Friday, April 27, 2012

NC Amendment One: Thoughts and Feelings

In this year's primary, North Carolina has a proposed Amendment on the ballot.  Amendment One reads as follows: 

"Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State. This section does not prohibit a private party from entering into contracts with another private party; nor does this section prohibit courts from adjudicating the rights of private parties pursuant to such contracts."

North Carolina has a current law on the books defining who the state recognizes as having a valid marriage when it comes to gender that reads as follows:
§ 51‑1.2.  Marriages between persons of the same gender not valid. Marriages, whether created by common law, contracted, or performed outside of North Carolina, between individuals of the same gender are not valid in North Carolina. 

Based on the above statute, the only marriage recognized in the state of North Carolina is between one man and one woman.  It goes further than just not allowing a gay couple to get married in North Carolina and does not recognize a legal marriage of a gay couple in another state or country.  This is contrary to the state's position on other types of marriage not recognized in this state.  For example, North Carolina does not recognize common law marriage.  However, if you have a common law marriage in another state and meet all of that state's requirements, then North Carolina will recognize that marriage (provided that you are a straight couple, of course). 

The fact that gay marriage is already not valid in the state might cause you to wonder why we need an amendment to our state constitution.  I wondered that myself and last night decided to read what the pro-Amendment people were saying via one of their sites.  The statement that struck me the most was that this May, North Carolina voters would be able "to forever preserve the definition of marriage in our state by voting YES on the Marriage Protection Amendment."  I added the bold and underline to the word forever because I'm not sure where the reasoning is that an amendment is permanent.  Yes, an amendment is harder to overturn, but it's not impossible.  Remember a little something from history class called Prohibition? The 18th Amendment to the US Constitution banned alcohol for over a decade.  That amendment was eventually repealed with the 21st Amendment.  

In addition to the ability to repeal an amendment, North Carolina's Constitution is not the ultimate law of this land, the United States Constitution is.  The Supreme Court of the United States has the potential to be the decider of whether North Carolina's Amendment as well as all the other states' amendment stand.  While this is far from a speedy process, it is nowhere close to being "forever".  It seems misleading to advocate for this position based on a false premise.  

Another main argument of the proponents of this Amendment seems to be "it's for the protection of children".  "It's for the children" can be a popular argument for all kinds of actions because who wants to be against children? But what does this amendment really do to help children? When your argument is the only real and healthy family for a child is the married, biological parents, you need to take a step back to see what's truly happening around you.  You only need to step into a courtroom in North Carolina to see that being a straight, married, biological parent doesn't make you a good parent.  The best parents are not defined by their sexual orientation, their marital status, or their biological connection.  They are defined by their actions as a parent.  

Amendment One also holds the potential in application to be harmful to the very group the proponents claim to want to protect.  The way Amendment One is written it can be used to prevent children of unmarried parents (gay and straight) from receiving health care benefits.  It may also change the way domestic violence is treated in this state.  You don't have to take my word for it: medical and legal professionals have been very outspoken about the harm this Amendment can cause.  One the reasons they're speaking out is because this has happened in other states with similar amendments.  There are judges on the bench in this state that already have a tenuous understanding on domestic violence.  They do not need this Amendment to muddy their understanding further.  

I've been posting short bursts of my feelings about this Amendment on facebook and twitter, but this morning I felt like the space allotted in those platforms just wasn't enough.  The need to explain myself further was sparked by both an ad for the Amendment last night and a facebook posting I read this morning.  The ad claimed that the anti-Amendment ads were trying to scare people with misstatements about domestic violence and health benefits.  I found the tone of the ad revolting as it flashed photos of families and the Bible while denying that any harm could from this Amendment.  The thing is that neither side can definitely say what's going to happen with the application of this Amendment because if it passes that's ultimately going to be placed in the hands of judges and plan administrators to decide.  But the chance it could for even one family is enough for me.  

The facebook post was a young woman's reaction to the ads against Amendment One.  Her take was that the objections to the Amendment is that it would "make things monetarily harder on people who have had children out of wedlock."  I have been biting my internet tongue not to respond to her directly as she's rather young and sheltered, but it makes me sad to think that people believe that having your health insurance taken away or your ability to seek domestic violence protections removed makes life "monetarily harder".*  It goes beyond that when considering this Amendment for me.  I feel fortunate that at this moment in time, I can define the relationship I have with the person I love the way I want to.  The government isn't trying to tell me that my relationship isn't valid or that any children I might have are disadvantaged because of a mere biological connection.  My objections to his Amendment aren't about being straight or gay, but about recognizing we all deserve love and the freedom to express that love. 

