Apr
02

Resolution Opposing Amendment One

By

Thanks to all the local people who worked on the text of this resolution, particularly Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara of the Campaign for Southern Equality. I’m proud to bring it forward to Asheville’s City Council with the help of Marc Hunt and Esther Manheimer. Asheville City Council will consider the Resolution at our April 10, 2012 meeting.

Amendment One, if it passes, will negate the many strides Asheville has made towards equality. My first big policy push as a City Council member was to get same-sex benefits for city employees. Since that time, both Care Partners and Mission Hospital have adopted similar measures. This Amendment jeopardizes that step forward. Amendment One would also negate the city’s Domestic Partner Registry and could affect our non-discrimination policy that came into being after I brought the Equality Resolution to City Council last year.

The whole process is tragic and unnecessary. Despite the fact that’s it’s already illegal for LGBT people to marry their partners, GOP lawmakers are following through with their campaign promise to further codify inequity by adding it to our state’s constitution. Even the GOP Majority Leader has acknowledged that it will likely be repealed by the coming generation. I’m told by campaign leaders that the discrimination argument doesn’t help to sway independent voters, but it’s my motivation for pushing for equality. If you’d like to volunteer with Protect All NC Families, follow this link, and they will get you to work.

Regardless of what happens on May 8th, LGBT people in NC will not be treated equally under the law. This fight has a long way to go, and we’ll all need to be ready for the long haul. A federal remedy is the ultimate answer.

After the fold you’ll find the full text of the Resolution. Please share it with your friends and neighbors, and come out to the Council meeting on April 10. It’ll be a chance to lead the news, making a case to western North Carolina.

WHEREAS the core values of the City of Asheville include commitments to “value and respect a diverse community, workforce, and ideas,” and to “value the safety and welfare of our employees and the citizens we serve;” and

WHEREAS, the City of Asheville includes at least 737 same-sex couples and has the highest concentration of same-sex couples among North Carolina cities ; and

WHEREAS, the City of Asheville has adopted a policy of extending equal health care benefits to Asheville City Government employees who are in same-sex domestic partnerships; and

WHEREAS, the Council passed a resolution establishing a Domestic Partnership Registry through which same-sex couples can register their relationships;

WHEREAS, the Council passed a resolution endorsing and supporting the rights of same-sex couples to share fully and equally in the familial rights and responsibilities of civil marriage in 2011; and

WHEREAS, this Council recognizes that some local and national companies doing business in the City of Asheville extend equal health care benefits to employees in same-sex relationships; and

WHEREAS, discriminatory marriage laws deprive same-sex couples and their children of fundamental rights and protections, including, but not limited to, health care coverage and related decision-making, access to assisted-living facilities, decision making around funerals and end of life matters, inheritance rights, survivor benefits, child custody, and adoption rights ; and

WHEREAS, on May 8, 2012, the people of North Carolina will vote on Amendment One, a proposed amendment to the North Carolina State Constitution that would prohibit marriage between people of the same sex, and further prohibit the recognition of any other form of domestic legal union; and

WHEREAS, the adoption of such a Constitutional amendment is inconsistent with the City’s commitment to equal rights and opportunities for its residents and employees and could invalidate the City of Asheville’s domestic partner benefits; and

WHEREAS, the adoption of such a Constitutional amendment could invalidate local and national businesses’ benefit policies; and

WHEREAS, Asheville proudly embraces the diversity of its residents;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF ASHEVILLE THAT:
1) The City Council opposes Amendment One.

2) Whether Amendment One passes or fails on May 8, 2012, the City Council reaffirms its commitment to equal rights and opportunities for City employees and for all residents and families of Asheville, including the rights of same-sex couples to share fully and equally in the rights, responsibilities, and commitments of civil marriage.

3) This resolution shall be effective on and after its passage, and shall be shared with the members of Asheville’s General Assembly delegation.


Comments

  1. Lindsey Simerly says:

    Thanks for bringing this resolution to Council.

