Well, naysayers out there who said that the President would not say a peep about the discriminatory Amendment One in NC because it's an election year (even though he did so in 2008 for Prop 8), you'll have to eat crow. His campaign obviously "did the math" and decided it was the right thing to do to release a statement opposing it.
“While the president does not weigh in on every single ballot measure in every state, the record is clear that the President has long opposed divisive and discriminatory efforts to deny rights and benefits to same sex couples,” said Cameron French, his North Carolina campaign spokesman.
“That’s what the North Carolina ballot initiative would do – it would single out and discriminate against committed gay and lesbian couples – and that’s why the President does not support it.”
I've blogged about the silence to date by this President (and, sadly, even the First Lady) as there was trip after trip to NC to fill campaign coffers, even with crowing about the success in repealing DADT, only to ignore the obvious discrimination that's going on the ballot here on May 8.
The low point for me came on Wednesday (and I recounted this story on the Michelangelo Signorile Show yesterday) when I encountered the new (and green) Organizing for America Durham field office rep during a black constituency group meeting that I was addressing to explain the harms of Amendment One.
She sat next to me and I politely introduced myself and said, "oh that's great, I have a question to ask." I told her why I was there, and that we have been hoping the DNC and the President/First Lady would step up and actively help defeat Amendment One, since the President already publicly condemned such amendments and specifically did so for Proposition 8 in CA. What does this woman say?
It was a clearly well-rehearsed response: "we all have to be on the same team and have to be on the same page so "our main man" gets back in office." The implication that asking for a statement was somehow in conflict with working to re-elect the President.
I said, "yes we are, but I'm not asking for anything that the administration has already taken a position on. "
She replied, "It's a sensitive situation here."
Maybe someone up the campaign food chain finally figured out there's no harm in pointing out that discrimination placed in a state constitution is simply wrong. It's not like we're asking for an endorsement of marriage equality. He's got that problem as well -- related to the platform -- with many of his fellow Dems calling for marriage equality language to be added to it, but that's not the same issue for North Carolina.
If people are that uptight about that frank and earnest statement of opposition to Amendment One stated above, the President shouldn't have expected to win over those votes anyway.
Thank you Mr. President.
Here is the statement from ProtectNCFamilies:
“We applaud the President’s opposition to Amendment One,” said Jeremy Kennedy, campaign manager for Protect All NC Families. “The President’s support is proof that Amendment One, which could take health care away from children, put domestic violence laws in jeopardy, in addition to hurting all unmarried couples in North Carolina, has far-reaching, negative consequences.
And the office of the governor, Bev Perdue, tweeted:
@ncgovoffice: #Amendment1 is wrong: the Constitution is for guaranteeing rights, not taking them away. We must protect all NC families.
You might recall that, prior to her decision not to run for re-election, Gov. Perdue issued a tepid statement in opposition of Amendment One that, quite frankly, was offensive in re-affirming her belief that civil marriage is for heterosexual couples only and almost left the impact of the amendment on lesbian and gay couples out of it.
“My top priority is creating jobs. Too many people are out of work and I’ve heard from several business leaders who’ve told me that the proposed constitutional amendment will harm our state’s business climate and make it harder to grow jobs here. I believe that marriage is between one man and one woman: That’s why I voted for the law in 1996 that defines marriage as between one man and one woman, and that’s why I continue to support that law today. But I’m going to vote against the amendment because I cannot in good conscience look an unemployed man or woman in the eye and tell them that this amendment is more important than finding them a job. In addition, a number of legal experts have argued that this amendment, if passed, could eliminate legal protections for all unmarried couples in our state, regardless of sexual orientation. Right now, my focus, the General Assembly’s focus, and North Carolina’s focus needs to be on creating jobs.”
With the President out of the closet on this matter, I guess she's found a backbone to say what the amendment is about - discrimination.
Now for those of you who have been holding back on donating to fight this hateful amendment, will you please help? Many thanks in advance!
* Latest Elon poll: Majority of North Carolinians Oppose Anti-Gay Constitutional Amendment
* White House dances around President’s ‘evolution’ on marriage equality – and a question about Amendment One
* As anti-Amendment One momentum grows, will the President say anything when he visits NC on Wed?
* More opponents of Amendment One should stand up and say what its bigotry is really about