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North Carolina Conservatives Fabricate ‘Threats’ Of Marriage Equality

By Zack Ford on January 24, 2012 at 4:40 pm

"North Carolina Conservatives Fabricate ‘Threats’ Of Marriage Equality"

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Conservatives supporting North Carolina’s proposed constitutional amendment banning recognition of all same-sex relationships have launched a new website called Vote For Marriage NC. The site describes same-sex marriage as a “threat” and  a “new legal orthodoxy” that would “redefine” marriage as “genderless” for all couples, and those who do not agree “will be treated under the law just like racists and bigots, and will be punished for their beliefs.” Unsurprisingly, none of the claims made stand up to scrutiny:

CLAIM REALITY
“Religious groups who have refused to make their facilities available for same-sex couples have lost their state tax exemption.” The only example conservatives ever cite is a New Jersey Methodist pavilion, and that pavilion did not actually have a religious exemption.
“Religious groups like Catholic Charities in Boston and Washington DC have had to choose between fulfilling their social mission based on their religious beliefs, or acquiescing to this new definition of marriage.” Catholic Charities have never been obligated to shut down their services, but have done so voluntarily when they are no longer subsidized by the state because they discriminate.
“Nonprofit groups are faced with abandoning their historic mission principles in order to maintain governmental contracts (for things like low-income housing, health clinics, etc.).” Again, no group has been forced to close, though some may lose state funding. In one case, the Maine Catholic Diocese shuttered a homeless support agency as punishment for supporting marriage equality.
“Whenever schools educate children about marriage, which happens throughout the curriculum, they will have no choice but to teach this new genderless institution.” Marriage equality or not, same-sex families are a part of all communities. To refuse to acknowledge their existence stigmatizes the children who are being raised by gay couples and deprives all young people of understanding the world around them.
“Wedding professionals have been fined for refusing to participate in a same-sex ceremony. Christian innkeepers in Vermont and New Hampshire are being sued over their refusal to make their facilities available for same-sex weddings.” This is a red herring. When businesses are fined for not renting to same-sex couples, they are violating state non-discrimination policies, like in the case of the Wildflower Inn in Vermont. Inns and reception halls should be no less publicly accessible than lunch counters and water fountains.
“Doctors, lawyers, accountants and other licensed professionals risk their state licensure if they act on their belief that a same-sex couple cannot really be married. A counselor, for example, could not refuse “marriage therapy” to a same-sex couple because she doesn’t believe in gay marriage.” This is another red herring, as licensing laws and professional certifications have no connection to marriage laws. The 11th Circuit ruled last month in favor of a university that required a counseling student to affirmatively counsel LGBT clients.
“Those people – a strong majority of North Carolinians – who believe marriage is between one man and one woman, would be the legal equivalent of bigots for acting on their heartfelt beliefs… Not only will the law penalize traditional marriage supporters, but the power of government will work in concert to promote this belief throughout the culture.” No law has ever “penalized” opponents of marriage equality, but more importantly, there is no “strong majority” in support of the amendment. In fact, a December poll found that 56 percent of North Carolinians support at least civil unions — which this amendment also bans.

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