North Carolina marriage amendment campaign gets under way
CHARLOTTE — If you are like most voters in North Carolina, you probably are not aware of the fact that a traditional marriage referendum question will be on the May 8 primary ballot.
Your awareness level is about to change.
The marriage protection amendment will enshrine in the state constitution an existing law defining marriage as the union between one man and one woman.
Last year, traditional marriage supporters in the state legislature pushed for the referendum because of a concern that the law could be changed or overruled in the courts – as has been the case in several other states including Connecticut in 2008, Iowa in 2009, and, most recently, California in 2010, when a federal district judge overturned Proposition 8, a 2008 measure passed by California voters to ban same-sex unions. That legal battle remains held up in court.
Pictured: Bishop Peter Jugis recently videotaped the first in series of four educational videos on marriage that he is producing along with Raleigh Bishop Michael Burbidge in advance of the May 8 referendum to define traditional marriage in the state constitution. Read the transcript from the video on page 22. (Patricia L. Guilfoyle | Catholic News Herald)
Placing traditional marriage in the state constitution puts it beyond the reach of the courts and elected officials, as the state constitution can only be changed by popular vote, marriage supporters point out.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, "Over half of the states have passed language defining marriage between a man and a woman in their state constitutions. Arizona is the only state where a constitutional amendment on the ballot in a general election has failed (2006); however, in 2008 the measure ultimately passed. Typically, constitutional amendments have passed with an overwhelming majority."
A communication campaign, coordinated between the Diocese of Charlotte and the Diocese of Raleigh by Catholic Voice North Carolina, is launching this month with the first in a series of four educational videos on YouTube featuring Charlotte Bishop Peter Jugis and Raleigh Bishop Michael Burbidge. Each video highlights important points about the proposed marriage amendment and urges viewers to vote for it.
In the first video, which will be posted to the Diocese of Charlotte's YouTube channel this month, Bishop Jugis explains Church teaching on marriage and emphasizes that Catholics respect the dignity of all persons.
"The Church's position on traditional marriage is not an instance of discrimination or animosity toward homosexual persons. Marriage is based on natural law, a law that can never be changed. Therefore, there will be boundaries that cannot be modified," he said.
Catholic Voice NC isn't alone in its support for marriage. A coalition of churches and public interest groups has formed "Vote FOR Marriage."
Twenty-nine states have defined marriage in their constitutions as the union between one man and woman, with North Carolina and Minnesota eyeing similar moves this year. North Carolina is the only Southern state that does not already support traditional marriage in its constitution.
Twelve states have redefined marriage to include homosexual civil unions or same-sex "marriage," including New York and Rhode Island in 2011.
In addition to the videos, North Carolina Catholics will be seeing bulletin inserts and suggested prayers for the amendment's passage. News articles and advertisements in diocesan publications will appear on a regular basis between now and May. Catholic Voice NC will also be sending out postcards to remind supporters to get out and vote for the May 8 referendum. The bishops will also be in touch with the 6,000 members of Catholic Voice NC via emails and Facebook.
— David Hains, director of communication
Read the text of the proposed marriage amendment at: www.ncga.state.nc.us/Sessions/2011/Bills/Senate/PDF/S514v5.pdf
Read a transcript of the first educational video by Bishop Peter Jugis.
Read about the letter from the U.S. Bishops, who have joined other religious leaders around the U.S. in issuing "Marriage and Religious Freedom: Fundamental Goods That Stand or Fall Together."
Membership in Catholic Voice NC is free and open to any resident of the state at www.catholicvoicenc.org.
Batrice Adcock: Couples should welcome children generously, as gifts from GodWhen I became pregnant recently, I felt blessed to have received this gift of life. I was frequently reminded of this during my prayers when I called to mind Psalm 127: "Certainly, sons are a gift from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward"...
Bishop Peter Jugis: The Eucharistic Congress: 'Behold, I Make All Things New'I was delighted to see you, the faithful of the Diocese of Charlotte, at the Eucharistic Congress last month. This year, as in years past, thousands of people from all areas of the diocese converged on the Charlotte Convention Center to celebrate...
Colleen Carroll Campbell: Our heavenly family after Vatican IIIt's a month known for food, family and frenzied holiday shopping. But for Catholics, November is also about heaven: specifically, the saints who have arrived there and the holy souls who long to join them. Our Church's focus on heaven and...
Father Robert Barron: Have patience for the sausage-making synodThe midterm report on the deliberations of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family appeared last week and there was a fair amount of hysteria all around. John Thavis, a veteran Vatican reporter who should know better, declared this statement "an...
Mick Mulvaney: Pay attention to religious liberty threats overseasI was fortunate enough to participate over the summer in a private meeting of Catholic lawmakers from about 30 different nations. We gathered to discuss religious liberties around the world. I will fully admit that going into the conference...
Sister Jeanne-Margaret NcNally: Marriage and the Synod on the FamilyConvened earlier this week, the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family is considering "The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization." Their 50-page preparatory document was drafted after world-wide consultation...
Father Tadeusz Pacholczyk: Of proxies and POLSTs: The good and the bad in end of life planningPlanning for end of life situations is important. We should put in place an advance directive before our health takes a serious turn for the worse and we are no longer able to indicate our own wishes or make our own decisions. Advance directives...
LETTERS FROM OUR READERS
Home School Fine Arts Festival had outstanding quality, jubilant spiritIt was a pleasure to read the Sept. 12 article about the success of the Home School Fine Arts Festival. My husband and I attended the closing theatrical performance as guests, unaffiliated in...
Thank you for commentary on recent Latino CatholicsRico De Silva's recent commentary entitled "Growing number of Latino Catholics in the U.S. flying below the Church's radar" was so spot on that it had me immediately thanking God, this column,...
Let us pray for the victimsI have read with interest the stories in the past two issues of the Catholic News Herald about the court cases and allegations involving the Diocese of Charlotte regarding decades-old allegations...
FROM THE PASTORS
Read and listen to homilies posted regularly by pastors at parishes within the Diocese of Charlotte:
- Fr. Roger Arnsparger at St. John the Baptist in Tryon
- Fr. Frank Cancro at Queen of the Apostles
- Fr. Jason Christian at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Fr. Patrick Earl at St. Peter in Charlotte
- Fr. Matthew Kauth at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Fr. Timothy Reid at St. Ann in Charlotte
- Fr. Christopher Riehl's archive from St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Fr. Benjamin Roberts at Our Lady of Lourdes in Monroe
- Fr. Joshua Voitus at St. Mary, Mother of God Parish in Sylva, including homilies in Spanish
- Fr. Patrick Winslow at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Gospel reflection videos from St. Matthew Church
- Watch full Masses live and on demand, listen to homilies and reflections from Sacred Heart Church in Salisbury
- Listen and watch homilies from St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Listen to homilies from St. William Catholic Church in Murphy