By all appearances, North Carolina lawmakers are headed toward an historic (and terrible) vote the week after next. Unless something changes, members of the General Assembly will take the essentially unprecedented action of amending the state constitution so that it formally and permanently denies a basic human right (the right to marry) to hundreds of thousands of citizens.
It is a sad and remarkable state of affairs.
But here’s something that’s perhaps even more remarkable: the two principal architects of this development — the men who are calling the special legislative session and who will oversee the passage of the proposed amendment; two of the three most powerful individuals in North Carolina government — have yet to specifically articulate the reasons they are taking this extraordinary action.
Today, just 11 days prior to the scheduled legislative session, neither House Speaker Thom Tillis nor Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger has explained why North Carolina needs to take this action. All they’ve done is defer to the radical right-wingers in their own party and offer vague statements about wanting to let the people be heard, blah, blah….
I’m sorry, boys, but that just doesn’t cut it. If the “Defense of Marriage Act” ever becomes law in this state, there will be two people chiefly responsible for it; two men who had it within their power to make the thing happen or stop it. Those two are Tillis and Berger.
Indeed, if the amendment becomes law it will deserve to be called the “Tillis-Berger Amendment.” That such a situation could arise without either of those individuals ever clearly stating why our state needs such a radical and discriminatory amendment is almost as shocking and offensive as the amendment itself.