North Carolina’s Amendment One. You know about it. You’ve read about it, and you probably have an opinion about it. On May 8, residents of N.C. will vote whether or not to pass this state amendment that will have a great affect on N.C. family life. The amendment would “bar legal recognition of any union besides marriage between one man and one women, including civil unions and domestic partnerships for gay and straight couples,” according to a Huffington Post article on the subject.
Clearly, N.C. has provided a good amount of support for the amendment, as the state Senate approved legislation placing the measure on the ballot already. But there has been a great backlash on this amendment, causing a great “Vote Against” movement in the state. U.S. Senator Kay Hagan is against the amendment and urges N.C. residents to oppose it as well, according to the Associated Press. She said she believes that such an amendment would “harm the state’s ability to recruit business and jobs and have negative consequences for families and children.” College campuses across the state are agreeing with Hagan and are speaking out, including students right here at Elon.
One Elon student, senior Liv Dubendorf, is someone whom I agree with and I believe that what she said in a Pendulum article relates directly to a talk given Feb. 24 by Marvin Ellison: “People on the side to support the amendment of this magnitude view it as a moral issue — they are trying to protect the values they hold dear and they are reluctant to change because they are worried about the sanctity of their family,” she said. “Ironically, people against the amendment are equally concerned for their families — this amendment would proclaim an unmarried couple’s union not protected by law and not afforded the same legal privileges as a married couple.”
Marvin Ellison, an ordained Presbyterian minister, spoke at Elon Feb. 24 in his seminar– “Is Same-Sex Marriage a ‘Must’ or a ‘Bust’? Rethinking the Justice Agenda.” In his speech, Ellison touched on important issues surrounding the gay marriage controversy and brought to the audience a new way of approaching the debate – through a religious lens.
He pointed out that it is not just an issue of gay couples being allowed to join together in a union, but is also a question of the institution of marriage as an entity.
“I propose that we view marriage, family and intimate relationships through a justice lens,” Ellison said. “Justice is about sharing. It’s about the fair distribution of goods and resources and it’s also about recognition – showing respect for persons and honoring their humanity.”
Wow. This to me is a grand example of why Ellison’s speech as a whole was so powerful. He put this issue into a brand new context through a religious lens and through the lens of discussing marriage as a whole.
“To deny a group of people the freedom to marry and the moral right to love and to be loved is not a minor invconvenience, rather a disclusion that is unjust,” Ellison said.
THANK YOU. Ellison put into words in his talk a lot of what I’ve been feeling about this entire debate. It’s his rational and informed reasoning that I think needs to be spread to more people not only in N.C. in regards to Amendent One, but around the United State and the rest of the world. Ellison pointed out that many Christians who may be opposed to gay marriage have never heard a solid argument for it from a religious standpoint. Think about it: if Ellison has the ability to affect so many people in that one speech, imagine what his words could do if broadcasted to a larger audience.
It’s simply not fair. I consider this time to be similar to the Civil Rights Movement. The trials and tribulations that gays go through to get married or even to just be recognized as a couple is similar to the issues experienced by blacks 60 years ago in America. Discriminated against for something that they could not help and that should not matter and although some stereotypes still exist, America is past that.
So let’s get past this too, step up and vote against Amendment One – I know I will.