I find it to generally be a good rule of thumb, when assessing the worth and merit of a proposed constitutional amendment, to judge it against the standard set by the Constitution of the United States: that any freedoms and rights granted apply only to the people, and that any limitations or restrictions of freedom or power apply only to the government. In American history, only one constitutional amendment has ever violated this standard. It is notably the only one ever repealed.
By this standard, North Carolina failed miserably on Tuesday, May 8th, when 61% of voters passed a constitutional amendment that denies basic, equal rights to gay couples who seek to establish a legal bond and commitment to each other that the vast majority of Americans take for granted. This is a sad day for the citizens of the Tar Heel state, particularly the gay ones. It’s not just the fact that such an overwhelming percentage of voters chose to reject the basic rights of a small subset of their communities, it’s that they did so with such careless disregard. That’s the best possible interpretation of the vote results; the alternative is that 61% of the voters in North Carolina simply acted out of spite and malice, exercising nothing more noble than the base exercise of tyranny of the majority.
This is simple, primitive hatred, pure and simple. There are no biblical motivations, merely rationalizations cloaked in cherry picked verses from the bible. Leviticus has a single verse about homosexuality, but it is the only one any devout christian knows or observes. There are over 9.5 million people in North Carolina. Voter turnout was estimated to be 37%, which comes to over 3.5 million people. Of those, 61% voted to make the denial of equal rights to a subset of their number part of the core, legal code of their state. That makes for well over 2 million North Carolinian’s who either never eat shrimp or lobster, never wear poly-cotton blends, never do business or patronize businesses on Sundays, never have any contact at all with their spouses (or, in the case of women, any non-women who aren’t immediate family members) during menstrual cycles, don’t have tattoos, don’t shave, and never get haircuts. That, or they’re just assholes who don’t like gay people and yanked some random bible verses to support their point of view, since all of these things are just as serious as any proscription of gay relationships.
I know it’s also cliché to point this out, but it bears repeating. The people thumping bibles and demanding laws restricting rights keep dragging out the same, tired arguments from their holy (or is it holey?) books, and the media still treats that like a valid argument, so it is important to keep repeating that these people are full of shit. They don’t practice what is in the book, they simply live the way they want to live and then take quotations, à la carte, to justify their asinine positions. That’s not religion, it’s simply hate with an artificial stamp of approval from their deity of choice, and it’s no basis for law in a society that dares call itself civilized.
I’m not saying I think North Carolina is some bastion of civility or decency, but I am still disappointed with this vote. I expect this kind of shit from Mississippi, and we’re never surprised to see it from Arkansas or Alabama, but watching other states race those three for first place on the “Who Wants to be a Backwater, Trash State” reality show that America seems to be sinking into is just depressing. I guess, if I want to try to be optimistic about it, I should offer North Carolina congratulations on taking first place in this week’s standings. Way to go, guys!