Elevate the human element

As we approach the May 8 North Carolina primary, I strongly encourage people to vote against Amendment One. While people are free to their own thinking about gay/lesbian relationships, they should not be free to impose this thinking on others, especially when what is at stake has much broader implications than gay marriage.

While proponents of Amendment One focus on defining marriage as a union between “one man and one woman,” the devastating ramifications of amending our state constitution to reflect this narrow focus are many and include invalidating domestic violence protections for all unmarried partners; stripping domestic partnerships of insurance benefits; and impacting adversely both child custody issues and end-of-life directives. To those who feel they're in a position to impose these judgments and devastating consequences on others, I ask that you think again.

I encourage all who favor imposing their harsh judgments on others whose lifestyle differs from their own to consider the words of U Thant, former UN General Secretary: Elevate the human element. These words were spoken during the Vietnam War, when "collateral damage" became a euphemism for "killing of innocent civilians." I was recently reminded of this quote by Ann Morrison-Welch, who spoke recently at Mars Hill College about life after her husband's self-immolation, the ultimate statement of protest against the war.

In the case of Amendment One, "elevating the human element" shows us real human beings who are the targets of discrimination; these human beings are our colleagues, our neighbors, our sons, our daughters, people who've become united, in whatever form, out of love and caring; they are not the enemy. If we consider ourselves good neighbors, parents, and people of faith (whatever our faith), we refrain from judgment and affirm caring and kindness. May North Carolina be a state that leads not out of discrimination but out of love — vote against on May 8. parenthesis

— Virginia Bower


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