he and the three other panelists engaged in an honest discussion about an amendment he says would safeguard what the Bible teaches about marriage and family.

"No two men will equal a mom. No two women will ever equal a dad," he said.

Attorney Tony Biller agrees.

"The best way to raise a child – all other things being equal – is to have the father of the child and the mother of the child committed to each other," Biller said.

Rep. Deborah Ross Marriage amendment debate rages one week before vote

Marriage Leadership Triangle marriage amendment discussion

University of North Carolina law professor Maxine Eichner, however, said there's no data to back up such a claim.

"Same-sex couples do every bit as good a job (of raising children) as opposite-sex couples," she said.

Because the amendment would limit not only the definition of marriage, but also the definition of a legal domestic union, state Rep. Deborah Ross said it would deny rights to many people across the state, regardless of sexual orientation.

"The language is going to lead to a whole bunch of legal lawsuits. Not about gays' and lesbians' rights to marry, but (about) a whole bunch of benefits we have in the state," she said.

While opponents say it's a civil rights issue, Biller maintained that gay and lesbians choose to opt out of marriage.

"(If) a homosexual says, 'I do not want to marry someone of the opposite sex,' then they choose not to participate in the civil institution of marriage," he said.

The issue will be decided on the May 8 primary ballot.

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  • unclebear83 May 4, 2012

    Registered and Voted today with a relative against Amendment One. The right to be with the PERSON you love and are willing to commit your life to should be the decision of the two adults wishing to do so. Love between two consenting adults should NOT be outlawed just because a few groups' religious beliefs dictate it immoral and a sin. I have seen folks say "Well if we allow homosexual marriage, what's next? A man marrying three women??" No. All the homosexual community truly wants is the right and privilege to commit to their beloved and have it recognized just as any heterosexual couple gets.

    Furthermore, this amendment is NOT about allowing gay couples to get married. This is about defining marriage as man and woman AS WELL as making it the only legal union the state will recognize. Personally, I think we got too wrapped up in debating marriage ethics and not looking at the FULL legal ramifications that this amendment could have on EVERYONE, despite sexual orientation.

  • dwntwnboy May 3, 2012

    "If you're so gay then you should have never been attracted to, much less married to a woman"- many gay people go through "traditional" relasionships at some point if for nothing else, to try and fit in. Thinking that maybe if I date the other sex, these feelings and urges will go away....they don't. It only makes both partners unhappy. Other reasons could be to hide the fact that they are gay to begin with- if I date/marry a woman, no one will know I lust for men. OR they could just want children and didn't want to adopt- there are MANY reasons people enter into relationships they don't stay in.

  • dwntwnboy May 3, 2012

    "do a YouTube seach for Dave Savage. Pure poetry."- you mean Dan Savage- writer of Savage Love for the Seattle paper The Stranger. He's brilliant and points out the hypocracy where he sees it- sometimes even at himself.

  • catchfinally May 3, 2012

    @sweetcheeks1966 "What about me? Gay Man here....married 2 women that should of never been mothers"

    If you're so gay then you should have never been attracted to, much less married to a woman. Now you could argue that you were born gay but wanted to have a family and fit in to society. But NOBODY makes this mistake twice. And I'm sure those women were not holding a gun to your head. 90% of gay and lesbians have been in at least 1 heterosexual relationship. Your argument is nullified by your own admissions. :)

  • me2you May 3, 2012

    You can't "measure" the effectiveness of having a Mom & Dad vs. two of the same sex. People intuitively and psychologically know it's better, but opponents won't admit it.

  • thinkpositively May 2, 2012

    "The best way to raise a child – all other things being equal – is to have the father of the child and the mother of the child committed to each other," Biller said.

    Now the Amendment will make divorce illegal, as well making it illegal to have children out of wedlock? Did a burning bush tell him this?

    What about me? Gay Man here....married 2 women that should of never been mothers....I've raised 2 kids with VERY little help from their mothers...I've been mama and Daddy to both...I'm Gay and proud of it...Those 2 women married me for the money they could get from me and my family and have seldom helped raise the kids...What about that Mr Biller?

    Since "the church" wants to have such a say and force the bible down our throats, they should START PAYING STATE AND FEDERAL TAXES!!
    I married 2 women, PAID my own way out of both marriages and no one gave a dang who I married or what it costs me...Best thing out of both is My Daughter and My Son!! Praise God! :-)

  • kieskies May 2, 2012

    This is ridiculousness.

    North Carolina Anti-Gay Marriage Amendment 1 Reportedly Written To Protect 'Caucasian Race'

    "The reason my husband wrote Amendment 1 was because the Caucasian race is diminishing and we need to uh, reproduce."

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/02/north-carolina-gay-marriage-amendment-1_n_1470956.html

  • LikeABadPenny May 2, 2012

    If you really want a reality check on the religio-fashist side of this discussion do a YouTube seach for Dave Savage. Pure poetry.

  • randall0123a May 2, 2012

    I can't wait to all the guys who won't marry their women lose their tax advantages, insurance advantages, etc. Maybe they will either finally get up and move out, or commit to their families in a permanent way. – MrPearce

    Hmmm… Please educate all of us as to this permanency you refer to. Surely you are not referring to marriage, since the divorce rate is through the roof, and it is fairly common for people to be on their second (third, fourth…?) marriage. OK, thanks for playing, but your illogical lies have no place here. Wake up and smell you own BS please.

  • randall0123a May 2, 2012

    "The best way to raise a child – all other things being equal – is to have the father of the child and the mother of the child committed to each other," Biller said.

    Wow, so the Amendment will make divorce illegal, as well making it illegal to have children out of wedlock? Did Bugs Bunny write the arguments that the Pro-Amendment individuals seem to be spouting? They would sound more intelligent if they just quoted passages from any convenient religious book, stomped their feet a lot, and pretend a burning bush told them to speak. They can also tell everyone that there is only one religion in NC, and we no longer need a Governor or public servant to run the State, as a religious leader is now in charge of everything. How about we also do the same in reverse, and kick out the pastors and allow the current government officials to infiltrate the churches and dictate religious policy and how people are to conduct their religious lives. Yes, both are ridiculous.

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