Yesterday, the voters of North Carolina voted to protect marriage as between one man and one woman. It became the 31st state to protect marriage and did so through a constitutional amendment.
What is striking about the victory isn’t that it passed, but the margins its passed by. The latest tally puts support for the bill at 61.05% for marriage with 38.95% against. The overwhelming support for the amendment in an Obama state drives home the fact that although republicans in Washington have all but thrown this issue out of their re-election planks, it still resonates with voters and demonstrates why Obama hasn’t come out with a full-throated endorsement of gay marriage thus far.
The fact remains that the protection of marriage as an institution is largely accepted as the bedrock of the American family and in turn, represents the foundation of our society. While poll watchers and politicians have been distancing themselves from the protection of marriage, the views of many Americans have not “evolved”.
Many on the left legitimately view the issue as a civil rights matter. But the people of the United States have spoken over 31 times in favor of the protection of marriage. Even in Obama states, voters have recognized that this is not a civil rights issue.
Denying a marriage license to two men is nothing like the violation of the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of protection of life, liberty and property that abortion presents. The protection of marriage seeks not to take away rights from Americans but rather, prevents the government from creating new rights for new relationships. This presents a stark difference from race relations of the last century where minorities were denied entrance into bathrooms, schools and restaurants. The civil rights plight of MLK Jr. and other black Americans was a righteous cause that sought equal treatment so that blacks no longer had to be content with used text books and Jim Crow laws while sitting at the back of the bus. That movement was about the fact that blacks were treated as second class citizens. The same cannot be said of every political movement.
Now days, many on the left argue that this is a civil rights issue. But no gay person is treated as a second class citizen under our laws. The denial of new privileges and rewards is not a civil rights issue. It is a political battle for new rights by a minority demographic. The people of North Carolina demonstrated that they understand that the only way to achieve true equality is to treat people the same, not carve out new rights for special demographics. The war is far from over, but the margin of victory suggests the win of a major battle.