There’s been some talk in light of the General Assembly’s decision this week to approve the so-called “marriage amendment” that “not much will really change.” According to this line of thinking – promoted mostly by amendment supporters – all their decision to send the amendment to the May ballot does is to preserve the status quo. “So, we’ll have a vote next year on something that’s already barred by law,” say the supporters. “What’s the big deal?”
Whether it’s sincere or knowingly deceptive, this is ridiculous, head-in-the-sand talk. The hard truth of the matter is that, whatever the outcome of the debate that takes place during the next 236 days, North Carolina and its citizenry will be profoundly affected and changed.
The impact of the impending campaign itself is not an issue that many people have discussed over the last couple of days as the mad rush to ram the amendment through the General Assembly ran its course. Most people have been focused on the amendment itself, the actual language of the proposal, the arguments pro and con, the practical results of enshrining such a proposal in our constitution, and the appalling lack of process that House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger employed in passing the proposal.
Fewer people have been focused on what this week’s legislative decision means for the North Carolina body politic itself – what it will really mean to have such a raw, divisive, emotional and unprecedented campaign.
One person who does seem to grasp what the amendment vote portends for our state is State Rep. Ray Rapp — a moderate Democrat from the mountains of Madison County. Rapp touched on this matter during Monday afternoon’s debate on the House floor:
“We can stir up this whole state; get everybody pitted against one another, get everybody angry. And what I’m really concerned about in that regard is what we’re hearing from the business community. They really don’t like it when we’re declaring – when we’re unleashing culture wars in this state. They’re not real happy about that because it’s not good for their environment and I’ve heard from businessmen.”
Think about it for a minute. Rapp is completely right. Think about the millions of dollars worth of TV, radio and internet ads to which we can now look forward. Think about the flyers that will start materializing on the windshields of churchgoers, bingo players and Friday night football game attendees. Think about the business boycotts. Think about the rumors and innuendo and deceptions that will be sprayed about. Think about the Thanksgiving table and bar room arguments. Good God, think about the anonymous, venom-filled comments and rumors that will fill the radio talk shows and news websites throughout the state.
This isn’t going to be just any old, run-of-the-mill campaign — it’s going to be a knockdown, drag-out, no-holds-barred brawl; a pitched battle for the very heart and soul of our state. …
For the complete commentary by Schofield, click here.