(Update x 3: All five also endorse civil unions.) Five top Dem candidates in N.C. are all anti-Amendment One | Citizen | Indy Week
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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

(Update x 3: All five also endorse civil unions.) Five top Dem candidates in N.C. are all anti-Amendment One

Posted by on Wed, Mar 28, 2012 at 4:56 PM

[Update No. 3, March 29: Bill Faison's campaign too — Faison would sign a civil unions law, his spokeswoman said. So we'll change our headline one last time.]

[Update No. 2, later on March 28: Walter Dalton's campaign got back in touch. Dalton, too, supports civil unions, his spokesman said. So we'll change the headline accordingly.]

***

[Update, March 28: When the Indy comes out this morning, you'll read that former Congressman Bob Etheridge is now on the side of changing the law in North Carolina to allow for civil unions.

[He issued a short statement to us after we asked the gubernatorial candidates why they oppose Amendment One: Is it because they're OK with the current state marriage laws that discriminate against same-sex couples and just think the amendment is unnecessary? Or is it because they want to change the marriage laws to be less or non-discriminatory, either by allowing either civil unions or same-sex marriages — and, of course, Amendment One is all about stopping any such change?

[In response, Etheridge said, "If elected Governor, I would support civil unions and would sign such legislation into law."

[Etheridge thus joins both of the Democratic candidates for Lt. Governor, Linda Coleman and Eric Mansfield, who previously expressed support for civil unions, as we reported below.

[The other two Democratic candidates for Governor, Bill Faison and Walter Dalton, told us they consider Amendment One a distraction, but neither really responded to the question we asked of whether they think the marriage laws should be changed. I'll add a link — and here it is — when the story is posted online this afternoon.]

***

What follows is the original post from March 23 —

It's 5 for 5: The three serious candidates for Governor in the Democratic primary on May 8 and both Democratic candidates for Lt. Governor put their opposition to Amendment One on video for the anti-amendment coalition, Protect All NC Families (PANCF).

“These North Carolina leaders may be on the campaign trail, but they have made it very clear that there is one thing you don’t politicize: people’s basic protections,” said Jeremy Kennedy, campaign manager for Protect All NC Families. “As North Carolina leaders, they understand the importance of standing up against broadly worded and unnecessary legislation that hurts North Carolina’s families, women and children. We ask that North Carolinians join them at the polls and heed their call to vote against on May 8.”

VoteAgainstlogo.jpg


The five top Democrats are joined by President Obama, Gov. Bev Perdue and U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, all of whom also oppose Amendment One.

The only prominent Republican candidate to come out against Amendment One thus far is Congresswoman Renee Ellmers, who is standing for re-election for the first time this year in District 2.

***


The five candidates for Gov. and Lt. Gov. each premised their opposition on some version of "bad for business" plus unintended harms to straight (married and unmarried) couples.

The two Lt. Gov. candidates have gone farther in their public comments, saying the amendment should be defeated so that state law can be changed.

Former state Rep. Linda Coleman, in a conversation with reporters two weeks ago, said she opposes the amendment in part because she thinks state law should be changed to allow for civil unions — and the amendment would bar any law recognizing civil unions (or any "domestic partnerships") or same-sex marriages.

Two nights ago, state Sen. Eric Mansfield followed suit in an online Q&A on BlueNC, saying "the state should be moving toward civil unions."

No such forward-looking remarks as yet from the gubernatorial candidates. State Rep. Bill Faison, former Congressman Bob Etheridge and the sitting Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton are standing pat on current state law as far as I know — and I have queried them on the subject to be sure they're not advocating for change.

State law is discriminatory, allowing straight couples to marry (and enjoy the privileges of marriage) while barring same-sex couples from marriage, civil unions, or any other form of domestic partnership ... and the gubernatorial candidates are OK with that kind of discrimination, apparently.

The three of them simply accept the status quo, as Etheridge does in his video when he says Amendment One "is not needed ... [and] will hurt our ability to recruit jobs and get people to work here in North Carolina in the future."

