North Carolina state Sen. Jim Davis (R) has joined the chorus of Republicans walking back their support of a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban all recognition of same-sex relationships. At a town hall this week, he reiterated his opposition to same-sex couples marrying, but admitted the amendment restricts freedoms “beyond his comfort zone”:
DAVIS: I have a lot of libertarian in me. I believe firmly, passionately that a marriage should be defined as being between one man and one woman. But I also believe with all my heart that in a free America people who choose to live a different lifestyle should have a legal right to do so. Just don’t call it marriage. [This amendment will] restrict their freedoms a little more beyond my comfort zone.
North Carolina’s inequality amendment would be more far-reaching than any other state’s, banning same-sex marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnerships. The rushed language of the amendment may lead to consequences for businesses and opposite-sex domestic partnerships as well.
North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis (R) expressed “personal difficulty” with the amendment last month, and when voters go to the polls on May 8 to decide, U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers (R) has said that she will vote against the amendment. Though the legislators who advanced this measure are stepping back from it, religious proponents have now formed the “Vote for Marriage NC” coalition to advocate for it. The coalition includes the NC Baptist State Convention, Christian Action League, NC Values Coalition, and National Organization for Marriage.