The tyranny of the majority


The vote for the marriage amendment in North Carolina went down pretty much the way we thought it would last week, with support from the state’s rural counties overwhelming the desire of the residents in our bigger cities and college towns to quash it.

The only real surprise is that it passed in Guilford County, usually a reliably blue outpost in a sea of red — albeit by a just 72 votes.

Anger and righteousness abound in these days after the most contentious voter referendum in the state’s recent history, and we’re feeling a little bit of both.

The ease with which a gaggle of agenda-driven politicians convinced the voters of this state to use our constitution to actually take away the rights of some of our citizens is astounding. The willingness of self-identified conservatives to actively involve the government in our interpersonal relationships is ridiculous. The perpetration of misinformation and disinformation surrounding the bill is shameful.

Like it or not, this is how we voted, so we must own it. North Carolina feels that individual rights and personal liberty do not apply to those who make us feel uncomfortable.

Our state motto, “To be, rather than to seem,” seems woefully apt here.

Because North Carolina “seems” like a pretty great place: beaches and mountains, a veritable cornucopia of agricultural products springing forth from our fertile soil, a national center for banking and finance, some of the best colleges and universities in the country.

But this is who we are: a deeply divided state that allowed religious think tanks and partisan, agenda-driven political hacks to convince us to write discrimination into our constitution. Frankly we find the sheer numbers of North Carolinians who were willing to support this to be astonishing. It is one thing to bemoan the tyranny of the majority — which, essentially, is what a democracy is all about — and quite another to put the civil rights of a small group of fellow citizens up for a vote.

What else North Carolina would vote for, if it could…. It’s difficult to glean what’s positive about this turn of events — Are our marriages safer? Will more jobs be created? Will the price of gas go down? No on all counts, though it can be counted as a good thing that more than 800,000 of us stood up for our nieghbors.

On the flip side, we have tarnished our national reputation, alienated tens of thousands of our fellow citizens and possibly violated the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution, which guarantees equal rights for all Americans.

It makes us wonder what else North Carolina would vote for, if it could….

And we have revealed a deep fault line within our state. Call it rural vs. urban, white collar vs. blue collar, secular government vs. theocracy… we are the proverbial house divided. Unfortunately, those of us who reject bigotry happen to be in the minority. YES! Weekly chooses to exercise its right to express editorial opinion in our publication. In fact we cherish it, considering opinion to be a vital component of any publication. The viewpoints expressed represent a consensus of the YES! Weekly editorial staff, achieved through much deliberation and consideration