Letter to the Editor: Vote against Amendment One

Published 4:20 pm Thursday, April 5, 2012

The North Carolina State Constitution contains a “Declaration of Rights” that guarantees our personal rights and individual freedoms. Over the last 236 years those rights have been expanded to extend equal rights that originally were only for land- owning white men. They now state: “No person shall be denied the equal protection of the laws; nor shall any person be subjected to discrimination by the State because of race, color, religion, or national origin.”
Now after 236 years of progress extending the rights of citizens, we have an amendment that would deny equal rights to gay or lesbian citizens.  This is overreach by a state government that chooses to waste time and resources on political games.
Those advocating for this amendment argue that other southern states have already passed similar amendments. This may be true but when you look at the politics found in these other states and compare it to the moderate views of most people in North Carolina you can see why we are the exception. Do we want to lose our status as an exceptional state with excellent education that can and does attract major U.S. corporations?
The other argument that advocates are using is that their religious beliefs tell them that marriage should only be between a man and a woman. I respect their beliefs and know they are protected by our “Declaration of Rights” that states: “All persons have a natural and inalienable right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences.” However many Christian denominations accept gays and lesbians as clergy and allow same sex marriage. It is the very constitution that is under attack that guarantees that each denomination is entitled to their beliefs but can’t force them on others who believe differently. Practice your religion freely but let others do the same.
This amendment isn’t a poll for whether we support gay marriage or not. Gay marriage is already not allowed in North Carolina under current state law.  The amendment is about liberty and whether we want a country where all Americans share equal rights under the constitution or if we want to go back to a country run by wealthy white men who slowly do away with 236 years of progress. Vote no on Amendment One on May 8 and keep America free for all Americans.
– Jerry Hardvall, Tryon

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