I try to keep this website light-hearted, but how can anyone ignore the same-sex marriage debate going on in our state right now?
If you've been paying attention to the news, the Tar Heel state just took a big step towards losing its status as the last state in the Southeast to be without a Constitutional amendment defining marriage between a man and a woman.
In case you weren't clear, same-sex marriages are currently illegal in North Carolina. Adding an amendment to the state's constitution would just reiterate that ban. An amendment would also likely ensure future difficulties for lawmakers to extend marriage rights to same sex couples.
Domestic partnership rights are also at stake.
People on both sides of the issue have been crying out. Protests are going on in the streets. People are getting fired up on social media sites. And eventually, people will likely take their plights to the polls in May.
[The Senate voted 30-16 Tuesday to let voters decide in the May primaries whether the state Constitution should ban same-sex marriage. The House approved the measure Monday, 75 to 42.]
I covered this exact issue in Missouri in 2004. The Show-Me state was the first state to ban gay marriage after Massachusetts legalized same-sex weddings. A lot of eyes were on Missouri back then.
At the time, proponents of same-sex marriage kept bringing up the issue of civil rights... just as it is being brought up currently in North Carolina.
I remember interviewing a reverend in Missouri before the big vote. He was unique because he was a gay rights advocate and a reverend of a fairly popular church in conservative Springfield. He claimed that in 50 years, the nation would be embarrassed of its anti-gay movements. He said in a few decades, we'd all deny any support of anti-gay movements, just as people are now in denial of ever being racist during the Civil Rights Era.
He said during the Civil Rights Movement, a good portion of society made the argument that blacks and whites shouldn't marry because it was against God's will. The reverend said he'd be hard pressed to find a person in present-day society who would admit to that old way of racist thinking.
Do you think he has a valid point?
Regardless of your stance, people are gearing up for a tough battle. We will likely endure several months of heated debates... and thereafter. There will also be people who are against supporting an amendment simply because they don't want to make changes to a sacred document, such as our Constitution.
As a journalist, I wonder how we'll view this debate in 50 years. I wonder how it will be written in our history books. I wonder what our grandchildren will think of this time period. Will our country look back and call this our last Civil Rights Era? I'd love to hear your thoughts.