    The latest poll numbers from Public Policy Polling show the amendment passing by 20%, but that if people knew it would also ban civil unions it would be much closer. http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/main/2012/03/nc-marriage-amendment-up-20-close-if-voters-informed.html

    Thumb up 6

  2. mat catastrophe says:

    Why don’t conservatives believe in the intent of the Framers? If our forebears had wanted gay marriage banned then, by God, they would have put it in the Constitution!!!

    It’s time to put a stop to these people who WANT TO TRAMPLE ON THE CONSTITUTIONS!!!!!

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  3. Don’t suppose this violates the open meetings law, but I’ve been on record as opposing Amendment One since its creation.

    I am the only Democrat in the 11th District race who is opposed to Amendment One. (There is one GOP candidate opposed, astonishingly.)

    We simply MUST get out the vote, folks. Vote early, take a friend, get the friend to take a friend, tell your neighbors, call your friends.

    Rock the vote!

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  4. Nathan West says:

    Gordon,

    with the law already on the books of marriage between one M and one W being the only legal union recognized by the State. How will it negate the strides taken by Asheville for equality? as this is already law and the strides have already been made with this law on the books.

    TIA for your response.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  5. Gordon Smith says:

    The current law, Nathan, does not disallow recognition of domestic partners. Therefore, those people in committed relationships can be offered health and other benefits afforded to those allowed to marry. The amendment will make it illegal to recognize those relationships in any institutional way. Despite the thousands of committed couples who are raising children, caring for parents, and struggling like everyone else, voters will have the opportunity to further restrict their rights to recognition.

    The current law disallows marriage for same sex couples. If this amendment passes that will remain the same. What will change is that those couples currently receiving health and other benefits will lose them.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  6. Gordon Smith says:

    Nathan,

    Thanks for being here at Scrutiny Hooligans. Though folks get all excited when I do this sort of thing, I think it’s helpful for transparency’s sake to mention that, according to the BCRP website, you’re the Communications Director for the Buncombe County Republican Party. How are things over there? I know y’all had some repair work to do, and it seems there’s a sense of reinvigoration.

    I’m glad. I think having many strong political parties makes for healthier debate.

    Thumb up 10

  7. Nathan West says:

    Gordon,

    I have no problem with full disclosure and and you are correct about me being the Comm. Director at the BCGOP. Although when I post here it is not in that capacity. Things are going well at the BCGOP.

    Thanks for answering the question as I have been curious if it would actually have an effect on those initiatives and being unable to get a clear answer.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 4

  8. Tim Peck says:

    Sounds good. I’m glad to see the City of Asheville going on record opposing this right-violating amendment to our state constitution. I look forward to a unanimous vote.
    …………………………
    [submitted 4/2/2012 8:42 PM]

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 3

  9. Davyne Dial says:

    The League of Women Voters of Asheville-Buncombe County opposes Amendment One, which will be on the ballot on May 8th. The League’s opposition is based on a national League of Women Voters position that such legislation would permanently write discrimination into the Constitution.

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  10. Jim Hill says:

    Cecil, I’m curious as to how you expect to win when the overwhelming majority of your supporters (including yourself) no longer reside in the 11th District? Methinks you should have decided to run in the 10th.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2

  11. TJ says:

    ” I look forward to a unanimous vote.”

    Maybe, since the Mayor will not be there.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 3

  12. melody kramer says:

    I hope Mayor Bellamy who is running for the ,U.S. Congress, will become more evolved and less prejudiced

    and will vote against the horrific Amendment1. This Amendment will effect all those in

    committed relationships without the benefit of marriage

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2

  13. TJ says:

    Melody,

    Unfortunately, and after watching her during the first resolution Gordon pushed forward, I think that’s a high expectation of the mayor. I only hope she sees, or, that someone has the mercy to tell her she has no business being in congress representing more folks, when she couldn’t manage even to do that on this city level.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  14. TJ says:

    Oh, yeah, and that goes against her religious beliefs…gay or straight.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0