Even Anti-Gay Conservatives Should Oppose North Carolina Gay Marriage Bill

Far be it from me to accuse politicians of dissemblance or disingenuity, but I smell a rat when it comes to the text of the proposed amendment to the cConstitution of North Carolina: 

Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State. This section does not prohibit a private party from entering into contracts with another private party; nor does this section prohibit courts from adjudicating the rights of private parties pursuant to such contracts. 

See what they did there?

The legislature threw in some conciliatory language about preserving the sanctity of contracts, but did it in a way that dooms the freedom of gay couples to determine their own living arrangements via contract. Let's follow the train of logic. 

The first part of the first sentence limits domestic legal unions to marriage. The hidden, but logically necessary, corollary upon any plain reading of the sentence precludes civil union and domestic partnership as a venue for gay couples. This makes the first clause of the next sentence about private contracts moot, should said contract concern a civil union or or domestic partnership.

The second clause of the second sentence is semantically meaningless, because it preserves a right to adjudicate private contracts immediately after limiting every judge in the state to a single interpretation of every contract involving civil union or domestic partnership contracts. Gee thanks. 

Now, whatever their beliefs about homosexuality may be, one thing every conservative considers vital to the health of a free country is freedom of contract and freedom of association (that may be the one sentence in this essay that 100% of the readers will agree on). And here we have not just a law, but a constitutional mandate, that decimates both. 

Another thing I know conservatives are fond of is the slippery slope argument. Take about 60 seconds of quiet reflection, my conservative friends, and imagine the possible unintended consequences of this ballot measure when it is your contracts and your associations that are out-of-favor.

Throw in a bit of Adam Smith-ian enlightened self interest, a dash of Christian charity, and a smattering of good sense. You are now a ready to get out there and defeat this amendment, like a good conservative should.

You're welcome.

How much do you trust the information in this article?

David Walker

David Walker is a middle school teacher and sometime attorney living in Oklahoma City.

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