Against North Carolina Amendment One: 57-37

Politics & Current Events

North Carolina voters go to the polls on May 8 to decide whether Barack Obama will be the Democratic nominee for President, and whether Mitt Romney can finally defeat Ron Paul for the Republican nomination.  Voters will also be asked to decide party choices in races of local interest, such as whether Claude "Buck" O'Shields or Derrick Hickey will have the deciding vote on the New Hanover County Commission.

Oh, and also whether the State Constitution should be amended to make discrimination against gay and lesbian citizens the law of the land.

The bad news, for those of us who believe that North Carolina Amendment One is a mean-spirited law unbefitting a great State with a history of resistance to tyranny and standing for liberty, is that polling predicts the Amendment will pass.  The latest poll I've seen shows 57% of likely voters support the Amendment, while 37% oppose it.  I don't know what the missing 6% think, nor do they.

The good news is that primary polling in North Carolina means very little.  Most registered, and even likely, voters don't show up for primaries.  And the odds have actually gotten better.  The proponents of Amendment One chose the primary election in May, rather than the general election in November, because they expected (or hoped) for an energized Republican turnout in the contest between Mitt Romney and Herman Cain (the frontrunner when the Amendment process began).  After the withdrawal of Cain, and Perry, and Bachmann, and Santorum, and maybe Gingrich, their hopes are dashed.  The odds are even.  The North Republican Party is just as apathetic and unmotivated as the North Carolina Democratic Party.

You, on the other hand, will show up to vote, to punish the partisans of pettiness and rout the rednecks of reaction.

Even if you don't live in North Carolina, you can make a difference.  Your instructions follow:

Don't Be Pauline Kael

Political scientists and other nerds love to tell the story of Pauline Kael, a movie critic for The New Yorker magazine, who woke up the morning after election day in 1972 stunned to discover that Richard Nixon would be her President for another four years.  The story goes that Kael was surprised because, "Nobody I know voted for Nixon."  Whether Kael herself voted is unknown. Whether the story is true is unknown. The point is that pointyheads like Pauline Kael, who lived in the upper west side of Manhattan, are so isolated from mainstream America that they might as well live on Mars.

If you live in North Carolina and you're reading a weirdo libertarian blog like Popehat, odds are that you live in one of a small number of cities: Asheville, Charlotte, Chapel Hill, Durham, Greensboro, Raleigh, Wilmington, or Winston-Salem.  In other words, you may be Pauline Kael.  You live in a neighborhood full of yard signs that read "Another Family Against The Amendment".  You aren't surprised to see that the bumper sticker on the car ahead of you has a rainbow. You can buy overpriced groceries at Whole Foods or Fresh Market or a food cooperative.  And because you're surrounded by people who oppose the Amendment, you think everyone in the State opposes it.

You're mistaken.  North Carolina is not an urban state.  This is not to disparage friends in Ahoskie and Burlington and Cullowhee and Denver and Elizabeth City and Farmville and Goldsboro, but that's where the population is.  There are dozens of Farmvilles, and while they don't have a Williams Sonoma  at The Streets at Southpointe the way the snooty people in Durham do, they outnumber you, they vote, and they are far more likely, in Farmville, to vote in favor of this Amendment.

But because you think everyone in the State opposes the Amendment, you haven't voted yet.  You'll get around to it next Tuesday, if there's no soccer practice, and the weather's nice but not too nice, and you're not having a busy day at work.

And when you wake up on Wednesday, stunned to learn that the Amendment passed, you'll shout at your monitor, "NOBODY I KNOW VOTED FOR THE AMENDMENT!"  And you'll probably be right.

But what you won't admit to your friends and neighbors is that you didn't bother to vote at all.  (Because the kids had soccer practice; because the weather was rainy and there was a crowd outside the voting station; because the weather was great and you'd been needing to get out and run; because you were hungry and didn't want to skip lunch so you could vote; because you forgot that North Carolina has early voting (deadline May 5); or because you just moved here and you didn't know that you can register to vote if you show up in person, with photo ID, at an early voting polling station on or before May 5. (Though you know that now.))

The choice is yours: Vote today, or be tortured with guilt as your State slides from a 21st century beacon of sunbelt prosperity into a morass of pre-barbarian anarchy, a place where children are tossed into dog-pits for the amusement of The Lords of Bigotry.

Get The Word Out

Have you bothered your friends, family, and co-workers about Amendment One?  Isn't it time you started?

You can start small.  When you go to the polls at lunch, you will be given a sticker that looks like this:

Even if you're shy, if your workplace is populated by and large of people likely to share your opinion against Amendment One, you can send a powerful message just by wearing this sticker.  It will remind people that there's an election going on.  (Of course, if your workplace is a hive of bigots, you should throw the sticker in the trashcan, or wear it at home, where your dogs and cats will appreciate your civic virtue.)

