Gay Rights - Triumph and Trial

This from the Common Sense Foundation:

On Wednesday at noon, history was made in North Carolina. The General Assembly began its 2005-06 session with an out lesbian as one of its elected members for the first time.

Julia Boseman defeated a Republican incumbent in a conservative Wilmington district to earn her seat in the state Senate. She survived slurs against her sexual orientation during the campaign to win the seat.

Yet while the whole state has reason to celebrate the diversity and equality symbolized by Boseman's election, not all is well for the GLBT community in North Carolina.

Just minutes after Boseman and the rest of the legislature were sworn in, a new constitutional amendment was filed to attack gay marriage and even gay relationships.

The events of this week show both profound encouragement in the struggle for GLBT equality, as well as how many difficulties that struggle still faces.

People in our community should celebrate Boseman's victory as an outgrowth of landmark events in Chapel Hill and Carrboro, the election of Joe Herzenberg to the Town Council and of Mike Nelson as Mayor.

I hope that, in that tradition, we will see strong support from Chapel Hill and Carrboro for efforts to block the proposed amendment.

Equality NC has an action alert program that those interested might want to join.



I am so proud of Julia Bozeman, I brag about her all the time to my out-of-state colleagues. It's really disappointing to see so many of our state legislators responding so negatively so quickly. I'll bet in a few years they will have forgotten her sexual identity and will be wheeling and dealing with her just like any other old-school politicians.

I have taken the recommended action on behalf of Equality NC and passed it on to my friends.


I want to to point out this item from today's Daily Tarheel, which points out that this ban will also affect domestic partner registration for straight as well as gay couples (such as that oferred by Carrboro and Chapel Hill). This means that this legislation could be used to take away the benefits that my employer offers to my domestic partner! Now how the hell is that helping families or the state of North Carolina?

Aldermen voice disapproval of same-sex marriage ban

The Carrboro Board of Aldermen agreed Tuesday to pass a resolution opposing the proposed constitutional amendment now before the General Assembly to recognize the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

The act defines marriage in the United States as the union of a man and a woman, effectively banning same-sex marriages and some benefits for same-sex couples.

The aldermen were concerned because Town Attorney Mike Brough said the amendment would render Carrboro's domestic-partner benefits unconstitutional, making health insurance harder to obtain for those covered under the program.

“What's wrong with these people? We need to pray for them,” said Alderman Jacquelyn Gist.

She later added, “I didn't know the amendment (Mayor Mike Nelson) was talking about was out there, and it almost made me cry.”

I beg to differ. The amendment makes no mention of benefits in anyway. The Human Rights Foundation's legislative attorney specifically says there will be no impact. In the 9 states that restrict civil unions as well as gay marriage, not one public or private employer has recinded domestic partner benefits. One has nothing to do with the other. My employer offered pet insurance, and I can't legally marry my cat.

I think it's horrible that this amendment is so heavily sponsored, and even up for consideration, but let's address the real problem, which is civil marriage should be a civil right, not some imagined potential future problem.

The proposed NC Constitutional Amendment says: "The uniting of two persons of the same sex or the uniting of more than two persons of any sex in a marriage, civil union, domestic partnership, or other similar relationship within or outside of this State shall not be valid or recognized in this State."

That would mean that the Town of Carrboro cannot recognize the Domestic Partnership of its own employees, and by extension that it cannot extend certain town employment benefits to Domestic Partners of its employees (because state law tightly spells out to whom the town may extend such benefits).

This is not a question of contractual arrangements between an private employer and an insurance company because the Town of Carrboro is not a private employer. Obviously the same issue exists for the Town of Chapel Hill.

and yet, the premiere gay and lesbian rights group in the country disagrees.

I take it for granted that HRC's staff is not familiar with North Carolina municipal employment law. Of course, the link you provided is a discussion of the nine states that have adopted Constitutional Amendments banning Domestic Partnerships, rather than to the proposed amendment in North Carolina.

I do note however that the following is printed at the link you provided above:

"There is speculation that opponents of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality in these nine states will legally challenge states, counties, cities and public universities and colleges that provide domestic partner benefits to their employees. However, no legal challenges have been filed to date."

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