PFN letter opposing NC’s Amendment One

April 4, 2012:  Amendment One: a form of legal discrimination

TO THE EDITOR:

On May 8, citizens of North Carolina will vote on Amendment One. This amendment will do more than write a ban on same-sex marriage into the North Carolina constitution.

The amendment’s wording reaches much farther and will disrupt the lives of thousands of same-sex and different-sex couples and their families.

The proposed amendment states: “Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state.”

This makes it clear that civil unions for both same-sex and different-sex couples will be banned in North Carolina. In addition, municipal governments that now grant health insurance benefits to same-sex and different-sex domestic partners and their children would not be allowed to do so.

Amendment One will harm thousands of heterosexuals in domestic partnerships, but it most directly targets people in same-sex relationships.

Over the years, many gay, lesbian and bisexual students have told us about the daily fears, homophobic slurs and physical and emotional abuse they suffer because of their sexual orientation.

Suicide rates among teens who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual is three to four times higher than for teens as a whole. In this climate, the last thing we need is a law that builds more discrimination into our state constitution.

The Progressive Faculty Network is concerned that Amendment One represents a step backward to the old days of legal discrimination against a whole category of people. To deny any category of people the right to live as full human beings is to treat them as less than fully human. Such laws always give rise to economic, physical, and emotional harms that should not be tolerated in a fair and just society.

Jeffrey M. Hirsch
Associate professor
UNC Law School

Sherryl Kleinman
Professor
Sociology

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