Thursday, April 24, 2014

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Facts about the marriage amendment

043012marriage-mapWhy is it necessary to enact the marriage amendment now?

Unless North Carolina passes the marriage amendment, our present marriage laws are vulnerable to future legislative or judicial decisions overturning them and imposing same-sex "marriage" here. This is what occurred in several other states.

For example, last October same-sex couples requested marriage licenses in Asheville, setting up a potential legal challenge to our existing state law defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Additionally, without the amendment a same-sex couple "married" in another state could move to North Carolina and file suit, demanding to have state law recognize their "marriage" here.

Isn't marriage simply about two consenting adults making a commitment?

No. Marriage provides an opportunity for a couple in love to declare their commitment to each other, but the government doesn't regulate marriage to provide a forum for public commitment simply because two people love each other. Marriage is regulated by government because it is the unique social institution, based in eternal natural law, that channels the biological drive of men and women, with its inherent capacity to produce children, into family units with the best opportunity of ensuring that any children produced are known and cared for by their biological parents. It is in the interests of children that government regulates and licenses marriage.

Doesn't the amendment make homosexuals second-class citizens?

No. Thousands of gays and lesbians have chosen to make North Carolina their home despite the fact that they are unable to marry here. All residents of our state – regardless of sexual orientation – are to be respected and welcomed. Our own teaching as a Church is clear on the inherent dignity of each and every person without exception. Because traditional marriage is so foundational to the human race, we simply do not believe that marriage can be redefined.

Would it interfere with benefits for same-sex partners of government employees?

No. Nothing in the amendment interferes with any benefits that employers provide to same-sex couples. Local governments and the UNC System may offer (or continue to offer) benefits to same-sex partners of employees or students if they choose to do so.

Would it invalidate domestic violence programs for unmarried same-sex couples?

No. The amendment has nothing to do with domestic violence programs and does not change the law on domestic violence. We would not support it if we believed it did.

Would it interfere with existing child custody and visitation rights?

No. The amendment has nothing to do with existing child custody laws or arrangements.

Would it result in courts invalidating trusts, wills and end-of-life directives involving same-sex couples?

No. It has nothing to do with trusts, wills and end-of-life directives.

Wouldn't it be bad for business?

We are concerned about any proposed legislation that would negatively impact employment opportunities in the state, especially in light of our current economic situation. According to the information we have received, research shows that states with a marriage protection amendment in their state constitution are the nation's top performing economic states. This includes eight of the top 10 "best states for business" (according to a survey of 556 CEOs) and eight of the top 10 states for job growth (according to Moody's Analytics).

What is the "common good" of marriage?

Marriage serves a vital and universal societal purpose: to channel biological drive and sexual passion, that might otherwise become socially destructive, into enduring family units that have the best opportunity to ensure the care and education of children. Indeed, the U.S. Supreme Court has said marriage is "fundamental to the very existence and survival of the (human) race." By encouraging men and women to marry, society helps ensure that children will be known by and cared for by their biological parents. The overwhelming body of social science evidence establishes that children do best when raised by their married mother and father.

Does it enshrine discrimination into the state constitution?

No. The amendment does not interfere with the way same-sex couples choose to live. It does not prevent local governments from offering benefits, provided they change the basis upon which benefits are offered (which they can). Businesses may continue to offer benefits. The amendment enshrines the belief that marriage is a social institution whose definition cannot be changed by civil law because it is an essential and enduring institution of society that does not change.

More about marriage

Read about the marriage amendment

Explore facts about the marriage amendment and read answers to marriage questions

North Carolina Bishops Peter Jugis and Michael Burbidge weigh in on the marriage amendment. 

Pope Benedict XVI weighs in on marriage laws in the United States. 

Features about local couples: 

Carolina couples grow in faith through 'Teams of Our Lady'

A high-flying love that has lasted for six decades

Asheville couple shows lasting love despite war, separation

Opposites attract for Mount Airy couple

FROM THE PASTORS

Read and listen to homilies posted regularly by pastors at  parishes within the Diocese of Charlotte: