The future of gay marriage in NC looks bright!

by Whitney Kenerly

After the sting of Amendment One in 2012, the United States Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit struck down Virginia’s ban on gay marriage on Monday, and it feels incredible.

This ruling means that the overturning of Amendment One in North Carolina is inevitable, as confirmed Monday by NC Attorney General Roy Cooper.

certainly will be overturned as well,” said Cooper at a press conference.

I am proud to be an ally to the LGBTQ community, and I cannot wait for that day to come. For a while it felt like the Old North State had dug its heels in so deep that discrimination against same-sex couples was here to stay. I saw the heartbreak in my friends’ eyes as they realized that their state hated their relationship so much that it had gone out of its way to make a homophobic statement through legislation.

I know “homophobic” is a strong word, but that’s what Amendment One is.

But now there’s a glimmer of hope for the LGBTQ community and its allies. It could be that the growing visibility of the transgender and genderqueer communities is pushing America to accept that our gender identities and our relationships aren’t limited to or defined by our physical genitalia.

Maybe our country is starting to accept that samesex relationships have been around for thousands of years, and that they can be observed throughout the animal kingdom.

Maybe those who claim that marriage is for the sole purpose of procreation are being more honest with themselves. I would gladly bet that very few people in this world can honestly say that they have only engaged in intimacy with the intention of conceiving a child, and I seriously doubt that a single one of those individuals is serving in the state or federal legislature.

Maybe those who oppose same-sex marriage have started reading some of the many studies indicating that gays and lesbians are perfectly capable of being loving and supportive parents to adopted children.

Our Western notion of legal marriage is based on nothing more than the feudalistic arrangements mandated for peasants during the Middle Ages, but I still think marriage is good. As someone who is in a committed relationship without being married, I constantly encounter frustrating obstacles that arise due to my unmarried status.

People and institutions take your relationship more seriously when you are married. Not to mention that the term “spouse” is entirely more convenient than “my partner with whom I have made a serious and permanent commitment at every level of my life.”

My boyfriend and I have the privilege of being able to get married whenever we want. We could go down to the magistrate tomorrow and pay less than $100 to draw up the legal document and make it official. We just would prefer to get a better handle on our combined, panic-inducing amount of student debt before spending thousands more on the type of celebration we want to share with our friends and family.

My boyfriend and I have a choice available to us that is denied to many of my friends. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be refused such a personal and basic decision.

There is no legitimate, non-religious reason for the state to block same-sex marriages.

If your church, temple or mosque opposes same-sex marriage, then you have the right to deny the rites of a religious union. This is why we have religious freedom in America, and there are many perfectly legal activities permitted to citizens that private religious institutions still prohibit among their congregations.

There seems to be a fundamental level of fear and misunderstanding in those who continue to oppose samesex marriage in our General Assembly, but I’m optimistic that this can change. As the LGBTQ community bravely increases its visibility on a neighborhood and national level, it is becoming more likely that everyone will have friends and family who openly identify as gay, lesbian, queer, transgender or bisexual.

All it takes is to know someone in a same-sex relationship to see that it is no different, no less complex, and just as loving as any other relationship that we currently recognize. It’s time to stop the discrimination and start embracing every North Carolinian who wishes to make a legal commitment based on partnership and love. !