From this simple act of defiance against tyranny, you can branch out.  You can pester all of the people you know, and even those you don't like the cashier at Whole Foods, about Amendment One, and why they should vote against it.  Remember that in discussing politics with your co-workers and family, it's important not to use insulting language.  Don't use terms like "bigot" or "fundy" or "homophobe" or "Nazi".  The person you're speaking to may support the Amendment, tentatively, or be of two minds.

You should aim to persuade the bigoted fundy homophobic Nazis, not to remind them that you're a smug, self-righteous, hectoring idiot.  Don't be these people.

And if you're the sort of smug, self-righteous, hectoring idiot who thinks that all Republicans, or Libertarians, or people of faith (unitarians excepted)  are bigoted fundy homophobic Nazis, you might want to question your assumptions.  Consider that prominent conservatives, including retired Supreme Court Justice Robert Orr, former Republican gubernatorial candidate Richard Vinroot, and John Locke Foundation president John Hood, have all come out against the Amendment.  In opposing the Amendment, Hood in particular was eloquent:

I think amending North Carolina’s constitution to forbid gay and lesbian couples from receiving any future legal recognition, including civil unions, is unwise and unfair. In my opinion the real threat to marriage is not the prospect of gay people getting hitched. It is the reality of straight people too quickly resorting to divorce, or never getting hitched in the first place.

Should I assume and say that anyone who supports the amendment, including friends and colleagues, must be a bigot? Should they assume and say that anyone who opposes the amendment must be faithless, or hostile to family values? Not if we want to live and work together in a civil society. And not if we actually want to persuade rather than to preen, persecute, or provoke.

Don't preen, persecute, or provoke, but do persuade.  If you persuade a friend to vote against Amendment One, you've doubled your voting power.

If You're Reading This You Can Speak To Anyone On Earth, And Maybe North Carolina Too

Facebook is an irritating mess that I wish I'd never encountered, but it is great for instructing people with short attention spans to perform specific, easily followed tasks: Give me a haystack in Farmville; hit "Like" to show people you care about a Firefly remake; Vote "No" on November 8!

And that's where you come in.  Even if you don't live in North Carolina, you know people who do, or you know people who know people who know people who do.  Share one of the articles linked above, or do some digging and find your own.  Write your own.  Become an internet warrior for freedom.  When the Amendment fails, you can pat yourself on the back knowing that you made a difference.

If That Isn't Enough, Give

For those so inclined, a small donation to the non-profit Campaign to Protect North Carolina Families, if made soon, will help with get-out-the-vote efforts, a television advertising push for this weekend, and, if necessary, a futile legal challenge to the Amendment in court.  There are many other groups opposing the Amendment, but the Campaign seems to be the largest and best organized.

Of course, if we're talking about legal challenges to the Amendment on May 9, we will have failed.  The most important thing that you can do is to vote.  Today.

(We'll take a final look at the Amendment this weekend, when I will have finished transcribing an interview with a couple directly affected by the Amendment.  I'd intended to publish it last week, but aching fingers and other distractions have stymied my efforts. That's no excuse, but it will be rectified soon.)

Last 5 posts by Patrick Non-White

69 Comments

67 Comments

  1. Bob Roberts  •  May 2, 2012 @9:24 am

    Maybe I don't get postmodernism or something, but can you reconcile the following:

    1) “Remember that in discussing politics with your co-workers and family, it's important not to use insulting language. Don't use terms like "bigot" or "fundy" or "homophobe" or "Nazi"….Don't preen, persecute, or provoke, but do persuade.”

    2) “the rednecks of reaction….a morass of pre-barbarian anarchy, a place where children are tossed into dog-pits for the amusement of The Lords of Bigotry.”

  2. b  •  May 2, 2012 @9:53 am

    Well spotted, Bob. Hyperbole works for rallying cries but not for reasonable debate.

  3. Wilhelm Arcturus  •  May 2, 2012 @9:59 am

    A strong message, though I found that using the city of Farmville as an example repeatedly lead my mind down a divergent path involving Zynga and Facebook.

    Heh… they live in Farmville… no really.

    Sorry, I am easily amused.

  4. Patrick  •  May 2, 2012 @10:14 am

    Bob, if you've been sitting at the table for twenty minutes… ;)

    I am glad that you highlighted the "pre-barbaric morass" line. I'm quite proud of it.

  5. Bob Roberts  •  May 2, 2012 @10:57 am

    I'm trying to envision an opponent of Amendment One trying to argue with a coworker or family member, all the time having to remind himself "don't call them a nazi, don't call them a nazi," like John Cleese in the "don't mention the war" episode of Fawlty Towers.

  6. Dan Weber  •  May 2, 2012 @11:03 am

    I had somehow missed that the Amendment even bans civil unions. Wow.

