Q. What will the ballot ask voters what they are “for” or “against”?
A. “Constitutional amendment to provide that marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State”.
Q. When will the vote take place?
A. May 8, 2012.
Q. How many votes does it take to pass or defeat the proposed amendment?
A. 50%, plus one. A simple majority
Q. Does the law in NC currently prohibit same-sex marriage?
A. Yes. NCGS 51-1.2 says that “[m]arriages, whether created by common law, contracted, or performed outside of North Carolina, between individuals of the same gender are not valid in North Carolina”. (added 1995)
Q. Does the amendment do more than prohibit same-sex couples from marrying?
A. Yes. If it passes, marriage between one man and one woman will be the only domestic legal union that can be recognized under the NC Constitution. The legislature would be prohibited from approving civil unions short of marriage for same-sex couples.
Q. What does the polling show in NC?
A. Polling suggests that more than 50% of voters would be “for” the ballot, as worded, but that if the question asked whether civil unions short of marriage should be available to same-sex couples, more than 50% would support that initiative.
Q. If the amendment fails and the law is changed to allow marriage or civil unions for same-sex couples, will churches be required to marry same-sex couples?
A. No. The separation of church and state prevents the state from telling churches who they decide to marry based on their religious beliefs.
Q. Do statistics show that same-sex civil unions or same-sex marriage will be a threat to marriage between one man and one woman?
A. No. States with high divorce rates among heterosexual couples have marriage amendments, while states with low divorce rates among heterosexual couples do not, showing that a marriage amendment does not keep heterosexual couples from divorcing.
Q. Does the Christian bible impose an authoritative position on same-sex relationships?
A. It depends on how one interprets the bible, whether the focus is old testament or new testament and whether the focus is particular passages or the message of the bible as a whole.
Q. Can one be against same-sex marriage and against Amendment One?
A. Yes. A vote against the amendment will not change current law about same-sex marriage, it will avoid writing discrimination into our Constitution and it will open the door for the legislature to consider same-sex civil unions short of marriage to provide non-religious legal protections for same-sex couples.
Q. Will the amendment be good or bad for business in NC?
A. It potentially could be bad for business. An overwhelming majority of Fortune 500 companies prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. If the amendment fails to pass, the vote will set NC apart from all other Southern states who have voted on the issue, demonstrating that NC is more open to diversity than other Southern states.
Q. Are there hidden legal harms for homosexuals and others in the LGBT community if the amendment passes?
A. Yes, both actual and potential. [To be continued in later posts with more details]