Carrboro symbolically passes resolution against DOMA

CLARIFICATION: Due to a reporting error, the original version of this story incorrectly states the marital status of Ted Gellar-Goad. He and his partner have not applied for domestic partnership in Carrboro. The two were married in Massachusetts, but their marriage is not recognized in North Carolina. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for the error.

The Carrboro Board of Aldermen passed a resolution this week against the N.C. Defense of Marriage Act, a measure proposed in the N.C. General Assembly.

In a symbolic move, the board unanimously voted to oppose the bill, which would allow voters to make the state’s ban on recognizing gay marriage an amendment to North Carolina’s constitution.

The act at a glance

What it says: The act would put an amendment banning state recognition of same-sex marriage on the Nov. 6 ballot.

What it would change: State law already bans same-sex marriage, but this will write it into the constitution — making it harder for future legislators to make gay marriage illegal.

The ballot:
[ ] FOR [ ] AGAINST
“Constitutional amendment to provide that marriage is the union of one man and one woman at one time, and no other relationship shall be recognized as a valid marriage by the State.”

The legislation wouldn’t change anything in practice, but would make it harder to repeal the ban.

Alderman Dan Coleman said the proposed bill would constitutionally deny the rights of an entire class of people.

“It’s in the face of our 200-year history of expanding our understanding of rights,” he said. “This is a big step backwards.”

The Chapel Hill Town Council has expressed similar opposition to the bill, said Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt.

“We are planning on reaffirming our opposition in September,” he said. “The General Assembly is practicing bad policy making and poor leadership.”

Kleinschmidt said he doesn’t think the bill will pass through the legislature, which is expected to take up the issue this month.

Ferrel Guillory, the director of the Program on Public Life, said Carrboro’s resolution will have little impact on state policy. He said the Board of Aldermen has adopted similar resolutions in the past.

“The legislature can do much more than symbolism — they act,” he said. “Carrboro can’t enact anything.”

Guillory said the bill might have been proposed by Republicans to bring conservative voters to the polls.

N.C. Rep. Dale Folwell, R-Forsyth, said he supports the amendment because it will give voters a chance to make it harder to overturn the law defining marriage as heterosexual.

“It’s not about the way somebody chooses to live their lifestyle — how does it affect people, other than what they are already doing?”

Ted Gellar-Goad, a graduate student at UNC who is in a domestic partnership, said that lack of effect marks the bill as a political move.

“My marriage is already not recognized,” he said. “They’re banning something that’s already banned.”

Alderwoman Lydia Lavelle said she opposes the bill’s broad language, and Coleman said he worries the amendment could hurt the local economy.

“International companies that are very sophisticated are looking for places … that will treat their workers equally,” he said.

Contact the City Editor at city@dailytarheel.com.

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