Bigotry, Ignorance, and Fostering Hatred…
The great orator and arguably one of the finest Presidents the United States has ever known, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, said once “We must scrupulously guard the civil rights and civil liberties of all citizens, whatever their background. We must remember that any oppression, any injustice, any hatred, is a wedge designed to attack our civilization.”
Yesterday the citizens of the State of North Carolina voted to bar equal rights to many of its citizens. That is the bottom line. Amendment 1 – aka the Same-Sex Marriage Amendment – adds the following: “Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State.” This goes beyond blocking gay people from being married. It blocks civil unions, domestic partnerships, and potentially affects a huge population of heterosexual couples in long term – but unmarried – relationships.
The supports of Amendment 1 claimed “We are not anti-gay; we are pro-marriage.”
Bullshit. The law is written out of bigotry, ignorance, and hatred driven by religious extremist views. Period. There is no economic benefit to this law; in fact quite the opposite. There is no social benefit to this law; in fact quite the opposite. This is a power play by the right-wing conservative legislature to allow the majority to determine the rights of a minority group. The ad campaigns were misleading, divisive, and designed to misinform and scare the general public. And the general public bought it.
The South is often accused of being backwards, segregated, ignorant, intolerant, racist, and bigoted… and usually with good reason. But for the most part North Carolina has been excluded from that. Some of the finest research universities in the country, a reputation for being a great place to do business… not to mention a craft beer mecca! Recent announcements by some of the better known craft brewers like Sierra Nevada and New Belgium seemed to solidify the Tar Heel State as a forward moving and thinking state.
Not anymore. The citizens of North Carolina should be ashamed, embarrassed, and in disbelief over yesterday’s vote. They should also be outraged at the tactics used by the powers behind the Amendment. Secret documents from the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), recently unsealed by the courts, revealed the real strategy behind this amendment. Their 2009 report reads:
‘The strategic goal of this project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks — two key Democratic constituencies. Find, equip, energize and connect African American spokespeople for marriage; develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as a civil right; provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots. No politician wants to take up and push an issue that splits the base of his party. Fanning the hostility raised in the wake of Prop 8 is key to raising the costs of pushing gay marriage to its advocates … find attractive young black Democrats to challenge white gay marriage advocates electorally.'” (Source – Protect All NC Families, http://www.protectncfamilies.org/)
It is disgusting. It is reprehensible. And ALL citizens, Democrat and Republican alike, gay, straight, black, white, men or women, should be sickened by this kind of activity.
And so should any business looking to expand into the state of North Carolina. I do hope the good people of Sierra Nevada, New Belgium, and Oskar Blues (and anyone else) look long and hard at the actions and behavior of the legislature in North Carolina. Something tells me this type of bigoted and discriminatory stance does not line up with the values and standards of these three companies. Just something to think about.