Staying married has its dangers. Off the top of our heads -- and this is purely at random, mind you, it has nothing whatsoever to do with the inability of lawmakers to address NC's real problems -- all of these things can threaten a marriage: the loss of a job and resulting money troubles, a chronic medical condition and no health insurance, destitute in-laws whose Medicaid benefits have been cut, children who are miserable because their schools lack the resources to address their learning needs, and restrictive abortion laws that shame and punish women for making the gut-wrenching decision to terminate a pregnancy, even when their lives are in danger.
What doesn't threaten the sanctity of marriage is the existence of gay people. Try as we may, we cannot think of a single instance in which gay men or lesbians seeking to commit to one another in a faithful, respectful long-term partnership threatens heterosexual people seeking to do the same.
Which is why the so-called "Sanctity of Marriage" Act perplexes us. We're not sure when or why NC lawmakers decided to start blaming gay people for the inability of straight people to stay together for better or for worse. But blame them they did, with lemminglike hysteria when they stampeded to a special short session this September called specifically for one single task so important they were willing to shell out $150,000 a day in taxpayer money to address it: they convened so that they could vote to ban any legal relationship recognitions for same-sex couples. A constitutional amendment is now on the May 2012 Primary ballot for all North Carolinians to vote on.
Sadly, while the NC Senate split along party lines, in the NC House there were ten Democrats who voted yes to this amendment: Rep. Bill Brisson of Duplin County; Rep. Jim Crawford of Granville County; Rep. Elmer Floyd of Cumberland County; Rep. Ken Goodman of Richmond County; Rep. Charles Graham of Robeson County; Rep. Dewey Hill of Columbus County; Rep. Frank McGuirt of Union County; Rep. Bill Owens of Pasquotank County; Rep. Garland Pierce of Scotland County; and Rep. Tim Spear of Washington County.
We expected better of these ten. Which is why we have awarded them the top spot in our November Hall of Shame. Look closely. These are the faces of lawmakers who gave in to the preposterous notion that straight people have anything whatsoever to fear from gay people (other than their power at the ballot box, of course):