  7. bakerina  •  May 2, 2012 @11:17 am

    For what it's worth — and I know it's probably not worth all that much — I'm pretty much the dictionary definition of a damn liberal. I voted for Obama in 2008, and will be voting for him again in 2012. I'm libertarian on certain social issues (i.e. No States in My Uterus, Please), but in general I like a certain amount of governmental oversight. I hold opinions that might make you roll your eyes and wonder why my parents were allowed to breed. I grew up in a deeply conservative part of Pennsylvania, but I lived in New York City for 20 years before relocating to Silicon Valley. Hell, I even approve of IIED as a cause of action (although I agree that the burden of proof should be very, very high, and that bullshit claims should not try to prop themselves up on an IIED crutch).

    And I think you're bang-on correct, here, Patrick. Not just because you and I share the same assessment of Amendment One, but because smug, hectoring idiocy is useless for advocacy purposes. Once you (the editorial "you") start trotting out words like "Nazi," you've pretty much blown your persuasion wad right there. And if you shoot your mouth off without following through on Election Day, then you've done no favor to the cause for which you're mouthing off. (This applies not only to my fellow pointy-headed liberal types and me, but to my conservative friends, too. As soon as you start comparing us to Stalin because we voted for a tax increase to fund public libraries, I'm going to assume that the conversation is over.)

    So…yeah. Thank you for writing this post, and for engaging my sorry liberal ass here. :)

  8. John  •  May 2, 2012 @11:21 am

    As a "fundy" first by religion, and a classical liberal second by political philosophy, and someone who will vote against the amendment, it sure is nice to know that there are some out there that would still lump me and my fellow brethren in with the bigots, homophobes and nazis. I know you're not necessarily doing so yourself, and providing that as an example of the types of generlizations that people make, but it's been happening a lot lately.

  9. David A  •  May 2, 2012 @11:23 am

    So, Patrick, when the amendment passes and none of these dire consequences come to pass, you'll be back with a post saying, "Sorry, folks, looks like I was wrong," right? No? If the "bigots" are the ones with rational arguments, I'll throw in my lot with them any day. You should too.

  10. Patrick  •  May 2, 2012 @11:37 am

    David A, I'm curious: What is the rational argument for this amendment?

  11. cackalacka  •  May 2, 2012 @12:00 pm

    Oh, I early voted (like any human with a conscience and brain, against.) And I love the hot bar at Whole Foods. That said, I know quite a few people voting for it; I know them as 'assholes.'

    Some folks you can engage. Folks that twist the words of Christ to give them a blank check to hate, the proverbial 27%, are a waste of time and breath.

    I applaud your effort to engage those that haven't thought about it. Those that have, and are for it, aren't reachable.

    The only argument for it is fear and insecurity. It's as if these dudes are afraid that if doesn't pass, on May 9th they'll prefer man-parts instead of boobies or something.

    Your civil liberties argument was very powerful; mine is practical. As tobacco has left, we've got tourism ($6/hr), banking (who in their right mind would want to live in Charlotte?), military (I'm not a spring chicken), & research (that's what I do.)

    Pass the amendment, and see what happens to that last category. We'll be like South Carolina in less than a decade.

  12. Dan Weber  •  May 2, 2012 @12:15 pm

    I recommend libraries in the suburbs during the day for early voting. Take a long lunch and swing on by.

    http://www.app.sboe.state.nc.us/webapps/OS_sites/

  13. Bob Roberts  •  May 2, 2012 @12:16 pm

    Patrick, I suppose one argument for the amendment is that the opponents resort to rhetoric like "rednecks of reaction" and "man-parts instead of boobies."

  14. John  •  May 2, 2012 @12:17 pm

    That's some grade-AAA self-righteous piety of the sort that's normally condemned as the tactic of the religious right. Anyone with a conscience and a brain agrees with you? Remember, a mind is like a parachute…

  15. David A  •  May 2, 2012 @12:25 pm

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not sold for either side—mostly just disgusted by the blatant lies and misrepresentations of the AGAINST side.

