Breaking: Debate discussion reveals that the NC marriage amendment ballot initiative will not contain GOP’s bogus last-minute additional language meant to appease business community’s concerns.


(Photo: Rep. Paul “Skip” Stam (R-Apex), Moderator Professor Michael Gerhardt of the UNC School of Law, House Minority Whip Rep. Rick Glazier (D-Cumberland).

The debate on the topic of North Carolina’s discriminatory, job-killing marriage amendment was really over before it began when bill sponsor, the bigoted State House Majority Leader Rep. Paul “Skip” Stam (R-Apex) passed out two documents to the attendees at UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Law today. In his opening remarks he gleefully referred to the “Act Concerning Marriages (1669)” handout (below) as if it were some holy text representing law in North Carolina. He seems to have forgotten that in 1669, blacks were slaves and they couldn’t even marry one another. That’s a real tradition to uphold.

However, the news that caused a several gasps in the room today was the language added to the bill at the last minute:

SECTION 1. Article 14 of the North Carolina Constitution is amended by adding the following new section:
“Sec. 6. Marriage. Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be 10 valid or recognized in this State. This section does not prohibit a private party from entering  into contracts with another private party; nor does this section prohibit courts from adjudicating the rights of private parties pursuant to such contracts.

Unfortunately, that language does nothing for municipalities or counties that extended domestic partnership benefits – those are washed away. If a same-sex couple has private arrangements with one another that grant them the limited benefits of, say, health care power of attorney, that’s legal of course (any two parties can do that).  But since all domestic unions are not to be recognized by the state, it’s open to legal challenge.  Thus private companies are NOT safe from this amendment. Any fundie who wants to challenge same-sex spousal equivalent benefits can tie a mess up in court over the vague language.

Stam is either deluded or lying (ah, I don’t have to be polite and soft-step that). Besides, even if that ends up as legal – this amendment sets up our state to allow companies to consider same-sex couples as married equivalents, while NC state workers in same-sex committed relationships are legally strangers in NC. How is that representing “all men are created equal” in our constitution?

Here’s the Scribd doc I created from Stam’s handout on the foundations of marriage in NC. I put his face on the front page to forever enshrine his bigotry and ignorance on it. “Act Concerning Marriages (1669)”.

NC Rep. Paul “Skip” Stam’s Marriage Lesson
Stam in all his glory during his opening statement:

 

House Minority Whip Rick Glazier exposed Rep. Skip Stam’s fraudulent arguments regarding the  marriage amendment early on, and as Think Progress reports, Stam said gay folks are ‘Things’ Whose Relationships Can Be ‘Treated Differently.”  Rick Glazier wasn’t having any of it:

 

GLAZIER: We engage here in an incredible slippery slope. So if gay folks aren’t allowed — don’t have the fundamental right to do the one thing that as human beings we all want to do, which is to decide who we want to live with, who we want to marry, who we want to have a relationship with. Then explain to me, maybe you should tell the folks, does that mean that they also don’t have the right to public office? That’s a lesser constitutional right to run for public office than it is to decide who you’re going to spend your day with.

Thank you, Rick Glazier, for countering the senseless fear and bigotry behind the amendment during today’s debate, and for presenting reasonable, logical and fact-based arguments why this ballot initiative could hurt not just same-sex couples, but many other NC families. I cannot believe (well, yeah I can) how many times Stam flat out lied about the intent and purpose of the amendment., while ignoring attempts to steer the discussion back to reality. His 1669 “marriage history lesson” was a laughable flop.

I’ll have more breakdown of the event later (sadly because, well, the day job intervenes). Below the fold, my Tweets from the debate, in chronological order. :)

My debate Tweets

@pamspaulding
At UNC Law in CH to cover the Stam/Glazier debate on NC marriage amendment. Big turnout! Follow #ncpol and @@pamspaulding on Twitter

@pamspaulding
@PaulSkipStam and @RickGlazier just arrived. Nice to see ally Glazier; sadly I can’t say the same of the bigoted lawmaker from Apex. #ncpol

@pamspaulding
The debate is about to begin. #ncpol Qs will be taken from the audience. With 10 min speeches from Stam and Glazier. #ncpol

@pamspaulding
.@PaulSkipStam passes out paper on state of marriage law in 1669. Naturally, in 1669, blacks couldn’t marry in 1669 either, #ncpol

@pamspaulding
@PaulSkipStam does not believe his amendment constitutes hate speech or bigotry. Ha! #ncpol

@pamspaulding
.@PaulSkipStam: suggests the limitations on marriage in this bill is fine since bigamy, polygamy and child marriage is banned. #ncpol

@pamspaulding
.@PaulSkipStam: the bill doesn’t ban private arrangements between two people, or ban corporate same sen. #ncpol

