Bishops of the three dioceses in North Carolina have spoken out against passage of Amendment One, the controversial amendment to the state’s constitution its supporters say defends heterosexual marriage. Citing Jesus’ mandate to love each of our neighbors as we love ourselves (Mt. 22: 37-40), the bishops said yesterday the proposed amendment “falls far dangerously short of that standard.”
The proposed amendment to Article 14 of the North Carolina Constitution states, "Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be 9 valid or recognized in this State. This section does not prohibit a private party from entering 10 into contracts with another private party; nor does this section prohibit courts from adjudicating 11 the rights of private parties pursuant to such contracts." Early voting on the amendment already has begun; it is on the ballot May 8th.
In a nutshell, the bishops –Michael Curry (diocesan -North Carolina); Clifton Daniel, III (diocesan - East Carolina), and G. Porter Taylor (diocesan - Western North Carolina)—cited not only the injustice to the gay and lesbian citizens but also harmful potential applications of the amendment reaching beyond the community it intends to target.
“Almost 90 per cent of the 222,832 North Carolina couples who would be immediately affected by this legislation are heterosexual couples” who are not legally married, the bishops state. “If it passes," they say, "Amendment One would likely outlaw legal protection for all unmarried couples. They could lose health care, retirement benefits, hospital visitation rights, inheritance rights and Social Security benefits. Nine municipalities in our state currently offer family benefits for unmarried employees, and these protections would almost certainly disappear under the amendment.”
The bishops also cite the loss of legal protections for victims of domestic violence when families of unmarried couples are concerned, loss of legal rights of the grandparents of children of unmarried parents, and the loss of parental/custody rights for unmarried couples – which would likely have a detrimental affect on the children.
We oppose Amendment One because the love of God, and the way of love that has been revealed in Jesus of Nazareth compels us to do so. We oppose Amendment One because every time we baptize someone in The Episcopal Church, the entire congregation vows to ‘strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being.’ We oppose Amendment One because it is unjust and it does not respect the dignity of every human being in the State of North Carolina.”
-- Bishops Diocesan of the three Dioceses of the Episcopal Church in North Carolina
WANT TO KNOW MORE?
Bishop Curry’s theological reflections on Amendment One (video):
The NC Council of Churches toolkit: http://www.nccouncilofchurches.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Amendment_...
The NCC is on record opposing any constitutional marriage amendment (state or federal) since 2004. A policy statement unanimously approved by the Council’s Executive in March, 2004 said, “…We unite in affirming that no person or class of persons should be subjected to violence, harassment, and discrimination because of sexual orientation. ‘The church’s firm support of civil rights for gay persons ought not depend upon agreement concerning the theological and ethical appropriateness of the homosexual orientation or of specific same-sex acts. Civil rights support ought to be considered an expression of Christian concern for basic social justice’…”
The NCC lists these organizations opposed to the amendment : The North Carolina Council of Churches, The North Carolina NAACP, Religious Affairs, Standing on the Side of Love, North Carolina Unitarian Universalists Organizing to Protect ALL Families, Methodist Federation for Social Action, The Baptist Peace Fellowship, People of Faith for Just Relationships (Asheville), Interfaith Voice (Winston Salem), Clergy For Equality (Charlotte), The Religious Coalition of Orange and Durham Against Amendment 1 (R-CODA-A1)