Resolution Opposing Amendment OneBy
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 Even the GOP Majority Leader has acknowledged that it will likely be repealed by the coming generation.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.