    However, I can offer this: My primary instinct when I hear the question of marriage is that the government should just stay out of relationships, and I think you would agree with this. I ask myself then, "Why does the government get involved with marriage?"—or rather, why has it gotten involved in marriage traditionally, since the matter is in such a state of flux today. There can only be one sensible answer, which is that marriage somehow is different from all other relationships into which we might enter. And this can only be true with respect to heterosexual marriages because marriage between two same-sex persons, while extremely important to them, is functionally no different to the rest of society than a strong friendship between them. Now, I don't necessarily subscribe to the "society has a stake in man-woman marriages because they can produce children," but the fact remains that this is the only rational reason for the government to be in the marriage business at all. Either one can accept that societal stake in children, and have the government recognize heterosexual marriages, or one can deny that societal interest and have the government not recognize any marriage whatsoever. Neither of these options entails recognition of same-sex marriage.
    In other words, what reason whatsoever does the government have for recognizing same-sex marriage—and what reason does a same-sex couple have to be recognized? If the answer is that certain benefits (such as insurance) are given to recognized unions, then we ought to join together and campaign against this discrimination in insurance and in whatever other areas it may exist. That discrimination does not exist in the recognition of marriage by government: couples, heterosexual or homosexual, derive no benefit per se because the government recognizes or does not recognize their marriage, but rather from what is done with such recognition.
    No one has the right to be given a document from the government declaring them married—why would they want it?—rather, they (perhaps?) have the right not to be denied certain benefits because they lack such a document. That those benefits are denied is the true problem, not that a little certificate is withheld. Amendment one may exacerbate and bring to light this issue, but neither does it cause the problem nor will voting against solve the problem.

    TL;DR—Government recognition of marriage is irrelevant, as is amendment one.

    Bob Roberts and John have it precisely right. One wonders whether the left here is trying to emulate Westboro Baptist.

  16. Dan Weber  •  May 2, 2012 @12:30 pm

    David A, it sounds like you are arguing for civil unions — letting same-sex couples get the legal protections of marriage, but still allowing marriage to be something a community recognizes.

    Note that Amendment One would make civil unions illegal in North Carolina. Marriage is already defined as between a man and a woman by statute.

  17. cackalacka  •  May 2, 2012 @12:31 pm

    "That's some grade-AAA self-righteous piety of the sort that's normally condemned as the tactic of the religious right. Anyone with a conscience and a brain agrees with you? Remember, a mind is like a parachute…"

    Open it to the cynical fear? Open it to state sanctioned bigotry?

    Sorry, gay marriage is already illegal here, and for a litany of reasons our host posted last week, this amendment is a very bad, unnecessary, idea. One with large consequences. One of those consequences directly affects the quality of and pool of employers in my region.

    I've asked my asshole friends why we need the government to loiter in our gay friends' bedrooms and our gay friends' deathbeds. The only intelligible 'rationale' they've said is 'Ah believe marriage is between ONE MAyun and ONE woman.'

    Y'all are welcome to posit additional rationales for this movement conservative debacle, I suppose the fact that I'm hurting your fee-fees is one. If you're a delicate little flower.

    Understand this: this whole issue is beneath my state; my home for my whole life, and the light of the South. You want folks to be civil about this cynical piece of shit?

    Two words come to mind, but it'll give folks who are already set to vote for this the fucking vapors.

  18. John  •  May 2, 2012 @12:32 pm

    The problem a lot of people have here is that some want to legally enforce all aspects of Christian orthodoxy (which I share, but do not wish to legislate into force).

    The solution for some is freedom.

    The solution for others is to try to enforce _their_ preferred orthodoxy, because the problem for them was really which orthodoxy was being enforced. And those people have no right to claim tolerance and freedom as their principles.

  19. ttl  •  May 2, 2012 @12:33 pm

    "There can only be one sensible answer, which is that marriage somehow is different from all other relationships into which we might enter"

    Or it could be that the state likes to keep tabs on people. The state likes to be able to offer favors to certain groups of people.

    "And this can only be true with respect to heterosexual marriages because marriage between two same-sex persons, while extremely important to them, is functionally no different to the rest of society than a strong friendship between them."

    Is this in regards to the ability to have offspring? Or do you think people don't consider gay couples real couples?

  20. John  •  May 2, 2012 @12:41 pm

    I think everyone already extends civility to those they think deserve it. And then lots of people complain about how incivil political debate has become (aside: I think it's mostly always been that way). If civility is to be acheived, it starts with being civil towards those you don't think deserve it. Because somewhere along the way, you're going to be wrong about what you had certainly believed regarding the motivations of others. Or perhaps you were too cavalier in your generalizations. Or maybe you were just flat wrong on the issue.

  21. Jess  •  May 2, 2012 @12:44 pm

    Patrick brings up what I believe is the real question here. What is the logical argument FOR the ammendment. Seriously, what the hell is the point? Why waste time drafting it, voting on it, and then attempting to enforce it unless it is an act of legislative pandering? Cackalacka, in my opinion, says it perfectly.

  22. David A  •  May 2, 2012 @12:48 pm

    @Dan Weber—no, not at all. I think you've gotten caught up by the word "marriage": that too is irrelevant.
    Again, what is the point of civil unions, besides the benefits given to married couples which I argue shouldn't be limited to them at all? As long as those benefits are the issue, we should deal with those benefits, not with marriage.

  23. Patrick  •  May 2, 2012 @12:52 pm

    David, you're sold all right.

