I should preface the following by clarifying that this post is not meant to upset anyone or belittle other people’s opinions. Read carefully and remember that this is not intended to be an affront to your personal beliefs. This is as much about law and the purpose of our legal protections as it is about religion.
North Carolina Amendment One
For those of you who are unaware, North Carolina’s state constitution was amended today. The new amendment, Amendment One, reads as follows: “Constitutional amendment to provide that marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State.”
Since 1995, North Carolina has had the following law on the books: “N.C.G.S. 51‑1.2. Marriages, whether created by common law, contracted, or performed outside of North Carolina, between individuals of the same gender are not valid in North Carolina.”
So what purpose does Amendment One serve if a law already exists that serves the same purpose? Why create a redundant constitutional amendment that does nothing to alter the legal landscape for gays? The reason for such an amendment is to serve as an exclamation point. To express powerful majority’s hostility toward a disenfranchised minority in the most conspicuous and mean way possible – by etching it into the constitution.
Not NC’s First Rodeo
Amendment One is not North Carolina’s first redundant constitutional amendment. In 1875, the state’s old constitution was amended for a surprisingly similar purpose. Despite the fact that a law already existed outlawing interracial marriage, the constitution was amended with the following language: “all marriages between a white person and a Negro or between a white person and a person of Negro descent to the third generation inclusive are, hereby, forever prohibited.”