Wrong would be if I failed to love,” said Reverend Hayes of Kernersville, NC at the Equality Rally in Raleigh on Tuesday. Reverend Hayes is a preacher and inspirational speaker, who deemed himself “an African-American-Jesus-believing-gay self.” He brought a sense of spiritual revolution to the rally that was in response to the anti-LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) Amendment.
If you don’t know about what’s going on in NC Senate right now in terms of civil rights, check out this story from the Independent Weekly. To make a long story short, NC has passed a bill that not only doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage but takes away constitutional rights that were already in place.
Here is a short excerpt from the NC Equality website:
What would an anti-LGBT amendment do?
The proposed Senate language represents the most extreme version of an anti-gay amendment. In addition to limiting marriage to opposite sex couples, as state statute already does, it would prohibit any other form of relationship recognition, such as civil union or domestic partnership. This kind of language has been used in other states to take away private benefits such as health insurance for LGBT couples, unmarried opposite-sex couples, and their children. This is a not a hypothetical issue but a very real one. These amendments have also been used to challenge other private contracts between couples. The amendment would not only write the current discriminatory marriage law into the constitution, it would actually take away rights and responsibilities that are currently available to some couples.
If you want to find out more and get involved got to NC Equality’s website.
Reverend Hayes went on to speak about the direct link between civil rights his grandparents fought for in the 1950s and the fight for LGBT rights today. When will the senate see the same wrongs being committed today? he asked. One of the calls to action Hayes asked for was for those in the LGBT community to “queer their space.” “Queer your space even when you’re in Wal-Mart,” he said and received laughter from the crowd. I think what he’s saying is important and not always easy or comfortable to do. They’ve surveyed people all across NC, and those that knew just ONE LGBT person felt open to same-sex marriage and opposed to this anti-LBGT amendment. I think what Hayes means is to make sure everyone knows that they work with, lives next to, do Zumba with, shop with a LGBT person. I’d add that straight allies can “queer their space” by talking openly about the LGBT people in their own lives and not sitting silently when bigotry is brought to the table.
Here is another excerpt from NC Equality to explain the argument against the amendment. If you already agree or if this convinces you, then all that’s left to do is speak up and VOTE! More photos from the rally below as well.
What are our key arguments against the amendment?
- The anti-gay amendment causes real harm. It harms couples who will be denied even the most basic protections and it harms vulnerable LGBT young people by sending a terrible message that their state and their neighbors consider them second-class citizens unworthy of basic dignity and fair treatment, a message which exacerbates the epidemic of LGBT young people committing suicide.
- The anti-gay amendment is bad for business. It intrudes on businesses’ right to provide competitive benefits to their employees and it signals to major employers that our state is not welcoming of the diverse, creative workforce that is needed to compete in the global economy.
- The anti-gay amendment is a distraction from the voters’ priorities. The legislature was sent to Raleigh to tackle jobs, the economy, and the state budget, not to advance a divisive social agenda.
- Marriage is already denied same-sex couples by state law. The amendment doesn’t change marriage in any way. It simply attacks LGBT North Carolinians and puts their basic rights up for a vote.
- Amending the constitution is an extreme act, not a conservative one. Constitutions are designed to protect rights and not to take them away. The rights of a minority should never be put to a majority vote.