Monday, October 10, 2011

NC Gov. Perdue Comes Out Against Marriage Amendment

Official photo of Governor Beverly Perdue (D-NC).NC Governor Bev PerdueWell, folks, here we go again. Another bigoted politician is trying to score points -- and votes -- by using marriage equality as a wedge issue. As you may have heard, State Representative Jim Forrester (R), who represents my district (Gaston County), was successful in getting a bill passed over the summer that will put a constitutional amendment on the ballot in May 2012. The measure is being referred to unofficially as Amendment One.

Currently, 29 states have amended their constitutions to define marriage as only a union of  one man and one woman. Of those, 17 also ban civil unions and two, Virginia and Michigan go further in banning any contractual agreements intended to convey any of the rights of marriage.

Although many of those battles were strongly opposed by activists and grass roots organizations, public opinion was largely against us. This time around, however, things are different. A recent Elon University statewide poll showed that 56% of NC resident oppose the amendment.

NC Governor Bev Perdue released a statement on Friday, where she came out against the amendment: “I believe that marriage is between one man and one woman: That’s why I voted for the law in 1996 that defines marriage as between one man and one woman, and that’s why I continue to support that law today. But I’m going to vote against the amendment because I cannot in good conscience look an unemployed man or woman in the eye and tell them that this amendment is more important than finding them a job. In addition, a number of legal experts have argued that this amendment, if passed, could eliminate legal protections for all unmarried couples in our state, regardless of sexual orientation. Right now, my focus, the General Assembly’s focus, and North Carolina’s focus needs to be on creating jobs.”

Essentially, Perdue is covering her ass with this statement. North Carolina's unemployment rate in August stood at 10.4%. The coastal region and outer banks are still rebuilding from the summer's devastating hurricanes, which left thousands homeless. Her statement is largely strategic, if not disingenuous. She doesn't want to be seen as a governor who gets bogged down in social issues during a time of dire economic crisis. But that doesn't mean she's had a change of heart.

Make no mistake about it, Perdue is smart, but she's no friend of the gays.
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