  24. David A  •  May 2, 2012 @1:04 pm

    @ttl Whether people consider gay couples real couples isn't an issue at all—the question is whether it makes sense for society to recognize same-sex marriages as fundamentally different than, say, other long-term same-sex relationships. Truth is, there is no difference, except in how they view themselves. While that's a very important issue to them and their friends and their family (and there are such relationships in my close family, lest you think I'm far removed from the issue), the government isn't here to validate everyone's view of themselves or label for their relationship.
    To be clear, the exact same thing goes for heterosexual couples, save for the possibility of child-bearing, which may or may not be a good enough reason to grant special recognition.

    @Patrick No, yesterday I could have given an argument for the vote against side, but it would have been the first I'd heard that wasn't mere ad hominem. I'm still hoping to hear a decent vote against argument—it would mean I don't have to listen to myself being called a "bigot", "homophobe", "Nazi", and what else have vote-against people called anyone who dares disagree with them?—but I haven't heard one yet.

  25. Lex  •  May 2, 2012 @1:14 pm

    Patrick: Thanks for giving this issue (more) national publicity.

    David A.: [[I'm still hoping to hear a decent vote against argument—it would mean I don't have to listen to myself being called a "bigot", "homophobe", "Nazi", and what else have vote-against people called anyone who dares disagree with them?—but I haven't heard one yet.]]

    OK, here's one: Enactment of Amendment 1 will force the undoing of benefits for domestic partners (both straight and gay) of municipal employees in some areas. That's just mean.

    And as a native North Carolinian on the far side of 50, I don't have a single damn problem with calling Nazis and homophobes and bigots Nazis and homophobes and bigots. I've been listening to your redneck bullshit my entire life, and particularly since Falwell and his ilk started getting prominent in the late 1970s, and I am beyond tired of having public policy dictated by people who think the only operative passages of the Christian Bible are Leviticus, the Pauline Epistles and Revelation and who believe the red-letter parts are heresy.

    I'm sorry, am I being uncivil? So were Amos and Nahum. Suck on it.

  26. John  •  May 2, 2012 @1:25 pm

    As a supporter of free markets, I may like to paint all social democrats as being Weather Underground terrorists-in-waiting, but I don't avail myself of that luxury because it is unfair, lazy and unpersuasive. Similarly, casting all proponents of the amendment as anti-gay violence advocates is unfair, lazy and unpersuasive. It accomplishes a lot for signalling, rallying the base, and chest pufferation. But it's not going to change anyone's mind. I know a lot of proponents of amendment one, and to think they just ignore the Gospel because they just want to hate hate hate is a laughable fantasy.

  27. cackalacka  •  May 2, 2012 @1:30 pm

    "Because somewhere along the way, you're going to be wrong about what you had certainly believed regarding the motivations of others. Or perhaps you were too cavalier in your generalizations. Or maybe you were just flat wrong on the issue."

    You've got plenty of white-space to tell me just why I'm wrong.

    Give me one solid reason, apart from protect-the-family/one man, one woman nebulous nonsense.

    Hell, it doesn't have to outweigh hospital visits, deathbed issues, busted adoptions/families, half the employers in Research Triangle going back north, or any of the other directly/tangentially related civil right/economic impacts.

    Just one little-itty-bitty reason, and I'll eat crow. Right here.

  28. Patrick  •  May 2, 2012 @1:30 pm

    David, I don't think you could give a decent argument in favor of the amendment, because you haven't given a decent argument against it. You haven't done anything except argue that what I write is indecent, betraying your utter lack of humor in the process because you cannot take a fucking joke and because, while you are literate, you cannot read between the lines. Oh, you've also argued in favor of some Heinleinian fantasyland in which the government doesn't define or recognize marriage at all.

    We're great fans of the work of Robert A. Heinlein. Unfortunately Heinlein wasn't from North Carolina. He was from Kansas. And we're not in Kansas David.

    Here in the real world, in North Carolina anyway, we're discussing whether voters should reject this Amendment, which does not address your fantasy. Do you have anything to say about the Amendment itself, pro or con? If you don't, I'll write a post on the virtues of Robert A. Heinlein's fantastic future universe in which Martians may marry Playboy Playmates, three or four or five at a time, a post in which you may wallow to your heart's content. I'll write it next Wednesday.

    But until that time, I'm strongly considering banning you from further reading at this site because you're exhibiting all the signs of an internet troll.

    Govern yourself accordingly.

  29. John  •  May 2, 2012 @1:34 pm

    Um, I already said I opposed the amendment. I said you should be civil all the time because somewhere along the way you'll be wrong.

  30. John  •  May 2, 2012 @1:36 pm

    If the rule is that you're free from being civil when you're utterly convinced that you're right, then we might as well not value civility, because we're not gonna get any of it when it matters.

  31. cackalacka  •  May 2, 2012 @1:47 pm

    Yes, well then, it's settled.