@pamspaulding
.@RickGlazier points out that this amendment is much more than banning SSM and any other recognition of same sex couples. #ncpol

@pamspaulding
This is about fear, plain and simple – @RickGlazier. At a minimum, it changes legal parenting rights, eligibility to housing… #ncpol

@pamspaulding
.@RickGlazier. legislation discussed for less than an hour before debate, no public input. Not a model for governing. #ncpol

@pamspaulding
.@RickGlazier. Domestic partnerships exhibit the permanence of marriage but will be swept away by this amendment #ncpol

@pamspaulding
.@RickGlazier. How many people/groups will we vote off of the civil rights island, Rep. Stam #ncpol

@pamspaulding
.@RickGlazier. The family units predate marriage. People care for one another meet the societal need for trust and closeness. #ncpol

@pamspaulding
.@RickGlazier. Family and long term committed relationships is about values, not biology. #ncpol
4 hours ago

@pamspaulding
.@RickGlazier. I’m sure Liz Taylor loved all seven of her husbands. #ncpol
4 hours ago

@pamspaulding
.@RickGlazier. Under this amendment the most intimate lfetime association we choose should not be subject to gov’t approval #ncpol

@pamspaulding
.@RickGlazier. The NC constitution was not designed as device to maintain biases of the majority. Irrationality cannot be tolerated. #ncpol

@pamspaulding
Q to Stam about the timing, procedure of the bills passage. Why in May v. Nov. Insists it was Gov Perdue’s input. #ncpol

@pamspaulding
.@paulskipstam: insists that functionality nothing was different about the language (not addressing Q about public input.) #ncpol

@pamspaulding
.@paulskipstam: “no lack of discussion” (Pam: OMG what a lie) #ncpol

@pamspaulding
.@rickglazier: It was a set up from the moment we walked in; new version submitted, and no public debate. #ncpol

@pamspaulding
.@rickglazier: The language added tries to blunt business/personal relationships won’t even appear on the ballot #ncpol

@pamspaulding
.@paulskipstam: He claims that he’s sorry that the mitigating language on private/corp agreements isn’t on the ballot. #ncpol

@pamspaulding
.@RickGlazier to @paulskipstam: I don’t disagree with the “compromise language”, I disagree with the whole amendment. #ncpol

@pamspaulding
Q: Why is this amendment different than any other restriction on marriage? Glazier brings up Loving v. VA re: changes to law. #ncpol

@pamspaulding
@RickGlazier: Why aren’t we invalidating marriages for infertile couples or those who choose not to have children? #ncpol

@pamspaulding
.@PaulSkipStam: brings up the poligamy question directed to Glazier. #ncpol
4 hours ago

@pamspaulding
.@RickGlazier: State has interest in incest, polygamy he says the state has at some point to regulate stability of relationship #ncpol

@pamspaulding
.@RickGlazier: Why aren’t we focusing on domestic violence and child abuse than a gay couple next door. #ncpol

@pamspaulding
Q on the impact of this amendment re: business retention and growth on an already weak economy. #ncpol

@pamspaulding
.@PaulSkipStam: claims it’s a red herring and that he hasn’t seen a problem in the 30 states with an amendment. #ncpol

@pamspaulding
.@PaulSkipStam: cites some study (?) saying 10 states with best economies have amendments (someone check that) #ncpol

@pamspaulding
.@RickGlazier: notes that least amount of divorces are in Mass. #ncpol

@pamspaulding
.@RickGlazier: back to the economy, the amendment bars DPs, CUs, and heterosexual DPs. That will affect corporate decisions. #ncpol

@pamspaulding
.@RickGlazier: Things change – we no longer execute 16 year olds, the amendment means we don’t trust the people. #ncpol

@pamspaulding
Q: If this amendment doesn’t change the status quo, what harm does it cause? #ncpol

@pamspaulding
.@RickGlazier: We are sending a signal that we are setting up a permanent second class of citizens based on personal relationships #ncpol

@pamspaulding
.@PaulSkipStam: Objects that this law will have any impact on domestic violence law effectiveness. #ncpol

@pamspaulding
.@RickGlazier: Law in OH have been tied up in courts over the protections in DV laws there. We should have had a public hearing in NC #ncpol

@pamspaulding
Q: How do you square our state constitution’s language that all men R created equal with your view and the language of the amendment? #ncpol

@pamspaulding
Glazier mentions that Stam is setting up a slippery slope re: what basic rights citizens have can be challenged. #ncpol

@pamspaulding
Stam has an interesting fixation on polygamy, bigamy and adult incest. #ncpol

@pamspaulding
They wrap up. #ncpol