I had the pleasure of visiting Charlotte (NC) this past weekend, and in the true spirit of Southern hospitality, the Queen City did not disappoint this weary traveler.  Having the good fortune of mild temperatures, long walks through lovely gardens abundant with ferns, roses, azaleas, magnolias and irises were made even more memorable under the gaze of the fullest moon this side of the hemisphere.  Not unlike Williamsburg (VA) and our local regions, boxwood shrubs were quite plentiful, as were colorful placards on almost every front-yard, either in support or in opposition to Amendment One, scheduled for a public vote tomorrow.  My hostess proudly pointed out the nays outweighed ayes, at least in the more civilized and enlightened parts of the state -- with the exception being counties to be found in that particular intersection of bible belt and gun belt, allegedly located down in the 'south-eastern bit.' And irrespective of wherever that place is located on the map (easily evidenced by tomorrow's poll results), the general consensus of Charlotte seemed to be that marriage equality should be respected and guaranteed for all citizens, irrespective of one's religious beliefs, or, the urgings of particular parish clergy who favor the fire and brimstone interpretations of religious text.

In the latest issue of Creative Loafing (Charlotte's other newspaper), editor Mark Kemp, wrote that ' When we say Amendment One is the single most important civil rights issue of our times, that in no way diminishes other important civil rights issues, from the continued racial profiling of African-Americans and Latinos to the hate-filled targeting of religious minorities.  And the passage of Amendment One would impact those things, too, in that it would officially write bigotry into our state's constitution.  This is a radical measure put forth by radical right-wing conservative politicians who have decided that their own fears and personal religious beliefs are more important than liberty and justice for all.  They've decided that an entire population should be treated as less than human.  And that is unacceptable.'  This opinion is hared by many including the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics who have all passed resolutions supporting 'full, legal marriage equality.' On April 5, the North Carolina Pediatric Society, Psychiatric Association, Psychological Association and the National Association of Social Worker (North Carolina branch) voiced their opposition to the proposed amendment, citing '{its} potential for producing a devastating effect on the health of North Carolina families.'

Tomorrow, North Carolina will decide whether equal rights for all citizens will be upheld, or that dark period of bigotry, xenophobia, and hate once believed to be a thing of the past, will be revisited and revived.  I am somewhat optimistic that the good people of North Carolina will do the right thing, yet I'm well aware that in this time of uncertainty, a call to 'tradition(s),' however skewered, holds much attraction to some.

If you have a friend or family member in North Carolina, please consider making a call or dropping them a line, asking their support in saying NO to Amendment One.


PS:  My heartfelt thanks to Pam Spaulding (of Pam's House Blend blog, and NC AIDS Action Network) for her tireless efforts on behalf of defeating Amendment One and ensuring marriage equality for all NC citizens!!


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