I’ve spent the last several months battling and learning to live with the chronic, debilitating pain of rheumatoid arthritis. It has profoundly changed my health and life. However, it’s one thing to have a terrible roll of the health dice, it’s quite another to have your life profoundly affected by bigoted, scared legislators in the North Carolina General Assembly who thought putting my civil rights on the ballot was a good idea for our state.

That damaging, disgusting, politically craven action will now allow my fellow residents to choose whether North Carolina looks to the past, or embraces the trend toward equality by rejecting Amendment One.  As written, it would presumably “protect marriage” by permanently barring any unmarried couples (not just same-sex couples) from any legal recognition. That includes domestic partnerships and civil unions, which a majority of NC voters actually support.

I’m a native North Carolinian whose family has deep roots in the state and has played a significant part in the business and civil rights history of NC.  This amendment, which would restrict rights, not expand them, is wrong for our state. This is my first video about Amendment One.

Snippet: It will not “protect marriage” as some have talked about. It will actually prevent any legal recognition of same-sex couples. And that includes domestic partnerships, civil unions or any sort of recognition that people take for granted when they get a marriage license at the courthouse or county office.

This isn’t fair, it isn’t right, and it doesn’t represent the general political trend of North Carolina as one of the more progressive Southern states in the nation. This is a terrible aberration that will affect hundreds of thousands of families, not just same-sex couples. And from my point of view, it’s a terrible insult to me. I was born here, I chose to live in New York for many years. I chose to return to North Carolina because of the values we have here.

The full transcript is below the fold.

Transcript: Hi, I’m Pam Spaulding of PamsHouseBlend.com, a national political blog based in Durham, North Carolina, and I’m here to talk about Amendment One and the harms it will cause. This ballot initiative will be voted on May 8, 2012 by North Carolinians. They will determine whether or not to permanently enshrine discrimination into our state constitution.

It will not “protect marriage” as some have talked about. It will actually prevent any legal recognition of same-sex couples. And that includes domestic partnerships, civil unions or any sort of recognition that people take for granted when they get a marriage license at the courthouse or county office.

This isn’t fair, it isn’t right, and it doesn’t represent the general political trend of North Carolina as one of the more progressive Southern states in the nation. This is a terrible aberration that will affect hundreds of thousands of families, not just same-sex couples. And from my point of view, it’s a terrible insult to me. I was born here, I chose to live in New York for many years. I chose to return to North Carolina because of the values we have here.

My wife Kate and I married in Canada in 2004. When we come to our state after visiting relatives in other states we aren’t legally recognized as married. We may be married when we are in New York, we are married if we go to Iowa, or New Jersey [as a civil union] — our relationship is recognized in some form or fashion but not here, in the state where I was born.

So, it really hurts to think that legislators think I’m a second-class citizen, even though I pay taxes, I don’t break laws, I’m here to just be a North Carolinian who wants respect under the law, just like anyone else. And that harm [of the Amendment] is not something I see around me — my neighbors, my friends, my co-workers all support full equality, and see us as just neighbors.

We’re just other people living our lives…and why there a state intervention to instill discrimination into at this point and time is ridiculous and it’s wrong. And what we need to do is to educate people that voting NO on May 8 is incredibly important. We need to turn out at the polls to show people, our legislators, that they are wrong about wanting to put this into our state constitution.

So go to protectncfamilies.org to learn more about all of the harms of the amendment, and I’ll be doing other videos about this. Thanks.