*In the interest of fairness, while I won't disclose the name of the poster, I will include the full post here: "I see a lot of objections to Amendment 1 on TV - most of them seem to be related to the fact it might make things monetarily harder on people who have had children out of wedlock. I'm not saying we should be mean or rude to people who have done so, because I believe in forgiving people for sinning. However, I don't agree with the way it's often portrayed as if having children out of wedlock was something that couldn't be helped. Commiting adultery IS A CHOICE; by no strech of the imagination does one have to have sexual relations out of wedlock, even though society encourages it. Once you have decided to disobey one of God's commandments, you should accept your consequences and humble yourself and ask forgiveness of him; you can't complain that you did nothing wrong, and that you ought to get special consideration as if you were physically disabled or something, just because your own sin has made your life difficult. CONSEQUENCES HAPPEN, people; maybe this new amendment will finally strike a blow against the ridiculously obscene and adulterous attitude that's common in society right now. We can still indvidually forgive those who have sinned, and try to lead them back to the Saviour's waiting arms; however, we should not CONDONE the sin as a whole, or treat it as if it wasn't a problem at all. Vote to keep marriage the way God intended it, Christians; don't let society talk you out of it!"


  1. The healthcare and abuse rumors are an offense to logic and common sense. Police officers and 911 will still be around to call regardless if the victim is legally married or not, and insurance companies have sold insurance to single people before now, and will hardly decide to not do so just because the definitions of single and married have been changed to match what is God's will. A bill changing the legal definition of marriage hardly will change these facts; people can still get help when they need it. All the talk being bandied about regarding these unfounded fears is simply distraction put up by advocates of immorality, because people who have chosen to sin just don't like the fact that someone's finally reading their Bible and taking a stand against something clearly defined as wrong. (1 Cor. 6:9-10 for one example)

  2. One of the great things about living within a democracy is the important idea that there must be a separation between church and state. It isn't the role of a government to act within specific tenets of a specific faith. The reason for this is that we live in a society where we have the freedom to practice whatever faith we prefer. The trade off for living within such a society is that we need to recognize that such freedom applies to all people. This means that we can't allow certain amendments to pass if it results in a single faith being favored over others. In the case of Amendment One, many are upset because they don't feel it's morally right for homosexual couples to receive the same benefits as heterosexual couples. Regardless of how one feels about this, one need only remember that Jesus Himself associated with what many would have considered the dregs of his day's society. Tax collectors, fishermen and prostitutes were all among those he brought into his ministry. Failing to extend common decency to all people, even those who you don't agree with, acts in direct opposition to the way Jesus conducted his life and ministry. If a Buddhist or Muslim-favoring amendment came into reality, Christians would very much object to it ever existing. Christians should empathize and understand that Amendment One does to others what they would not want done to themselves.

  3. This is not an issue of forgiveness, it's of COMMON SENSE. Yes, Jesus associated with sinners; however, He also told them what they were doing was WRONG. And, specifically related to this issue, He did not say adultery or other sexual sin WAS RIGHT OR SHOULD BE CONDONED. In fact, after he pardoned the adulterous woman who was going to be stoned, THE VERY FIRST COMMAND HE GAVE HER was to "LEAVE YOUR LIFE OF SIN". Adultery and Homosexuality are not parts of society that should be condoned or left alone. They are sins. Period. The Bible makes that plain in many places; anyone who behaves in that manner and refuses to admit they are a sinner is NOT making a perfectly logical legal choice; they are blatantly disobeying God, and saying its OK. Any Christian who does not react adversely to gay marriage and unmarried couples living together and having children out of wedlock is also saying, "I condone it: it's OK." THIS IS WRONG!!! You can forgive an individual, but you should still say the sin as a whole is wrong; it's not hate speech, just common sense.

    Besides, if anyone takes the time to actually ignore the rumors, nonsense, and smoke-and-mirrors, and READ the amendment, which I will append the full text of below (it's very short), it does not actually stop people from actually sinning, or behaving in whatever manner they want to. It just legally defines marriage as between one man and one woman. You can still disobey God and have sex out of wedlock, or behave homosexually, but you just can't be legally recognized as a married couple. THAT'S ALL IT IS, and we as Christians shouldn't shun it for any reason because there's nothing wrong with it. Please, people, I will reiterate; ignore the rumors and public opinino, read and judge for yourselves, and, above all, USE YOUR COMMON SENSE!!!

    AMENDMENT 1: "Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State. This section DOES NOT PROHIBIT a private party from entering into contracts with another private party; nor does this section prohibit courts from adjudicating the rights of private parties pursuant to such contracts."

  4. Wow.

    First, Heather is an attorney. She is clearly capable of reading, and quite frankly, she understands legal theory far better than the average person.

    Second, one has to be married to engage in adultery. If you are not married, having sex is called fornication. If you're going to comment on sin, you should at least label the sin properly.

    Third, the argument about 911 being around is foolish because it shows a lack of understanding of the 50B system. Don't try to argue with me about how you understand 50B's because I know you don't. I do know that Heather does because she goes to court weekly and deals with people who have had to get 50B's. While 911 will always be an option, it doesn't protect someone from getting out of jail and going after the person all over again because a judge denied 50B protection. North Carolina General Statute 50 is already a tremendous mess and this amendment will make it worse than it already is. People who practice law understand that.

    Fourth, I find this whole argument about people being able to buy their own insurance insane. If buying insurance was easy or simple, we wouldn't even be having a health care debate. Clearly, not everyone in America can afford health insurance and failing to understand that shows exactly how little common sense you have. Before you try to fight with me, I have top notch health insurance because I'm married to a nurse and I possess enough compassion to feel sympathy for people who lack that benefit.

    Fifth, your entire argument presumes that everyone in America is a Christian. Everyone is not a Christian. We all have the right to choose what our religious faith should be. That is the entire purpose of the First Amendment. It was also the choice God gave us as human beings. We can choose to follow or not. We have separation of church and state for a reason. It's because we should learn from countries like Afghanistan what happens when we impose religious laws onto the populace. It is a slippery slope between wanting a Christian nation and becoming a violent nation. Please read about the Crusades or the Inquisition.

    Finally, the amendment is poorly written. Gay marriage is already not recognized in NC, as Heather explained above. We don't need a poorly drafted amendment that will confuse other areas of law such as NCGS 50B or insurance provider provisions. It's also going to get struck down as unconstitutional because it is overbroad and the state will spend thousands attempting to fight that. If we're going to debate about gay marriage, let's come up with a well drafted amendment instead of what we've been given as an option. (If you think it won't be struck down please spend several days reading about strict, intermediate, and rational basis scrutiny. They constitute a significant portion of all state bar exams and cannot be explained in a simple blog comment.)

  5. Firstly, I hardly think something that's already been implemented in quite a few states is going to immediately be shot down as unconstitutional.

    Secondly, I never said it was EASY to get insurance or help, only that it seems highly unlikely that this thing is going to have a drastic effect on the way things are related to those things. As a side note, if complications arise from this Amendment, that's what courts are there for; things can be worked out. Also on the subject, it's no secret to the public that to have sex outside of marriage in any way (before or during) causes problems; celebrity scandals, broken homes, cases of abuse by jealous spouces, reports of AIDS and HIV epidemics, jails and orphanages full of poorly-raised and unloved children, and the multitudes of poor and even homeless people who were too young and unable to properly support an illegitamate baby are all there as obvious warnings, even without the Scriptures. And if, AFTER knowing all that, you STILL decide to do it anyway, you can't complain about consequences because YOU KNOW THEY ARE GOING TO COME. There's a big difference between helping someone and empowering someone to hurt themselves; doing anything to encourage sex outside of wedlock and not say it's wrong is NOT HELPING. Of course, you shouldn't be mean to INDIVIDUALS who have sinned; you SHOULD help the homeless, sick, and poor. But, again, YOU CAN SAY A SIN IS WRONG without being insulting to the individuals who committed it. Anyone offended by this statement of fact is taking something obvious and perfectly OK, and making it a personal insult that it was never intended to be.

    Thirdly, the amendment is in simple enough terms that, excepting maybe one word (two at the most) that needs a dictionary, most people can understand it.

    Fourthly, I know that Heather went to Law School. But being a lawyer doesn't automatically make you a political or legal expert in every single matter (especially moral ones) anymore than having studied to become a teacher and having some years' experience in a classroom full of kids makes you perfectly equipped to handle every last one, or raise one on your own. Besides, as mentioned above, you don't need an attorney to read something like three sentences and not make it more complicated than it needs to be (which is what some lawyers do, though not all of them, mercifully).

    Fifthly, several times I wrote "adultery and other sexual sins" just because I didn't want to have to list them all every single time. Fornication's in the Bible as a no-no, too, and besides, in most Scriptural contexts, adultery as a term encompasses any sexual activity OUTSIDE OF MARRIAGE, regardless if the parties involved are married to someone else.

    Lastly, of course I know not everyone is Christian; it's a blatant and sobering fact in the sadly immoral world we live in. I was adressing Seth and Heather specifically.

  6. The root fact here, stripped naked of all arguments, "maybe"s, "possibly"s, "could or might happens"s and general speculation and lack of common sense, is that marriage, as an institution, is under attack by those who advocate immorality. To quote someone I highly respect, "As it stands, the current satus of marriage legality in this state is far too easy to overturn." If we do not do something now to make marriage, as it SHOULD be, both Scripturally and what's-best-for-families-wise (Who in their right mind would say a broken home with faithful, opposite-sex parents isn't the best home for a child?) then we're going to be sometime down the road fighting to keep Gay Marriage as being legalized, as it has been in California. And this, most people would agree, is HIGHLY wrong.


  8. As with anything we post on this blog, Heather and I are always happy to have comments in which people can bring their own points of view to the table. We were both raised with Christian values. I, in fact, not only went to a Christian school from kindergarten through twelfth grade, but also received a minor in Religious Studies (focusing on Christian theology, history and archaeology). It was important to me then and now still to understand the social and societal realities of the era in which in the Bible was written, and how that might apply to our present day. Unlike many who attend Christian schools, it was important for me to find some concrete foundation for my beliefs after years and years of being taught in a Fundamentalist environment. It was that personal goal combined with the teachings of my parents who taught me to accept everyone as they are that led me to understand that if nothing else, the teachings of Jesus encourage an inclusive approach. Modern evangelical thought suggests that you need only point out the faults and flaws of others and pray that they come to an understanding of said faults. Denying those who might disagree with you their unalienable Constitutional rights does nothing to further one's personal cause, be it moral or political. In fact, it diminishes the potential for outreach and finding any kind of common ground with people. The fundamental problem with much of the debate about Amendment One is that fundamentalists take laws and writings of both Old and New Testament to be 100% applicable to our democratic society wherein we have wisely separated Church and State. The Amendment as it stands seeks to define marriage as only applicable to heterosexual couples, but if that is the only legally binding union, then there are countless children and individuals who will be unable to rightly obtain insurance or any kind of benefits. I gladly admit that I have Muslim friends, homosexual friends, and non-Christian friends, and don't judge them in the slightest for what might make them different from me. If we are to judge people in the same way that people in biblical times were judged, then most of the human population would be incarcerated for "immorality." Many people would have severed limbs because they stole from someone at some points in their lives. Many families would not exist (including my own) because those who were legally divorced would not be allowed to remarry. In his day, Jesus was shunned by the religious leaders of the day. The Pharisees and Sadducees represent the modern day equivalent of large Fundamentalist movements that want to diminish the basic human rights of people solely on the basis of their dissimilar beliefs. You don't have to be a homosexual to know that if Amendment One infringes on the basic human rights of people to take care of themselves and their children, regardless of their specific faiths or moral codes.

  9. For crying out loud, did you not read what I posted multiple times already? SAYING A SIN IS WRONG DOES NOT CONSTITUE HATE SPEECH OR AN UNCHRISTIAN ATTITUDE AGAINST INDIVIDUAL PEOPLE WHO SIN!!!!! Is that really so hard to grasp? We all sin in various ways; but when we don't admit that what we did is a sin and ask for forgivness, we are being blatantly opposed to our Heavenly Father. AND IT'S OKAY TO POINT THAT OUT! Even if people forgive us, they still CAN SAY, AND ARE WELL WITHIN THEIR RIGHTS TO SAY, "I don't agree with your behavior". THAT IS NOT WRONG, OR UNGODLY; in fact, it's much better than not saying anything, and being a bad witness because you seem to CONDONE AND ACCEPT SIN AS BEING OKAY! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE TRY TO UNDERSTAND THIS!!!!!!!!

    Also, the ammendment WON'T stop people from behaving the way they want to (remember the DOES NOT PROHIBIT part?) and thusly takes away no so-called "rights". The people who still want to be sexually sinful can still do so. They just can't call themselves married. That's all there is to it. What right does that take away - the right to make up a legal condition and force others to accept it? I don't remember that ever being a right.

    Besides, others of the Biblical commands such as stealing, slander, and murder are legally prosecuted, even so far as arrests and jail terms, even death in some states as far as murder's concerned. There might be people saying "If I want to steal from, slander, or kill someone, I can; freedom of choice is a constitutional right. Let's all be honest; we'd either be appalled, disgusted, or frightened by this way of thinking. THE SIN IS STILL WRONG, AND OUR LEGAL SYSTEM (to a point) REFLECTS IT! Even in other countries and religions, these things are (mostly) considered wrong, as well as adultery and homosexuality. And yet, when we try to do anything that even SOUNDS like it might halt those particular sins, EVEN IF IT WON'T (this thing doesn't), people get all up-in-arms about "freedom of choice" as if it's a lifestyle and not just another disobedience of God's will. Again, I will reiterate - Jesus makes it plain we are to HUMBLE ourselves, CONFESS we did wrong, and LEAVE our life of sin. NOT, by any means, SAY ITS A "LIFESTYLE" OR IT'S OKAY if we happen to like the particular sin we're comitting. Adultery, homosexualty, and other sexual sins were treated more harshly, and adressed more frequently, than almost any other sin in the Bible. And yet they are the ones we're the most reluctant to stand up and say THIS IS WRONG about. SIN IS NOT A LIFESTYLE or a RIGHT. IT'S A SIN! Unfortunately, this country has become so grossly immoral one can't really get this concept through; anyone can claim to have a "community" and then you can't touch them because of PC rules.

    Also, the constitution offers the PURSUIT of happiness (meaning you have to WORK for it, not that it's just given to you as if you deserve it-but that's another political argument waiting to happen) within the bounds of the law. And legality is (mostly, and hopefully should always be) based on the basic standards of right and wrong. Some people say there are none, but I, and I'm sure you, too, disagree.

    One final note; sexual sins that disobey man's laws (prostitution, child molestation, pornography of minors) are treated more harshly than most any crime save murder; yet when people disobey GOD'S laws about sex, American society turns the other way, or worse, enjoys and condones it. Does this make sense to you? It sure doesn't to me; especially not when in some countries that don't even worship God you can get outcast or even killed for comitting these sins. Try to logically think about these things without the P.C. attitudes of today's society, or without simply trying to prove opposing opinions wrong, and you'll see the point.

  10. Just because you post something multiple times and use capital letters does not mean that other people agree with you. I read what you wrote and I actually just think you are a crazy, closed minded bigot.

    Please tell me how you get to be an expert on morals? Who decides who and how one gets to be a morality expert? Is your pastor a morality expert? Is my pastor a morality expert? Is the Pope a morality expert? How about you? Are you a morality expert?

    I dispute that their is any such thing as a morality expert. There are, however, legal experts, and this statute deals with Family Law. Heather is a Family Law expert. She's a brilliant one. Everyone I know asks Heather Family Law questions. She knows her stuff and clients are lucky to have her represent them.

    Your postings just repeat the same things over and over but show that you truly don't understand what laws mean and that it is pointless to try to argue with you.

    Get out of your bubble of living in the south, and spending all your time with the same church people you've known all your life. Try going to UNC-Charlotte and learn how to think.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. I've been letting this discussion continue without commenting as I made my opinion clear in the original posting. However, I cannot let a statement comparing the relationship between two consenting adults, especially when it is in a loving and committed relationship to bestiality go unchallenged on a forum Seth and I created. That statement both saddens and angers me on behalf of not only my gay friends, but on my behalf as as a reasonable and caring person.

      And if we want to get Biblical on marriage, go ahead and label me as an adulterer because I am divorced and remarried. I will count myself in good company with my fabulous friends who are in happy, healthy relationships that defy your definitions.

    3. But someone somewhere was hurt in the process right? I mean, someone's always somewhat hurt in a divorce, be it participants, family members of participants, or even sometimes horrified friends of participants, or merely poeple who observed, followed the example, and are now miserable because of it. Whereas a heterosexual marriage with both members completely faithful and Biblically respectful to to each other EVEN UNTO DEATH is still the most effective family unit (by long history of evidence there).

      I know people who are divorced, quite a few of them; and I love them as human beings. They know I disagree with their behavior, because I've mentioned it. BUT WE STILL GET ALONG because, mercifully, they have the sense to know you can dislike actions without disliking people. And they seem happy, for the most part. But I can't help but observe there's always that residual sting; that chain-reaction that comes when sworn oaths were broken and trust was also broken. Someone, SOMEWHERE, is always hurt by a divorce.

      Also, contrary to popular belief, happiness is not the key to a relationship; that's why there are so many divorces nowadays. People think mistakenly they should be "happy" with their spouse all their life, and don't plan for the eventual difficulties that INEVITABLY will come and thusly can't weather the harder ones. The key to a relationship is a FIRM FOUNDATION that will stand all troubles NO MATTER WHAT COMES. Any relationship lacking that eventually will be damaged and/or destroyed in time.

      Oh, for the record, just because committing a sin makes you happy doesn't make it RIGHT. Some people who murder people get a kick out of it (serial killers) but it doesn't make murdering right either. Happiness is not a judge of what's right; people have been martyred and tortured for obeying God's Word, for thousands of years. "Blessed are those who are PERSECUTED for My Name's Sake" makes it clear that being unhappy is not a gauge of what's actually right.

    4. I'm not saying I've never done anything wrong, mind. I've hurt people more times than I'd care to count by thoughtless and Unbiblical reactions to life's stimuli. But I can still observe, as we all can, something that just doesn't follow guidelines of sense.

    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    6. Since obviously I touched a nerve in my earlier post, I apologize if I hurt anyone's feelings. I deleted it and will reproduce a version here with the last sentence omitted.

      "If you don't have a point-by-point, thorough and logical rebuttal of something, it's better not to say anything at all instead of merely calling names. It actually kind of makes you look worse than the person you're trying to insult. You can say you disagree with someone nicely, even if you want to be firm about it; it is possible.

      To address what you said about me; don't resort to simply insulting someone when you don't know the person. I have, during the course of my life, spent a very large amount of time in nearly half the states in the country, including a great deal of time in California (a more liberal state could hardly be imagined). I was merely born in the South. I have also been to college, and neighborhoods that are completely Non-Christian, and have had lengthy and respectful discussions with those who are not Christian and grasp many of their views. I have also interacted with gay people before, and have studied other religions closely. And furthermore, I read quite a good deal of literature from all different viewpoints of life, and was raised to always aproach everything with logic and always go with the thing that makes the most common since. And, when I was in school, every opinion-related thing I've ever written has gotten an A. Furthermore, my parents, at an early age, told me every great and gory detail about the different kinds of sexual contact, hetero and homo. Clear?

      Besides, as another person I highly respect once wrote, "The Purpose of an open mind is the same as that of an open mouth; to eventually close it upon something SOLID." You can listen and respect things without believing everything some random person decides is correct. There must be a definite line and basis of right and wrong somewhere; otherwise, there is no point in there being ANY laws at all. To quote the late great lifelong-atheist-turned-theist-by-sheer-force-of-evidence-and-logic C.S. Lewis, "The Very Idea of Freedom presupposes some objective moral order which overarches BOTH ruler and subject alike. Subjectivism about values is ETERNALLY INCOMPATIBLE with democracy. We and our rulersare of one kind only so long as we are subject to ONE LAW, but if there is no law of nature, the ethos of any society is the creation of its rulers, educators, and conditioners, and every creator stands outside his his own creation." Put simply, if everyone gets to randomly decide what's moral and what isn't without any solid basis to go upon, government and everyday life would be like mathematics if different groups of people decided 2+2 equals different things. And the best solid basis is found in the Bible; even in other religions, the basic standards follow these procedures. A Buhddist who stole something would be looked down upon. A Hindu who muredured someone would be outcast. In some primitive countries, people caught in adultery are even beaten and sometimes killed. Through the Ages, it's been obvious that there IS a standard of right and wrong; and even if you won't worship God, the standard is still there.

      And, for the record, Two male dogs can't have puppies. Two female weasels can't have kits. Two same-sex-of-any-mammal can't reproduce; the very fact we have scienctific procedures to help do so proves that IT'S NOT NATURAL. Food for thought!

  11. 1. Freedom of Speech, Press, Religion and Petition

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, OR PROHIBITING THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    2. Right to keep and bear arms

    A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

    3. Conditions for quarters of soldiers

    No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

    4. Right of search and seizure regulated

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    5. Provisons concerning prosecution

    No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.

    6. Right to a speedy trial, witnesses, etc.

    In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

    7. Right to a trial by jury

    In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

    8. Excessive bail, cruel punishment

    Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

    10. Rule of construction of Constitution

    The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

    This bill of rights, of course, portrays the rights WITHIN THE BOUNDS OF THE LAW. As said in the declaration of Independence,

    "That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."

    The goverment is there to keep us in line and thus secure the rights. however, nowhere in that bill of rights is there anything that this amendment is contradicting. We have the freedom to SAY what we want; we have the freedom to make individual laws in a state, too, without the constitution messing with them. However, nowhere in there does it say the peeople have the freedom to determine a legal condition on their own without the government's consent. And that is the only thing this amendment actually "takes away" - a right that was never there to begin with. Will it make people stop having sex out of wedlock? No. Will it make people stop being homosexual? No. DOES NOT PROHIBIT, people; those are pretty plain words!

  12. I'm going to take a slightly different approach here. As someone who is both a Christian and a Republican, I have never understood the need to constantly worry about what other people do. If a guy wants to marry a guy, it doesn't affect my life in any way so why should I care. Last time I checked, I don't think a puppy gets murdered every time two guys kiss, and honestly I just have more important things to worry about. I was always taught that it is not my place to judge people but I should love all people. If it is a sin, then God will judge them. I don't have that right. But who am I to deny another person happiness?

    And I'm sorry, I don't buy the whole "being gay is a choice" argument. I have never looked at a guy and thought "man I'd love to have sex with him." No offense to anyone who is gay, but I think that would be one of the most horrible things that could happen. You know, probably the same way gay guys think about having sex with a girl. Therefore, the only conclusion I can come to is that is how God made them.

    If you want to be against gay marriage that is your choice. Just as I believe it should be the choice of each and every person to decide who they love. And I can't believe that in 2012, we are having a debate over actually telling someone who they can love. I mean, if there is anything this world needs less of, it is definitely love. And honestly, don't we have more important things to focus on? Unless there is a law that says every time a gay couple gets married I have to blow a dude. If so, can one of y'all direct me to the statute.

    1. You can forgive someone without agreeing their action is correct; you can even say they are wrong to their face without being insulting. There are ways. I suggest, Brandon, you read Matthew 18; there's a passage in that chapter that talks about how to deal with someone who is sinning in a way that offends you. The point people are missing is that gay marriage is not legally recognized in this state already; however, the way that current piece of legislation is written makes it extremely easy to overturn, which could make all claims of marriage recognized even if a court or license hasn't really been granted. It's not just about homosexuals. All the amendment is really doing at bottom, without potential/probable side effects, is reinforcing what's already there.

    2. This is literally, the dumbest, most asinine argument I have ever read. You clearly have no legal background. If you had any sense at all, you would realize that your whole argument solidifies why this amendment shouldn't exist. But then again, the whole reason why you are not qualified to chime in on this issue is because you have no idea in the world the effect it would have.

  13. Brandon -- that was an awesome response. It made me laugh and it was absolutely on point.

    ScottyBlue -- You keep repeating over and over again that homosexuality is a sin. That is your opinion as seen through your religion. I disagree with your opinion, as do millions of other people. If you want to call homosexuals sinners, then I think I have ever right to call you a bigot. I still think you are a bigot and my opinion on that isn't going to change.

    Also, don't assume that I'm not a Christian or that I don't love or believe in God. You have no idea who I am or what I'm about. I believe that we were called to love and to serve everyone and I believe that Jesus would have been just as good to the gays as he was to everybody else except the Pharisees. My dear, you are acting like a Pharisee.

    Lastly, like my question about how do you decide what makes you a morality expert, what allows you to define what is "actual correct sex?"

    This entire argument about producing offspring is poor. I'm in a loving marriage and am actually trying to get pregnant. If my husband or I end up being infertile, should our marriage no longer count bceause we cannot produce offspring? Once I hit menopause, should my husband be allowed to set me aside because I can no longer have a child? Also, why do we need so many people reproducing? The planet is overcrowded and resources are slim.

  14. Read THOROUGHLY AND CAREFULLY and then respond to what I actually SAID, please, and ONLY what I actually said. When you're talking to someone face-to-face, you can draw inferences from verbal tone, gestures, and facial expressions; however, when you are typing, unless you use emoticons, there are NO solid clues to draw ANY inferences from. Ergo, I respectfully submit that your response does not fully make sense, because you responded to something you inferred, and not what I actually said.

    For one thing, I did not say you were not a Christian. You kept arguing from the standpoint that I need to "get away from church people", so I thought I'd throw something in there not church or morals-related, but still logical sense.

    Nor did I say not producing offspring does not count as a loving marriage, or make a relationship invalid. If you had CAREFULLY read word-for-word what I actually said ONLY, you'll also see I did not even say homosexuality was a sin in that particular paragraph. My words were, IT'S NOT THE NATURAL CREATED ORDER OF LIFE, and that's the ONLY point I was trying to make there. (I mean, even FLOWERS have male and female parts, and cannot flourish without the two meeting!) That is a pure and simple scientific observation. And by actual correct sex I meant the insertion of male parts into female; the simple definition of reproductive sex.

    BTW, Homosexuality IS a sin, ranked right up there with all the others I mentioned previously as examples(adultery, theivery, slandering). This is not merely a "sheltered" opinion. "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the earth? Neither the SEXUALLY IMMORAL or IDOLATERS nor ADULTERERS nor MALE PROSTITUTES nor HOMOSEXUAL OFFENDERS nor THEIVES nor the GREEDY nor DRUNKARDS nor SLANDERERS nor SWINDLERS will inhererit the kingdom of God." This is a direct quote from 1st Corinthians 6:9-10, NIV version; that particular book of the Bible addresses marriage and sex quite a lot. Furthermore, if you care to read the little incident regarding the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 18:16 through 19:25, you'll realize God DOES NOT ACCEPT HOMOSEXUAL COMMUNITIES. God told Abram that he would spare the cities if there were 10, (only 10 out of a city of probably hundreds, mind) that were not committing a sin He referred to as "grevious" in an earlier passage. And, the only sin mentioned that the cities are doing is mob homosexual orgies. So I think it's pretty plain what God's views on the matter are. And it's Okay to say that. Why? Because if we're supposed to share God's Word and its message with others, we can't just omit or rationalize/change all the bits that we don't like, or that might potentially offend certain people; that is, in essence, creating our OWN Bible and disregarding God's!

  15. Also, Jesus told us not to accept sin as right, even though we are to forgive individuals who do it. Beside the earlier-referred-to passage in Matthew 18, there are other places where he reminds us IT'S OK to say something is wrong. And again, the first thing He told more than one person He pardoned was to "Leave your life of sin" or "sin no more." So obviously something they were doing was a sin, and though they were forgiven and treated nicely, they were still reminded that the sins themselves, as according to the Bible, were wrong.

    Finally, there's a point here you are still completely missing; whether voluntarily or not I don't know. Try this; suppose you absolutely despise watching "Star Trek". Someone says they like it; you say, "I don't agree; I think the premise of the show is cheesy." Does that mean you're calling PEOPLE WHO LIKE STAR TREK insulting names, or bashing them, or being rude to the INDIVIDUAL HUMAN BEINGS ? No. If you SPECIFICALLY said "Trekkies are idiots", THEN we would have here a serious problem. The same thing applies in this context; let's suppose we have someone in our midst who is a kleptomaniac. With all the strange views that get batted around in today's society, it's not entirely unlikely someone may say, "Don't try to psycologically treat them or legally prosecute them; They were born that way and can't help it so it's OK for them to steal things." Someone else, however, might say, "I disagree; the Bible says it's a sin to steal things, period." Now, did they just say, "KLEPTOMANIACS are pieces of filth and we shouldn't waste pity or forgiveness on them?" No, they did not, and it's HIGHLY unlikely they meant anything of the sort. Yet, people take these things personally, and turn them into insults that were never meant to be insults; probably just because they don't like the objection to their lifestyle. It happens all the time; in media, in politics, even in churches. I will reiterate; more arguments come from people harping on one particular "Ooooh, you must've meant that thing I don't like when you said..." than when you simply take full passages of words at FACE VALUE ONLY.

  16. As of this point on, I am not continuing this argument here. I am going to post beliefs on the common sense of this amendment in full on my own blog, and anyone who has an argument can take it there when I do so.

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  18. ScottyBlue, I think you are missing a lot of the argument here. If you want to be against gay marriage that is your choice. But the point a lot of us are trying to make is, what happens if this is the choice of the people. We are a nation that is a nation of the separation of church and state. The thought of gay marriage being wrong is a deeply religious issue, which is fine as long as you are in line with that religion. But what happens is a religion starts forcing its beliefs on you that you don't agree with? That is a slippery slope. And you still haven't addressed my issue of why we should deny people happiness. If someone is sinning, let God judge them. That is not our place.

  19. Oh, I'm so glad I waited to respond.

    "Homosexuality is a sin" is a matter of a certain point of view, depending upon one's religious beliefs. Not having religious beliefs, I don't find it to be a sin. I don't find murder to be a sin, I just find it to be morally wrong.

    Many of the proponents of Amendment One cite the Bible as the justification for opposing gay marriage. Last time I checked, the first Amendment to the Constituion leads with prohibiting laws that restrict the free exercise of religion. The Unitarian Universalist Church will respect homosexual relationships yet this state amendment will restrict their free exercise of their faith.

    Most importantly, proponents, by citing the Bible, make the fatal logical fallacy of an Appeal to Belief. By advocating that the majority determine the rights of the minority they also make the fallacy of the Appeal to Popularity. Not everyone shares their beliefs, but it does not matter that they are imposing their values on others, as long as others don't impose theirs on them.

    Since Scotty wanted to quote scripture, let me honor the tradition of responding in kind with other scripture, because if you want to follow some of it, you have to follow all of it:

    "Do to others as you would have them do to you." - Luke 6:31