May 07, 2012 2:20 pm ET - by Carlos Maza
On Tuesday, North Carolinians will vote on a proposed constitutional amendment which would prohibit the state from recognizing any form of “domestic legal union” other than heterosexual marriage. As critics of the amendment have pointed out, the measure’s broad wording would ban civil unions and domestic partnerships while also threatening health benefits and domestic violence protections for unmarried couples.
In Sunday’s edition of the Fayetteville Observer, NC House Majority Leader Paul Stam (R) – a chief proponent of the amendment – explained that the measure’s broad wording was actually the result of pressure from the anti-gay Alliance Defense Fund (ADF):
Stam, the Raleigh lawmaker, said he wanted a more narrowly worded amendment but was "overruled" by "national experts" he identified as the Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian legal advocacy group.
Stam says the state needs the amendment to protect marriage from efforts to de-legitimize it. If unmarried straight couples want the benefits of marriage, he said, they should get married.
"If they're not married, don't claim the benefits of marriage," he said. "Choose one or the other." [emphasis added]
The ADF has a history of fighting against LGBT equality, even when it isn’t related to same-sex marriage. ADF’s president, Alan Sears, recently said that “no compromise is possible” with those who promote the “homosexual agenda,” adding “It’s a form of totalitarianism.” That kind of anti-gay activism got the ADF labeled one of the “most influential anti-gay groups” in America in 2005.
It’s also raised the ire of Chris Fitzsimon, Director of NC Policy Watch, who wrote on Monday:
I don’t recall electing the Alliance Defense Fund to represent me or to overrule members of the North Carolina General Assembly. Apparently Stam’s first allegiance is to a hate group, not the people in Wake County that he is supposed to represent.
The president of the Alliance Defense Fund is Alan Sears, who along with Craig Osten, wrote a book a few years ago, “The Homosexual Agenda: Exposing the Principal Threat to Religious Freedom Today.”
The book is heavily promoted by the organization and many other zealots on the so-called Christian right. I read it this weekend after seeing Stam’s comments. It is disgusting.
The authors just don’t believe that same-sex marriage is wrong, they believe that it leads to “polygamy, endogamy (the marriage of blood relatives), bestiality and child marriage,” comments by the way that Stam himself made during the legislative debate last year.
They say that “pedophilia and homosexuality are intrinsically linked” and they see a conspiracy everywhere to promote the “radical homosexual agenda.” [emphasis added]
It’s disturbing to note that, at least initially, North Carolina’s anti-gay amendment was written to be broader than what some of its principal supporters thought was appropriate. Given the amendment’s broad scope – and the anti-gay extremists who pushed to expand it – it’s no surprise that even a number of conservatives are now criticizing the amendment for going “too far.”
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