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Marriage Debate Moves to North Carolina
Posted By Thomas Messner On April 24, 2012 @ 10:00 am In Featured | Comments Disabled
According  to the Alliance Defense Fund, “Sixty-three million Americans have voted on marriage, and in 31 out of 31 states  they have protected marriage as the union between one man and one woman.”
On May 8, North Carolinians will have the same opportunity  when they vote on a ballot measure that would amend the North Carolina constitution to protect marriage as one man and one woman.
Throughout history, and in the law of most jurisdictions in Americastill today, marriage has been understood as a natural institution involving the unique unions of men and women. Legal regulations and social norms concerning entry into and exit from marriage and the incidents and effects of marriage might have changed through time. However, until quite recently, “it was an accepted truth for almost everyone who ever lived, in any society in which marriage existed, that there could be marriages only between participants of different sex.”  After all, only unions between individuals of different sexes can naturally produce children and, “but for children, there would be no need of any institution concerned with sex.” 
Today, however, the debate about marriage includes not only whether and how to strengthen marriage but also, more fundamentally, what marriage is . That is the question North Carolina voters will decide on May 8.
As the debate about marriage continues, increasing numbers of Americans will be forced to confront and decide fundamental issues of law, morality, and culture. On the one side of this debate is the view that marriage as one man and one woman is a form of institutionalized bigotry no better than racism. In this view, it is unjust for the state not to bless same-sex unions with both the benefits and label of “marriage.” Private institutions and individuals who object to facilitating or expressing moral support for same-sex marriage could face potential civil liability and discrimination in access to government benefits . Too often, those who disagree with redefining marriage are also subject to public derision  and even threats , intimidation, and other harms .
On the other side of this debate is the view that marriage is a natural institution that the state does not create  but that the state should protect because of society’s civilizational interest in promoting childbearing and the faithfulness of spouses to each other and their dependent children. Proponents of the traditional understanding of marriage focus on the public  purposes  of marriage, not the private reasons individuals might choose to marry. They also defy intense stereotyping by articulating a wide range of nonreligious reasons for supporting a traditional marriage policy , including that redefining marriage will contribute to an expanded  and more intrusive  government role in private life. In this view, support for marriage as one man and one woman does not equal animosity  against friends, family, and co-workers who experience same-sex attraction. Rather, support for marriage reflects a morally just and constitutionally valid social judgment that the unique union of a husband and wife should be accorded a unique status in culture and law and that doing so provides significant benefits to children  and society.
As the U.S. Supreme Court recognized  long ago, “the public is deeply interested” in maintaining the institution of marriage, because “it is the foundation of the family and of society,” and without it “there would be neither civilization nor progress.” Marriage remains just as important to society today.
State constitutional amendments play an important part in helping to strengthen marriage by:
In addition, efforts to defend the core meaning of marriage as having something to do with mothers, fathers, and children should be coupled with efforts to strengthen marriage in general .
Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org
URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2012/04/24/marriage-debate-moves-to-north-carolina/
URLs in this post:
 According: http://www.alliancedefensefund.org/marriage
 31 out of 31 states: http://oldsite.alliancedefensefund.org/userdocs/MarriageAmendmentVotePercentages.pdf
 the same opportunity: http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/04/20/2013625/thousands-rally-to-back-nc-marriage.html
 “it was an accepted truth for almost everyone who ever lived, in any society in which marriage existed, that there could be marriages only between participants of different sex.”: http://oldsite.alliancedefensefund.org/userdocs/SchwarzeneggerAppellateOpeningBrief.pdf
 what marriage is: http://catholiceducation.org/articles/marriage/whatismarriage.pdf
 potential civil liability and discrimination in access to government benefits: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2011/04/from-culture-wars-to-conscience-wars-emerging-threats-to-conscience
 public derision: http://www.nomblog.com/18630/
 threats: http://www.nomblog.com/19754/
 intimidation, and other harms: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2009/10/the-price-of-prop-8
 is a natural institution that the state does not create: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2004/05/a-defining-moment-marriage-the-courts-and-the-constitution
 public: http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2012/04/5069?utm_source=RTA+Morse+Private+Impossible&utm_campaign=email&utm_medium=email
 purposes: http://www.marriagedebate.com/pdf/What%20is%20Marriage%20For.pdf
 articulating a wide range of nonreligious reasons for supporting a traditional marriage policy: http://www.myruth.org/site/apps/ka/ec/product.asp?c=gpILKXOAJqG&b=5539911&en=9sIQI0NzHdILKWPLIeIJK0ODJiJWKZNGIfILJ1OQLsK7F&ProductID=974328&StoreId=&BasketItemId=40927720
 an expanded: http://thf_media.s3.amazonaws.com/2010/pdf/Ind.Ch5.Morse.pdf
 more intrusive: http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2012/04/5071?utm_source=RTA+Morse+Private+State&utm_campaign=email&utm_medium=email
 does not equal animosity: http://oldsite.alliancedefensefund.org/userdocs/PerryAmicusGeorge.pdf
 provides significant benefits to children: http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2012/04/5073?utm_source=RTA+Morse+Private+Children&utm_campaign=email&utm_medium=email
 efforts to strengthen marriage in general: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2011/06/a-marshall-plan-for-marriage-rebuilding-our-shattered-homes
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