Do not risk judges making decision for us

Published 5:33 pm Monday, April 16, 2012

My first question would be how does the author (Leah Justice) of the April 6 article know that “Polk County mirrors state dissent on Amendment 1”?  What statistics does Ms. Justice have to make such a statement?
The article goes on to correctly state that 30 other states have passed similar amendments and that in every state where a marriage amendment has been placed on the ballot, voters have approved it.
In California, not known as a bastion of conservative folks, the voters had to vote on just such an issue not once, but twice. First four judges in San Francisco overturned the people’s vote; hence the need for a Constitutional amendment. Then in November of 2008 in a state election the voters of California voted again and the amendment to solidify the definition of “marriage” was passed again, 52 percent to 47 percent or a margin of over 300,000 votes. So what happens next, you might ask? Well, District Court Judge (Vaughan Walker, himself gay) overturned the voters again!
Does anyone here need to ask why this is being suggested as a Constitutional amendment in North Carolina?
With regard to the issues surrounding employment-related benefits for domestic partners (same sex or opposite sex), N.C. law professor Maxine Eichner (UNC School of Law) must not know that employer-provided benefits are governed by ERISA – a federal law which preempts state laws. So Ms. Eichner’s concern that the amendment could prevent insurance companies from offering insurance benefits to same and opposite sex domestic partners is unfounded and not an issue; it is difficult to believe that she did not already know this. Of the 30 other states that have passed similar amendments not one state, not one insurance company has been “prevented” from offering coverage in this regard.
In the same issue of the TDB, we were treated to a journalistic viewpoint from a Mr. Jerry Hardvall. His stance is that this amendment is going to deny equal rights to gay or lesbian citizens. Yet in his same letter to the editor, Mr. Hardvall correctly reiterates that gay marriage is already not allowed in N.C. under current state law. So specifically what is being denied should the voters of North Carolina choose to amend or codify the N.C. constitution by voting “Yes” on amendment 1? Mr. Hardvall ends his piece by saying “keep America free for all Americans;” who is he kidding?
While gay people have every right to their private lives, they do not have the right to redefine marriage for everyone else and without an amendment to the N.C. Constitution, we risk having the will of the people over turned by Judges that have an agenda of their own – just like in California.
– Steve Silvia, Columbus

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox