I am writing you with a last-minute appeal to get to the polls for next Tuesday’s election, when voters decide whether to amend the state constitution, defining marriage between a man and a woman as “the only domestic legal union” inNorth Carolina. In addition to inserting discrimination based on sexual orientation into our constitution, the amendment would also have consequences for couples, straight or gay, who have not married, and for their children. No one knows exactly what those consequences will be, and it will take years of court challenges and judicial opinions before we find out. The NC Council of Churches is opposed to the amendment, and we are grateful for the pastors, bishops, and other religious leaders across the state who are speaking out in opposition. We also know there are people of integrity inside the Council’s tent who on the other side of this issue, and we respect their right to disagree.
How will the amendment fare next Tuesday? The outcome really will depend on who cares enough about the issue to vote.
So I am pleading with you: Please vote. The polls will be open next Tuesday, May 8, from 6:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. If you are already registered, you can vote anytime during the day at your local precinct. If you aren’t sure where your polling place is or aren’t sure whether you are properly registered, you can find that information by clicking here.
If you are not already registered, you can still register and vote at a One Stop Voting Location. The last day for one-stop voting is this Saturday, May 6. These One Stop Voting Locations are not the same as your local precinct, and hours of operation vary. So if you still need to register or if you just want to go ahead and vote before Tuesday, click here for a map and county-by-county list of locations and hours. But do it beforemidday Saturday.
In addition to being sure that your vote is cast and counted, please encourage others – your family, your neighbors, friends at church – to vote as well.
Ultimately, this election is about people – people who are gay or lesbian – and whether our constitution is going to discriminate against them. It is decidedly not about whether we favor same-gender marriage. Many people who are voting against the amendment are not in favor of same-gender marriage, but they do recognize discrimination and don’t want it in our constitution. It’s also not about protecting opposite-gender marriage. As last week’s incident involving Speaker Tillis’ chief of staff or the ongoing trial of John Edwards make painfully clear, the challenge to straight marriages is not gay marriage, but the hurtful things straight couples do to each other.
No, it’s about people. People who are created in God’s image and loved by God. People who are our relatives, our neighbors, our co-workers, our fellow church members. As you decide how to vote, or even whether to vote, I hope you will remember the people you know personally who would be discriminated against by this constitutional amendment. So vote. Please vote.
–George Reed, Executive Director