    We all should be nice to bigots because Franklin Graham can make a stronger argument than my bishop (Curry), and because Leveticus.

    Ergo, your God is better than my God. Got it.

    Seriously, this whole ballot is beneath contempt. As for your notion that we've got a set of Marquess of Queensberry Rules, where one side has to play Ghandi and the other is free to be Erik Rudolf, well, I must insist that you are most welcome to go fuck yourself, good sir.

  32. John  •  May 2, 2012 @1:48 pm

    Well if that's the civility with which you treat the people that are actually voting with you… are you sure you're not some double-agent, sent from the proponents to discourage their cause?

  33. John  •  May 2, 2012 @1:55 pm

    Seriously, unless you're aiming at the long play here and hoping the amendment passes to ultimately bring down the case _against_ SSM (which may well be a winning play in my estimation), your actions and treatment seem counter-productive to your stated goals. The average North Carolinian, much, much less the marginal voter on amendment one, is not going to feel tugged to vote against if this is how the opponents conduct themselves. It almost seems as if you're more interested in basking in the glow of your enlightened elan than you are in making any sort of political advancement for your ostensible cause.

  34. Patrick  •  May 2, 2012 @2:00 pm

    Who are you talking to John? Me? I already read your comment about open minds and ignored it, because I don't have an open mind on the issue.

    There is nothing you could do to persuade me that Amendment One is a good law or a good idea. My mind is utterly closed to the idea.

    If you're angry because Lex is using the word "Nazi" to make a point (not the same point I was making), he's only following in my footsteps, and while I don't recommend using the word "fuck" in arguing this amendment with friends, family, and co-workers, we don't shy from profanity at Popehat, when it serves to make a point.

    Except for that milquetoast Ken. Butter wouldn't melt in that fuckwad's mouth.

  35. John  •  May 2, 2012 @2:01 pm

    cackalacka.

    Ironically enough, my last post was almost a summary of your original post.

  36. John  •  May 2, 2012 @2:28 pm

    And just for the record, I don't expect to persuade anyone to favor amendment one, nor would I try. I was mainly talking about the ease with which opponents were slandering proponents. Like I said before, I'm very familiar with a church culture that has a lot of the proponents. Are there churches preaching hate? Sure. But it's not any that I have been to. The churches I've attended of various denominations, but theologically conservative, take very seriously the idea that we're all sinners by our very nature, and none are righteous. They find homosexual activity a sin, but don't hate homosexuals anymore than they hate themselves. That may not make sense to you theologically, and you certainly may not agree with the political results (I tend not to), but it is truely how they feel. I guess they feel that benefits from the government constistute a violation of their religious liberty because they believe it, in essence, constitutes a transfer to homosexuals for their marriage. Or maybe they don't want to have their representative government endorse an activity they find wrong. I don't know, like I said, I don't find their political arguments convincing. (For the life of me, I don't understand for a second the idea that homosexual marriage "threatens" heterosexual marriage – I actually find that to demonstrate a lack of faith). I honestly don't know what proportion of proponents those I'm talking about make up. It'd be impossible to tell, and any attempt I made to number it would be pulling something out of my rear, and given to the bias that I bring to the issue.

    I doubt many of you believe me. It makes perfect sense for you to be skeptical. That's fine, I'm just some guy on the internet, and it's a very convenient argument for me to make (not to advance amendment one, which I don't support, but to support my brethren). But I'd also point out that it's also very, very easy to pick out elements on the side of your political opponents, and then use that smear the entirety of your political opponents. And not even cynically, but to do so earnestly.

    So if you're tempted to say it's all about hate, the fact is, it simply isn't. Not for every proponent.

  37. Bob Roberts  •  May 2, 2012 @2:46 pm

    The original topic of this thread was how to argue for Amendment One with relatives and coworkers without calling them names.

    Based on the comments, this doesn't appear very likely.

    Imagine a relative or coworker trying to convince you of something while valiantly suppressing the strong conviction that you're a Nazi.

  38. Derrick  •  May 2, 2012 @3:25 pm

    It can't be much different than a relative or coworker trying to convince you of something while suppressing the strong conviction that you're going to hell.

  39. John  •  May 2, 2012 @3:37 pm

    Do those repressing charges of Nazism ever consider themselves chief among the Nazis?

  40. Laura K  •  May 2, 2012 @3:42 pm

    In what universe is a constitutional (state or any other variety) amendment that backs up an already discrimitory and unjust law, not sheer malice, hate and bigotry? Marriage is already illegal in NC if you're not straight, right? So is this not the legislative equvalent of rubbing that in the face of everyone already stuck with the law by putting it in the CONSTITUTION??? David and John,your various efforts to suggest that there could be a rational argument for this amendment or that to support it is not an endorsement of hate are quite tiring. The excessive and gymnastic contortions of both logic and faeces in your statements are not very alluring either.
    That's the best I can do without using words like Nazi, Homophobe, etc…oh well. I have got a headache after all.

