In what has to be seen as a desperate move, given they have not been able to make the case that Amendment One “protects marriage as God designed it,” the crowd at Vote for Marriage NC tries — and fails to refute the fact that domestic violence laws and benefits for unmarried couples in domestic partnerships could be affected if the amendment passes.
In the following ad — which is honestly kind of bone-headed because it plays the anti-Amendment ad side by side with its lunacy, giving our side more air time — the pro-discrimination forces cite Campbell University School of Law professors’ white paper on the ballot initiative. They deem no one will be hurt by interpretations of its vague language.
The opposition knows that they are fighting an uphill battle. In utter desperation, they have placed YOU on an emotional roller coaster… intentionally trying to confuse and distract you with false messages. Let me be clear: the oppositions’ ads are unfounded, unmerited, and unbelievable.
To counter this deceptive campaign of desperation, we released a response TV ad to air Statewide. We believe that North Carolinians deserve to know the truth.
In this ad, we cite legal scholars from Campbell University School of Law, refuting the scare tactics that our opposition is using. Our ad affirms the simple and straight-forward truth of the Marriage Protection Amendment.
Unfortunately, those “experts” are hardly unbiased or independent. Equality Matters goes through the backgrounds of each of these so-called independent experts and they all have an anti-gay agenda.
Lynn R. Buzzard: In a 2003 interview with North Carolina’s News & Observer, Buzzard voiced his support for a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, saying:
The biggest concern is the extent to which it poses an assault, whether intended or not, on the basic institution of marriage. Many observers, of whom I’m one, feel the institution of marriage has been at the core of Western culture, that it’s the principal institution — not government, not the state, not business, but the family — and that there has been this historic linkage between the institution of marriage and child-rearing and family, and the relationship of sexuality and marriage. All of those are at risk in this movement to redefine the notion of marriage.
William A. Woodruff: Woodruff has a history of anti-gay activism and legal work. Most notable he was a strong opponent of allowing gays to serve in the military under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT)…In 1995, he co-authored a law review article titled “Gays in the Military: What About Morality, Ethics, Character and Honor?,” again arguing in opposition to allowing gays and lesbians to serve in the military.The article stated: “Service members who have a genuine propensity to indulge in homosexual acts have a serious handicap, which many would call a character defect, regardless of how soldierly, good, or noble they may be in other respects.”
Gregory Wallace: As InterstateQ noted in February, Wallace isn’t an unbiased commentator when it comes to the debate over same-sex marriage. He has ties to the Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law’s “Marriage Law Project” (MLP) a legal assistance program that “seeks to reaffirm marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”
But let’s go directly to the contention that this amendment doesn’t cause any harms to gay and lesbian couples or opposite-sex couples and their kids, or threaten protections for domestic violence victims. North Carolina Lawyers Weekly directly challenges the vague language, stating that “domestic legal union” is in no existing NC statute. That means by default, it will have to be interpreted by the courts to sort matters out. Vote for Marriage NC cannot make a blanket claim that it will NOT cause harms.
[I]ts impact on a broad range of family law topics is decidedly muddled, and it could take the appellate court years to untangle the issues. Family law attorneys are prepared for a potential raft of cases interpreting and challenging the law.
“After the test case, we’ll know better what to do,” said Rebecca Perry, a family law attorney with McKinney Perry Coalter in Greensboro. “Until that time, I don’t know how lawyers can particularly help the situation. We’re just going to have to shoot in the dark and hope we hit something.”
Case law in other states offers little help. Currently, 29 states have amendments prohibiting same-sex marriage, but many differ significantly in language from Amendment One. Ten states have constitutions that limit marriage to heterosexual couples. Another 19 ban same-sex marriage and other types of same-sex unions. Most clearly intend to preclude legislatures from creating civil unions between same-sex couples closely approximating marriage.
Changes to domestic violence laws
When Ohio passed a similar amendment in 2004, some judges ruled it invalidated domestic violence protections for all unmarried partners. At least 27 domestic violence convictions were dismissed or overturned. Nearly three years passed before the Ohio Supreme Court reinstated the convictions and restored protections to unmarried partners, according to research by law professors at the University of North Carolina School of Law.
Currently, North Carolina’s domestic violence statute covers six classes of persons: current and former spouses, persons of opposite sex who live or have lived together, parents and children, people who have a child in common, current and former household members, and persons of opposite sex who are or have been in a dating relationship. Domestic law attorneys fear that some of these classes may become unconstitutional if courts say they violate the amendment’s prohibition on recognizing a “domestic legal union” besides marriage.
So now, who do you believe — attorneys who are certain that what Amendment One represents is legal chaos that only will be clarified in the courts, or a few “experts” with an anti-gay agenda propped up by Vote for Marriage NC in a desperate response ad? I guess its original bible-based bigotry ad wasn’t cutting it.
After all, even a legislator and sponsor of the amendment whose vote placed this abomination on the ballot just said on Thursday that he’s planning to Vote Against the amendment because “it goes too far.” What does Vote for Marriage NC’s Tami Fitzgerald say about that recant? I don’t see ANYONE reversing their “against” vote to vote for discrimination.