Saturday, March 3, 2012

Two Months Out and Counting

On May 8, North Carolinians go to the ballot box to vote in the primary elections for our state.  (The deadline to register to vote in this primary is April 7, by the way.)  About  a year ago, it didn't look like it would be that interesting a primary - then the planets either aligned or spun wildly off their respective axes, depending on your point of view.  As evidence, I submit:

The Republican presidential primary might still be a corral-less rodeo.  Usually, the nomination is well sewn up before the May primary in NC.  This year, however, the party seems to be trying on a new candidate every three weeks, much like a woman going through her closet to find something to wear after the holiday feasting season.  (Yes, Newt Gingrinch does make you look fat and what were you thinking, buying Santorum?  Even a wispy supermodel doesn't look good in that style!)  Therefore, NC's primary (and its resulting convention delegates) might actually matter.

Since there is no Democratic presidential primary, it looked to be an extremely low turnout election, which was going to be a shame, since it's also the primary for other offices.

And then in late January, our governor, Bev Perdue, decided not to seek re-election.  (It's been a tough term.  Let's leave it at that.)  That decision sent Democrats a-scurrying to fling hats into the ring for what promises to be a short, relatively inexpensive campaign.  Gov. Perdue's decision is one that's going to be debated after the fact, I can tell you.  Her decision has guaranteed that what should have been a low turnout of nearly all Republican-registered voters became far more open.

Which brings me to Amendment One, the badly-misnamed "Defense of Marriage" Amendment.  I've gone on record here on this blog (it was a four-parter - One, Two, Three, and Four) as well as on video (here and here) regarding why I think this is a bad amendment and one every freedom-loving, small-government-preferring citizen should reject out of hand.  And two months out from the vote, this matters deeply.  When it was "just" the Republican primary (which it never was, by the way), passage seemed nearly guaranteed.  It was assumed that most Republicans supported this hare-brained, overbroad exercise in how NOT to write legislation and that many people who were against it wouldn't come out to cast a vote.  Gov. Perdue's decision to not seek re-election was a game-changer.  And others have noticed.

The National Organization for Marriage ("NOM," I just love it - sounds like a hungry Muppet) has decided to get involved in a big way in this campaign and they are bringing their checkbook to the party.  Read a little more about these folks here.  And don't be fooled by the name - these people are for marriage like I'm for dog-fighting.  NOM is for a very restrictive view of marriage and gender roles, and the mere fact that I'm typing this instead of baking a bundt cake probably qualifies me for condemnation by the maniacal-laughing-Muppet Coalition.

Also, read up on the official language that will be used to explain the amendment at your local polling place.  Please note that this is not partisan - the language was crafted by the NC Constitutional Amendments Publication Commission.  Notice the phrasing such as "the courts shall ultimately determine."  This is particularly galling, since so many sleekly smug legislators have said, "Well, they are free to make these arrangements by contract."  Two problems with this, Drake.  First, just who are "they," anyway?  I thought this state was made up of "us."  Second, the official explanation of the amendment makes it clear that any private contracts to secure the rights that simply go with marriage (such as domestic violence protection, the right to hospital visitation, and inheritance to name but three) may or may not actually secure those rights.   So sure, go ahead and make those private contracts - the courts will determine if they're worth anything.

Why, oh why, do we do this?  Make no mistake - this is not solely about gay marriage (which, no matter what happens on May 8, will still be illegal in North Carolina on May 9 due to an existing state law).  This ill-conceived, hate-cloaked-in-piety abomination seeks to codify discrimination and second-class citizenship into our state constitution.

I say no.  And I sincerely hope you'll research the issues and vote AGAINST bigotry, fear, intolerance, and hatred, all of which you do when you VOTE AGAINST AMENDMENT ONE!

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