This week, The Charlotte Observer, ran a front page story and an editorial regarding the recent comments of NC House Speaker Thom Tillis, one of the proponents of Amendment One.
What Tillis said to a group of students at NC State was this: “It’s a generational issue. The data shows right now that you are a generation away from this issue. If it passes, I think it will be repealed within 20 years”.
Tillis also has been reported in the past as saying, when asked whether Amendment One could hurt business, that it could have that effect. “It may very well”, he said. http://www.protectncfamilies.org/content/business-against-amendment-one
The Observer editorial by Peter St. Onge mentioned that Bank of America Executive Cathy Bessant reiterated this week that the amendment will be “disastrous” for business.
The Observer story by Jim Morrill reported that John Hood, the president of the conservative John Locke foundation is against Amendment One, saying the attempt to prevent gay and lesbian couples “from receiving any future legal recognition, including civil unions, is unwise and unfair”. And, that Bob Orr, former Supreme Court justice and former director of the conservative North Carolina Institute for Constitutional Law, says that this is probably not a provision that should be in the Constitution and will probably have to be resolved by the federal courts.
So let me get this straight Speaker Tillis.
There are many young people who believe this is a bad idea. And more will follow. And there are business people against this amendment. And there are legal scholars against it. And there are democrats and conservatives alike who want to be inclusive and accepting of all people who are against it. And yet, society will just have to wait 20 years to get it right.
Some would say that you, Speaker Tillis, and all those who voted to put this on the ballot, abdicated your responsibility to the people when you gave this awkwardly worded amendment to the people for a vote. Your spokesman was quick to add, as reported by Jim Morrill, that: “At the end of the day, it comes down to: This issue should be decided by the voters…And that’s the way it should be.” Should it? Really?
Should voters decide complicated family law matters? Should voters decide complicated real property legal matters? Should voters decide complicated tax, custody, domestic violence issues? Do they really understand, in your opinion, that by the wording of the proposed amendment, they are voting on these issues?
And do you think voters should vote for something that hurts business in this economy, under the guise of voting for something else. And should voters be allowed to add miscellaneous tack-on provisions to the constitution in order to try to have the rest of society conform to their religious point of view? Especially when, as you have said, it will only hold up for another 20 years?
How do you respond to these words, Speaker Tillis, by Peter St. Onge: “While it’s nice to appear forward thinking in telling young folks that gay marriage is just a matter of time in our state, it’s hardly visionary to shrug at inevitability after trying to block it. The “data” may tell the house speaker that we’re a generation away from gay marriage; it’s too bad he doesn’t want to participate in leading us there sooner” http://obsdailyviews.blogspot.com/2012/03/thom-tillis-gay-marriage-amendment-will.html#storylink=cpy
It is my belief that while it could be politically damaging with a certain group of conservative voters (the not young and not inclusive) to say it, Speaker Tillis, and other legislators like him, probably are having second thoughts, or maybe were never that excited about this idea to begin with. Speaker Tillis’ initial agenda was to be focused on business and not social issues. And yet, here we are.
Perhaps someone needs to write a soap opera called the “Young and the Inclusive”, but if they did, Speaker Tillis and those like him, would not tune in. At least not for another 20 years.