North Carolina House Speaker Pro Tem Dale Folwell (R) was very involved in the effort to advance a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, arguing that the measure would “protect” marriage in the state. The measure passed through both chambers last week in a matter of 24 hours and will now be on the May ballot.
This morning, Folwell came under fire on the radio show “Charlotte Talks,” as host Mike Collins challenged him on why he supports banning same-sex marriage, but not divorce:
COLLINS: You have said marriage is every society’s foundation, and if government sanctions marriage, it should also protect marriage. If that is true, why not put a constitutional amendment on the ballot banning divorce? [...] Wouldn’t it be more protective of the institution to ban divorce?
FOLWELL: Well, the divorce rate in this state and in this country is horrific. I have as much concern about that as I do the defense of marriage.
COLLINS: Wouldn’t that be defense of marriage?
COLLINS: Well then why not put that on the ballot?
FOLWELL: Somebody has a right to do that.
COLLINS: Why don’t you do it?
FOLWELL: [long pause] I don’t have an answer.
Listen to it:
Folwell was correct about one thing: North Carolina does have a high divorce rate — higher than the national average, in fact. But his responses (or lack thereof) make it clear that he and the state’s Republican leadership have little concern with “protecting” marriage. They are motivated by anti-gay animus and nothing more. Equality North Carolina’s Interim Executive Director Alex Miller was on hand and challenged Folwell about his alliance with anti-gay pastors who describe homosexuality as “deviant,” “abomination,” and a “death-style.” Folwell said it was important that they had a voice, but countered, “I don’t accept what the ministers say, you understand.”