The division that Amendment 1 caused in North Carolina is like nothing I’ve ever seen. Nothing good has come out of this decision. It’s caused hate to ripple through the state, it has divided neighbors, it has made people defend their faith, it has denied people’s rights.
Here’s what makes me really sad. Most of the people who voted for this Amendment didn’t do it because they hate gay people or because they wanted to deny anyone rights or because they think they are better than others and deserve more rights. They did it because their entire lives they’ve gone to church where they’ve been told if they don’t follow a strict set of rules they are going to hell. They’ve been controlled by this worldview since they were born. They believe what they’ve been told. Why shouldn’t they?
They were taught that marriage is between one man and one woman. That is God’s law and homosexuality is a sin. If they voted against the Amendment, they would be going against and disappointing God. They could go to hell for that. They have been taught that nothing comes before God. Not their family, not their friends, and certainly not the rights of people they’ve never met.
These are people who are just trying to live their lives in line with their religion. And then the politicians stepped in. They knew these people existed. They knew that North Carolina was full of people who were committed to their faith. They knew that the LGBT community was gaining more rights across the country and that wasn’t going to happen in their state. They weren’t going to be the only state in the southeast who didn’t write discrimination into their Constitution. How else were they going to keep their privilege and power? So, they created Amendment 1 and preyed on the people of faith. They preached in the churches and through the media that is was essential to preserve marriage between one man and one woman in the name of Jesus.
There are certainly oppressors in this state, but it’s not the religious folks sitting in the pews. They’re just trying to follow the rules their preachers are teaching them. Many of the people who voted for the Amendment are facing oppression just like the communities we’re fighting for. The people they trust are using them to further their agendas. Let’s stop looking at the 61% like they are villains and realize that only about 10% of them are the knuckleheads oppressing everyone. You can decide what you want to do about that, but don’t fall for their tricks again.