Many individuals of the LBGTQ community have experienced a series of legislation to ban or support their right to marry within a state. The most notorious legislation is Prop 8 in California. North Carolina is now joining in the debate with Amendment One. This amendment to the state constitution would define marriage as the unity of two adults, regardless of gender.
Amendment One is gaining support and dissent from both sides as the date for voters to express their opinion on the amendment approaches. Despite the strong arguments from both sides, the amendment is likely to be defeated. North Carolina has a strong faith base, and many individuals who practice their faith believe marriage is only between a man and a woman. Dr. Marvin Ellison spoke at Elon University in support of recognizing marriage as the unity of two adults, regardless of gender. Dr. Ellison is a gay minister and believes the root cause of this controversy is not gay rights, but justice for all.
“The church should stop promoting marriage and promote justice and love,” said Dr. Ellison. He also advocates for using a faith based justice lens to support gay rights. Although he supports the opposition to Amendment One he argues that legislation is just the beginning of the change.
“Inclusion is good, but transformation is better,” said Dr. Ellison. Legislation to recognize same sex marriage is good, but in order to truly support the LBGTQ community, societal norms need to transform.
While Dr. Ellison raises good points, they are very idealistic. Societal norms have been around for centuries and change will only come about after several years of advocacy.
Opponents of Amendment One argue that it will negatively impact the economy, and attack citizens’ personal freedoms. All of these instances may occur, but are not likely to result. There is not an overwhelming majority of LBGTQ individuals in North Carolina. Therefore, the economy will not be as drastically impacted as opponents suggest.
“North Carolina is one of the most business-friendly states in the nation, and this amendment would harm our state’s ability to recruit the innovators and businesses that are driving our economic recovery,” Hagan said. Hagan accurately defines North Carolina’s economy, but fails to state anything about the LBGTQ community’s involvement in the economy.
No matter the outcome of Amendment One, it will ultimately just continue to spur the debate on gay rights. Only after several more years of advocacy and debate will Americans see any societal shifts in support or opposition of this issue.