  41. bruce hyman  •  May 2, 2012 @4:17 pm

    dear friends, I deeply apologize for the State of North Carolina, and for its voters. Please understand that I live in the People's Republic of Chapel Hill.
    And, btw, this is vastly more than just an ant-gay measure. It is equally anti-heterosexual-cohabitators, too.

  42. John  •  May 2, 2012 @4:20 pm

    I was addressing SSM that last time. I think the proponents feared without the amendment, they'd be more open to a judge bringing SSM into being despite the law. So that would be why the amendment even with the law. It may well backfire, as has been suggested by some SSM opponents. But that's a miscalculation.

  43. Derrick  •  May 2, 2012 @4:35 pm

    I know it's difficult to discuss this BS Amendment with religious/social conservatives without them getting all butthurtabout it. Personally, I find it to be a no-win situation; no one more readily works themselves up into a raging butthurt than social conservatives. The only one worse? MY MOM.

    Now, I have a long and hard history of getting conservatives butthurt. I mean, I just pump away at them until things get awkward and sticky. And I know how annoying it is for every argument to end with you guys rolling around on the floor like an MMA fight. But luckily Patrick mentioned a few alternatives to the rough n' tumble.

    If you can't discuss the issue without being a hardass about it: DON'T. Not because of stupid reasons like someone's feelings, but because it's wasted effort. What's the point of pulling it out on someone who's just not going to reciprocate? I'd concentrate more on getting out the vote.

    Maybe people just skipped the whole part about Paulie Shore or whoever the fuck (I'm not scrolling up anymore, I'm lazy) in their rush to get butthurt. It's a game of numbers and awareness, not some forum for you to shoot your hot load of knowledge all over or co-workers or grandma or whatever. Tell your fixie-riding, mustache-wearing, tight-pants-having hipster friends to put down their PBR's for 10 minutes and bloody vote on the stupid thing. Say you can post it on instagram or something.

    If there's a point to Patrick's article, it's make sure you and everyone you know actually vote. It's definitely not a christian-insult contest (which I'd win) or a how-to guide on how to slowly massage the issue with the guy standing next to you in the bathroom.

  44. Laura K  •  May 2, 2012 @4:36 pm

    well, look at that, more dancing intestinal byproduct!

  45. bakerina  •  May 2, 2012 @4:44 pm

    @Derrick: Oo, I forgot about the "you're going to hell" arguers. That's something I don't miss about my little salt-of-the-earth hometown at all.

    And yeah, when I made that whole "Nazi" = "shooting the rhetorical wad" comment, I should have noted that context matters. If Lex wants to call a Nazi/homophobe/bigot a Nazi/homophobe/bigot, that's totally cool with me, and I'm not about to tell him to tone it down and maybe be a little nicer.

  46. bakerina  •  May 2, 2012 @4:48 pm

    Derrick, is that a Regular Show reference in your first paragraph?!

  47. Ken  •  May 2, 2012 @7:32 pm
  48. AlphaCentauri  •  May 2, 2012 @8:03 pm

    Fear causes people to strike out, even if their blows fall on people who pose no threat to them. If you are going to persuade people to change their minds, you have to understand why they support this measure. What are they afraid will happen if it isn't passed? Why do those potential events frighten them? If you can't see the issue from the other party's point of view, you have no hope of addressing their concerns in a way that will reassure them. Dismissing them as Nazis — i.e., declaring their opinions unimportant because they are unworthy of respect — destroys your own power to persuade.

    This measure seems particularly illogical, given that gay marriage is already illegal. Surely there have been focus groups trying to get proponents to concretely spell out their fears. What do we know about the results?

  49. Bob Roberts  •  May 2, 2012 @8:56 pm

    I have to say I've seen a lot of fear and striking out from *opponents* of the amendment.

  50. Patrick  •  May 2, 2012 @9:13 pm

    Yeah I've seen that myself Bob. Why is it that when we try to amend the Constitution, to turn a minority of citizens into a permanent underclass, they react with fear? Why do they strike out, rather than just lying back and enjoying it?

    What's wrong with these people?

  51. Bob Roberts  •  May 2, 2012 @9:41 pm

    All I can say is: "if [you]…think[] that all Republicans, or Libertarians, or people of faith (unitarians excepted) are bigoted fundy homophobic Nazis, you might want to question your assumptions."

  52. David  •  May 3, 2012 @5:06 am

    Anyone who argues that gay marriage shouldn't be recognized because *no* marriage should be formally recognized by the government, as if this outcome has a snowball's chance in hell of actually happening and wouldn't be violently opposed by the same people who propose and vote for anti-gay-marriage amendments, is the worst kind of disingenuous assclown.

