Perhaps the dumbest argument for the anti-LGBT amendment

The right-wing legislators and advocates pushing the Tillis-Berger, anti-LGBT amendment have several lame arguments, but there’s one that has to be one of, if not the dumbest/weakest. It goes like this:

“Many Democrats (like Governor Perdue) voted for a proposed bill in 1996 to  restate the statutory ban on same sex marriage.  How can they stand now in opposition to our amendment? What’s the difference?”

First of all, there’s an enormous difference between voting for a statute and voting for something that actually alters the state constitution. Is the Tillis-Berger team telling us that they would have voted for constitutional amendments on all of the subjects on which they passed statutes in the recently adjourned legislative session? Of course not.

But laying that aside, here’s the more relevant point: Fifteen years is a long time. Hundreds of millions of Americans have changed their attitudes on marriage and LGBT equality during theat period.  As was the case when millions of Americans opposed interracial marriage in, say, 1955, but supported it in 1970, times are a changin’.

That’s why the haters and the theocrats are in such a hurry to act now. they can see the forces of history are moving against them and they’re desperate to do anything they can to resist the tide before they’re swept away.



  1. HunterC

    September 6, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    If these legislators don’t know the difference between a constitutional provision and a state statute, they need to resign immediately.

    Further, any lawyer-legislator that uses this “a statute equals an amendment” argument should have their ability to practice law in this state suspended until they take some continuing education credits.

    This is embarrassing.

  2. david esmay

    September 6, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    Why would anyone in the legislature support an amendment to institutionalize prejudice against 20% of the population? There is no moral or ethical basis for their arguement, this is pandering to a dwindling and ignorant constituency, nothing more, and nothing less.

  3. Rev. Carl Johnson

    September 6, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    Keep pushing your corrupted Biblical BS, Tom and Phil. Stop telling my how to run my ministry. Stop trying to legalize hatred and discrimination. Why not try to solve the JOBS issue, you chowderheads?

    Finally, I’ve identified the first two people I’d ever ask to leave a religious service, because of their hatred and dark hearts.

  4. Mike P.

    September 6, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    People certainly can and do change their minds; that as such is not the problem. The difficulty, Rob, is that Gov. Perdue and Rep. Hackney have not, in fact, changed their positions on what marriage actually is- right? You’d think they would tell people if they had, or perhaps introduced and/or supported legislation to change the marriage law in NC? Perhaps they should hold a press conference announcing this sudden change? No such thing has happened or will happen, of course, because they are playing a game. That is, they are opposing something (normal marriage) that they used to support because they think that this measure’s presence on the ballot next fall will harm their chances to hold onto the governorship and to win back the statehouse (it will not, in fact, do this, but this is what they think it will do). In any case, they are not really the ones who matter in this debate. There is little doubt how Hackney will vote. If this passes, we all know that he and Perdue will not make opposition to it a feature of their campaigns next year, because they know that pandering to the hard-left of the Democratic party on this issue is not going to win any votes. Incidentally, by 1967, only 16 states had bans on interracial marriage (and no more than 6 had state constitutional provisions prohibiting it)- unlike the 44 states which today have ordinary marriage laws, and the 30 states with constitutional provisions protecting marriage.

    Carl Johnson- they’re not telling you how to run anything. They are proposing an amendment on which you can, in fact, vote. I thought liberals were so keen on ‘separation between church and state’?

  5. HunterC

    September 6, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    Mike P. — Buy a clue.

    It is perfectly possible to support a statute on a matter and oppose an amendment on a matter.

    That is the basic logic you are failing to grasp from this article.

    Existing statutes were stable and predictable.

    Writing vague and untested language into a constitution is the definition of radical activism. Rewriting the constitution opens up existing structures and settled law to redefinition.

    The legislature should not rewrite the constitution without fully understanding the consequences.

    They clearly do not.

    Even the GOP leadership in the NC Senate is talking about “giving more thought” to the language in the eminent domain amendment. Why shouldn’t they do that with this other amendment?

  6. Mike P.

    September 7, 2011 at 10:49 am

    HunterC, I agree that you can oppose an amendment on something while supporting a statute about it. It is difficult, however, to call this amendment ‘discriminatory’ without also believing that the statute is ‘discriminatory.’ This is what Gov. Perdue will not explain. It is also important to understand that lawyers have not litigated many other issues as much as they have the marriage issue, and judges have not shown the sort of zealousness in overturning other sorts of laws that they have shown in overturning marriage laws. This is why the amendment is needed. If you and those who agree with you could promise not to litigate the issue, then we wouldn’t need the amendment. In absence of such a promise, we have no choice but to protect the statute. In Iowa, Democrats told people like me that the statute was ‘enough,’ and for many years refused to take up a proposed amendment. After the Iowa Supreme Court scrapped the marriage law, we were not told ‘oh yes, you were right, we need an amendment’- we were told ‘actually, we never supported the marriage law, and now will refuse to debate the amendment, even though it has the votes to pass.’ This has led to a borderline constitutional crisis in Iowa where judges are not being retained by the people and one man (the Senate majority leader) is blocking the will of the majority of the legislature and the majority of Iowans. The only way to avoid this sort of situation in North Carolina is to let the people vote.

Check Also

NC Policy Watch Policy Prescription #9: Expanding opportunities for justice within the criminal justice system

As the 2018 legislative session gets underway in ...

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

North Carolina election employees could soon be facing stricter scrutiny. House members rolled out a [...]

In one of the largest campaign donation forfeitures in state history, 48 improper donations from the [...]

Friends, neighbors, colleagues of commission chairman Jim Womack submit nearly identical letters cla [...]

When N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger addressed reporters last [...]

In the aftermath of the recent successful push to ward off huge cuts to food assistance programs in [...]

There are a lot of important statistics that confirm just how out of whack the U.S. economy has grow [...]

The post Bite the Apple & NC’s HB2 Legacy appeared first on NC Policy Watch. [...]

When I headed off to college, I could not have predicted that many of the funding streams, positions [...]

Now hiring

NC Policy Watch is now hiring a Managing Editor – click here for more info.