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@NCCapitol

Amendment defender debunks 'activist judge' claim

Posted May 5, 2012 10:24 p.m. EDT
Updated May 5, 2012 10:29 p.m. EDT

On tonight's On The Record, one of the three Campbell Law professors who authored a paper defending the Marriage Amendment conceded he doesn't believe one of the primary arguments advanced by amendment backers.

From the beginning of their campaign, its supporters have said the amendment is needed because the current state law banning same-sex marriage could be overturned at any time by "activist judges."

Campbell Law Professor Lynn Buzzard doesn't believe that's true in North Carolina. 

When asked whether the current ban is in danger of being overturned by the North Carolina Supreme Court, Buzzard replied, "No, I do not think so."

"I don't think at this stage a North Carolina court would strike down the statute," he said.

"But it's not true that this is a redundant constitutional amendment," Buzzard added. "If it was just redundant, we wouldn't have the energy and the passion going on to fight it!"

Amendment backers say it IS redundant. They say it does nothing more than put the existing state law banning same-sex marriage into the constitution.

In fact, the language of the amendment would also ban the state from allowing civil unions or domestic partnerships, and would prohibit city and county governments from offering benefits to the domestic partners of their employees. That change would affect an estimated 80 families, half of them heterosexual, who currently receive DP benefits from 9 municipalities statewide.

It's also worth noting that in all three of the states that have legalized same-sex marriage in the past year (WA, NY, MD), that action was taken by elected lawmakers, not judges.

The conversation continued online after the TV taping. You can watch the web extra at right.