Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Special Report-Controversial Amendment Passes in North Carolina

On May 3rd, just three days before North Carolina was to pass the politically charged Amendment One which effectively makes gay marriage illegal in the state constitution, Chris Knight, a blogger from Reidsville, NC, (a personal friend), said: "I'm a Christian. I'm called a 'conservative.' I'm not voting for Amendment One."

Knight said the choice was a tough one for him at many levels, but ultimately he felt uncomfortable with the politicizing of morality: "I've no doubt that there are many well-meaning people who will be voting for Amendment One because they sincerely believe that marriage is something that 'must be protected.' (But) It's not. It's really not. Not by a political gimmick anyway."

Unlike Knight, many North Carolina conservatives voted for Amendment One, which "The Charlotte Observer" called 'a Bible Belt showdown,' which pitted two elements of the Tarheel State against one another. The first being conservative rural and small-town North Carolina from places like Eden, Burlington and Salisbury against urban and college-town progressives in places like Asheville, Chapel Hill and Greensboro.

Amendment One passed by a 61-39 margin on May 8th, in a day in which Tea Party activists also tried to challenge congressional representatives from the right even within the Republican Party with one such effort by arch-conservative Billy Yow to upset Cong. Howard Cobel (R-NC) ending up in futility.

In his May 3rd blog spot, Knight also talked about the root origins of the Amendment One movement which progressed when Republicans took over the House of Delegates in the fall elections of 2010. According to Knight, the movement was started by the Rev. Ron Baity of the Berean Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, and that during one service the minister referred to Pres. Barack Obama as 'Hussein Obama.'

One church in Winston-Salem, Edgewood Baptist Church openly encouraged people to vote for Amendment One both with its church sign and on its web site. The church said there was bipartisan support for the measure, but many prominent Democrats, such as Cong. Brad Miller (D-NC) opposed it.

The opposition was quite vocal about the matter as well as 10,000 people gathered on Fayetville Street in downtown Raleigh on the day of the vote, according to "Indy Weekly."

The Unitarian Fellowship of Raleigh also expressed opposition to the initiative by stating it would be a clear civil rights violation for gays and lesbians across North Carolina.

(For more on this story, including how it was viewed by African-Americans and how the Bert and Ernie are gay suggestion actually originated in North Carolina, visit our sister blog "Politics, Culture and Other Wastes of Time"

Pictured above: 1) Two gay grooms on a wedding cake 2) Welcome to North Carolina sign 3) The Rev. Franklin Graham, though not mentioned in this piece, he is the leading conservative evangelical activist in the state of North Carolina.

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