If Amendment One passes next month, the consequences will span far beyond the institution of marriage.
Its effects would be felt across the state. As leaders of the UNC Roosevelt Institute, the campus chapter of a national student policy network, we see the potential for harmful repercussions in areas as diverse as culture, economic development and health care. We encourage voters to turn out and vote against Amendment One, considering the serious ramifications that its passage would entail.
On May 8, North Carolina voters will decide whether to ratify a proposed change to the state constitution, which would ban legal recognition for all partnerships except marriages between one man and one woman.
This proposal — Amendment One — ranks among the most restrictive in a wave of similar referenda sweeping the country, reading “marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state.”
The social justice implications are the most obvious: the amendment would invalidate all relationships that do not fall within its narrowly defined parameters.
It would constitutionally exclude North Carolina’s estimated 186,000 households with unmarried partners (91 percent of which are heterosexual couples) from the legal, economic, and insurance-based benefits of state-recognized union.
In addition, children raised by unmarried parents may lose access to health insurance offered via domestic partnership benefits, and many domestic violence protections will not apply to unmarried couples.
The impact on LGBT youth is also a concern. At a time of increasing awareness of bullying and social isolation, the intolerant language in this amendment could serve to intensify these problems.
Beyond social justice, the implications for economic development are no less important.