Not needed? The only explanation for that statement is that state law is sufficiently discriminatory without the amendment — which it obviously is.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 17 states and the District of Columbia have legalized same-sex marriages, civil unions that are the legal equivalent of marriages or domestic partnerships that are nearly equivalent. North Carolina is among the 33 states with no such non-discriminatory statute. (Click on the link for an explanation of the law in each of the 17 states and D.C.)

***

The PANCF press release is below the fold.

From PANCF:

NC DEM GUBERNATORIAL AND LT. GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATES OPPOSE AMENDMENT ONE

Raleigh, N.C.— In the fight against Amendment One, a constitutional amendment which will appear on the May 8, primary ballot that jeopardizes protections for North Carolina families, women and children, there is no shortage of vocal critics. Opponents of the amendment include three of the four largest North Carolina political parties, a Tea Party U.S. Congresswoman, the North Carolina NAACP President, the conservative grandson of the North Carolina Constitution’s principal drafter and hundreds of faith leaders, professional organizations, business leaders and campuses from all across the state.

Now some of the state’s most prominent voices can be added to that list of those who will vote against on May 8—every major Democratic candidate for governor and lieutenant governor.

Today, Protect All NC Families (PANCF), the coalition to defeat Amendment One on May 8, released five videos with Council of State candidates who oppose Amendment One. Democratic candidates for governor Walter Dalton, Bob Etheridge and Bill Faison, all spoke out about their reasons for opposing Amendment One. In their own videos, the two Democratic candidates for lieutenant governor, Linda Coleman and Eric Mansfield, also share their opposition, citing the many unintended consequences of this rewrite to the state’s constitution.

Though this is the first time many of the candidates have appeared on camera stating why they oppose the amendment, all have publicly condemned the amendment prior to today’s PANCF video rollout.

On the heels of their announcements to run for North Carolina’s top spot, both current Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton and former Congressman Bob Etheridge stated that they oppose North Carolina’s proposed Amendment One.

Rep. Bill Faison, who is also seeking the Office of Governor, was a North Carolina Representative during September 2011’s legislative session when the amendment was approved to be sent to the May 8 primary ballot. He voted against the proposed amendment on the floor of the House as a legislator and, in a January interview with News 14 Carolina, reaffirmed his intent to vote against the amendment on May 8.

In addition to the public pronouncements of opposition issued by Dalton, Etheridge and Faison, both Democratic candidates for lieutenant governor, Linda Coleman and Eric Mansfield, stated that they will vote against on May 8.

Linda Coleman, former N.C. Representative and head of the Office of State Personnel, has repeatedly denounced the amendment on social media sites and includes a statement specifically opposing the amendment on her campaign website.

Eric Mansfield, also a candidate for lieutenant governor and a current N.C. Senator, made an impassioned speech against Amendment One in February at a Protect All NC Families event in his native Fayetteville.

“These North Carolina leaders may be on the campaign trail, but they have made it very clear that there is one thing you don’t politicize: people’s basic protections,” said Jeremy Kennedy, campaign manager for Protect All NC Families. “As North Carolina leaders, they understand the importance of standing up against broadly worded and unnecessary legislation that hurts North Carolina’s families, women and children. We ask that North Carolinians join them at the polls and heed their call to vote against on May 8.”

This unanimous opposition to Amendment One from Democratic gubernatorial and lieutenant gubernatorial candidates is joined by vocal opposition from sitting Governor Bev Perdue, who recently told Charlotte crowds she’d do everything she can to defeat it, as well as the North Carolina Democratic Party, which has passed two resolutions opposing the amendment.

“Like our president, our governor and all the 2012 Democratic gubernatorial and lieutenant gubernatorial candidates, North Carolina’s Democratic Party is firmly committed to fighting against any piece of legislation that would hurt North Carolina citizens,” said North Carolina Democratic Party Executive Director Jay Parmley. “We are encouraging all Democrats in our state to vote against Amendment One on May 8 and keep North Carolina on the right side of history.”

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