Why Not?

Guest posts from two readers
Two readers suggested this topic and framed it well, so I am including both of their suggestions. -Ed.

How about gay marriage in Carrboro and/or Chapel Hill? Surely we can't let San Francisco and New Paltz get ahead of us in ensuring basic rights for minorities. It's not only the decent thing to do--it would also give some positive publicity to our area (how many people had heard of New Paltz until this weekend?). The more communities that are doing this, the harder it will be to impose a reactionary, disgraceful constitutional amendment to ban it.
- Steve Sherman

I've had some conversations lately with folks regarding what we can do locally about the suggestion of a Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriages. One friend recommended that we petiton the cities of Chapel Hill and Carrboro to start performing same-sex marriages. My concern is that this will only further inflame the intolerant, and lead to more anger. On the other hand, what would people think of a "town-hall" meeting where GLB leaders could discuss, in a civil atmosphere, the issue with religious leaders and conservatives? Perhaps by both sides expressing their concerns, this could lead to better understanding, and allow those in the middle to better understand the debate. Thoughts?
- Roy

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10 Comments

let me as a moderately

let me as a moderately conservative voter put my vote squarely in favor of gay marriage. Not all conservatives are against this proposal, in fact, I am pretty fed up with the "loud" conservatives in general on this one. I see so many positive benefits to society by allowing two people to make a commitment to each other and their respective families, regardless of their gender/sexuality. We should be encouraging families, commitments, and relationships for all people, not just a heterosexual subset of the population.

I like the proclamation made

I like the proclamation made by the Seattle mayor yesterday: http://msnbc.msn.com/id/4477610/. Given that Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Durham all recognize domestic partners, I think it would be ideal for those mayors to take a similar action (In NC, gay marriages is banned, and 12 counties do not recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. At least six municipalities offer domestic partner benefits.--MSNBC article).

Ruby, Yes, the town still

Ruby,

Yes, the town still offers domestic partner registration. Many couples find it valuable in securing insurance coverage particularly for those working for one of the 1000s of companies that offer such benefits to their employees -- including virtually every RTP and Forbes 500 company. By contrast only 4 gov't units in NC offer them.

I think this is a good opportunity to point out another way marriage differs from dp registration, a way that affects me directly. You don't have to demonstrate that you live with your proposed spouse in order to get married. It's a good thing too, because I know a number of married couples who are forced for one reason or another to not be able to live together. However, in order to qualify for dp benefits at many companies, and to register in either Chapel Hill or Carrboro, you have to demonstrate a financial intertwining and that you share the same residence. Kind of a bizarre distinction. Although it might not be workable to offer dp benefits without indicia of permanency, wouldn't marriage just make the whole thing easier? Of course it would. But instead we're left with a separate and unequal system.

Could any other system be more clearly a statement that "we sorta like you, but there's no way I'm going to recognize that you're as good as me."

Roy, our area is rich with glbt leaders.

Four of the six openly gay officials ever elected to office in NC live here in Southern Orange Co. You'll find some of the largest contributors to our State's glbt organizations (contributors of time as well as money), numerous individuals who have been very active local, state and nat'l leaders on a variety of glbt issues, and an enormous number of straight people who who been leaders in this area as well.

(GLBT people aren't the only people who believe equal marriage rights are important.)

If anyone is interested in a

If anyone is interested in a "town hall" meeting, I spoke today with someone who is involved in a variety of very conservative groups. He said he thought the idea was a good one, and could arrange for one or more people to appear for a panel from the local family "protection" groups. He thought that it would require a sponsoring organization. I know some folks involved with the Triangle Interfaith Counsel, which seems like it would be a natural sponsor and might provide some clergy from both sides of the issue. Anyone know of leaders in the GLB community? Anyone know of other organizations that might want to sponsor? Anyone think this is worth pursuing?

Roy

Town in North Carolina do

Town in North Carolina do not perform marriages, nor do Mayors. Neither do they issue marriage licenses. Civil cermonies are performed by magistrates, who are state judicial officials appointed locally by the clerks of court. Ministers, rabbis, etc, also perform marriages.

The marriage licenses THEMSELVES are issued by the County Register of Deeds, a locally elected official, so this is the official who has the first say.

Good point, Gerry. So maybe

Good point, Gerry. So maybe we should make this an issue in the County Commissioners race.

Also, didn't both Chapel Hill and Carrboro institute "domestic partner registration" back in the 90's? This allowed couples to be seen as a unit for purposes of gettting health coverage and stuff like that. Like the PLENTY, it's probably only valid where recognized. Do they still do this? And where is it recognized?