    Just own up to your bigotry.

  53. Lex  •  May 3, 2012 @5:43 am

    [[If the rule is that you're free from being civil when you're utterly convinced that you're right, then we might as well not value civility, because we're not gonna get any of it when it matters.]]

    Folks, when we have government officials ordering torture and illegal military invasions, banksters stealing every goddamn thing we own and the extraction industries deciding that they're going to get every last dime of their $27 trillion in latent wealth out of the ground regardless of how many wells they poison and how many babies they deform, then "civility" is the wrong hill to die on.

  54. piperTom  •  May 3, 2012 @6:05 am

    Some of the supporters DO have a reason.

    I had this discussion with a friend who is generally libertarian on most issues. He's annoyed that "activist" judges in other states have overturned statutes defining marriage. Thus NC's existing (bigoted) statute needs to reinforced in the state's constitution.

    I told him to shut up and the reason he should shut up is that we had held a vote and that 51% did not like his opinions. He got the analogy immediately. There was much more discussion and by the end, he had decided he opposed the amendment, but still wasn't sure it was worth his time to drive to the polls. "It's only one vote."

    I have sent him a link to Patrick's post.

  55. Laura K  •  May 3, 2012 @6:41 am

    BobRoberts, you wouldn't be 'excepting Unitarians' as a 'people of faith' because you KNOW their most likely reaction to this ammendment is going to be fighting it with every bit of energy every congregation in NC can spare? Would you? Does that mean that because of our likely protests against this ammendment, we aren't a real 'people of faith?'
    Oh, and pointing out the inherrent hatred in this ammendment is not saying that any republican/conservative/'person of faith' (I do use that term lightly) is a homophobic Nazi. It's simply an argument that supporting this ammendment–itself–is a hateful act. Now, if people are willing to draw a conclusion that supporting one act of bigotry and homophobia makes you prone to do it again…

  56. Laura K  •  May 3, 2012 @6:45 am

    Derrick, I love your comments and none of my gyrating crap remarks were directed at them.

  57. Patrick  •  May 3, 2012 @6:56 am

    Laura K, while I didn't deem Bob's last comment to merit a response (see comment #4), he was quoting me.

    My remark concerning Unitarians wasn't actually about Unitarians. It concerns a certain weltanschauung depressingly common in certain social circles in which I travel.

  58. Laura K  •  May 3, 2012 @7:16 am

    Argh. Thank you Patrick. I missed the quotation marks and their significance.

  59. scott rice  •  May 3, 2012 @9:47 am

    Ron Paul is for LIBERTY!! Giving the POWER BACK TO THE STATES.I hate to see the bashing of Ron Paul when Romney & Obama ARE EXACTLY THE SAME!! WAKE UP & KEEP NC IN THE BIBLE BELT!!

  60. PeeDub  •  May 3, 2012 @11:58 am

    Killer spam you guys get around here.

  61. Laura K  •  May 3, 2012 @1:32 pm

    Patrick, appropos of nothing beyond an attempt to distract my vision from the insane blinding Ron Paul pitch…how did you decide on a photo of William Tecumseh Sherman as your id/avatar/whatever it is picture? (I have been wanting ask this and know it's off topic but possibly connected with this topic in your post…if you squint)

  62. Dan Weber  •  May 4, 2012 @2:56 pm

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnNj2cAEcdA

    Harvey Gantt & Richard Vinroot on Amendment One

  63. Dan Weber  •  May 5, 2012 @11:44 am

    Free comic book day!

    In you are in North Carolina and haven't voted yet, take your family to the polls to vote early, then head off to your Friendly Neighborhood Comic Book Store. There is something for everybody.

    http://www.freecomicbookday.com/storelocator

  64. Abhijit  •  May 6, 2012 @7:57 pm

    "There are dozens of Farmvilles, and while they don't have a Williams Sonoma at The Streets at Southpointe the way the snooty people in Durham do…"

    Have actually you ever been to Durham…ever? Lol, you clearly don't know what you're talking about and when you talk about the "Snooty people in Durham". No creditability. You sound like a bitter old bugger afraid of losing mightily in two short days.

  65. Scott Jacobs  •  May 6, 2012 @10:16 pm

    Been nice knowing you, Abh…

  66. Patrick  •  May 7, 2012 @3:59 am

    Poor John Derbyshire: reduced from National Review to trolling at third tier law blogs.

  67. SPQR  •  May 7, 2012 @8:30 am

    Lex writes: Folks, when we have government officials ordering torture and illegal military invasions, banksters stealing every goddamn thing we own and the extraction industries deciding that they're going to get every last dime of their $27 trillion in latent wealth out of the ground regardless of how many wells they poison and how many babies they deform, then "civility" is the wrong hill to die on.

    I love how you self-parody there, Lex. Way to go.

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