N.C. Bans Gay Marriage

But what does the passing of Amendment One really mean?

Yesterday, North Carolina passed controversial Amendment One, a state constitutional amendment that prohibits marriage equality and any form of legal relationship recognition for lesbian and gay people in the state.

While North Carolina already denies same-sex couples the fundamental freedom to marry, Amendment One will now write discrimination directly into the state’s constitution. But what concerns LGBT citizens the most is how the amendment goes beyond even restricting marriage equality – and by posing a serious threat to the well-being of families, children, women and seniors in North Carolina. No domestic partnerships will be recognized in the state. None.

“The passage of Amendment One is a profound injustice,” says American Foundation of Equal Rights (AFER) Executive Director Adam Umhoefer. “Singling out a class of citizens for discriminatory treatment is unfair, unlawful and violates basic American values.”

Conservative groups rallied voters to the polls to cast their ballots in favor of the amendment, though many pro-Obama Democrats believe that even having the amendment on the ballot was designed to encourage conservatives to come out in droves to vote for a GOP candidate for president – an effort that has been losing its momentum in recent weeks as frontrunner Mitt Romney fails to attract the delegates needed to get the nomination.

And while Republican leaders praised the amendment, N.C. Rep. Brad Miller – a Democrat – says that the amendment goes well beyond simply banning marriage, something that state had already done. “If you’re in a hospital, in your last illness and you’ve been with a partner for 30 years, if the law is that only certain family members may visit you – you can’t pick who your family members are,” Miller said in a live-streamed interview Tuesday night. “You can’t pick who your family is. The government has decided for you.”

North Carolina now becomes the 30th state to ban gay marriage. This year, voters in Washington, Maine and Minnesota will also decide the fate of marriage equality.

“Gay and lesbian Americans, like their fellow citizens, want nothing more than to marry the person they love,” says Umhoefer. “Committed, loving couples and their families should not be denied this most fundamental freedom.”