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Published July 29, 2014

Marriage Momentum In North Carolina: How To Keep It Going

I‘ve never been “the Other.” I’ve never been the minority. I may disagree with some laws, but I’ve never really been oppressed either. As a native North Carolinian, I’ve always felt welcome in my home state.

But when Amendment One passed, I saw a side of my North Carolina neighbors that is seldom revealed in polite, Southern conversation. I saw the oily shadow beneath our friendly faces and “Hey Ya’ll!” smiles. I saw the stone we throw when we think no one’s looking, the people we sacrifice to maintain our Southern comforts. Facebook statuses and Twitter feeds full of hate speech–and that hate speech was directed at me.

My neighbors, my trusted community, my NC natives who always welcome me with open arms–I wasn’t one of them now. Now, I was the enemy. I was the one voting against Amendment One. I was the one making them feel threatened in their traditional marriages. I cried when I saw members of my own church posting about how anyone who supports same-sex marriage was defying God and should not be allowed in our services.

Amendment One made the conversation public, and you had to pick a side. Suddenly, neighborhoods and communities were torn apart as lines were drawn in the sand. Friendships were dissolved.

When it came down to the final vote, our entire state held its breath. This vote wouldn’t decide ultimate truth and morality, but when the tallies showed our side so disgustingly outnumbered, it was difficult to not feel like the entire world was against us.

But now the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of appeals in Virginia has ruled their state constitutional provisions banning gay marriage in violation of the United States Constitution. Celebrations are erupting all across the South tonight. Those who opposed Amendment One in North Carolina can finally feel like there’s hope, like we aren’t outnumbered in our own home, like the tide is turning our way. And while I know many people in North Carolina are angry tonight and worried for the future of traditional marriage, I also know that those of us who have been fighting for equality in these stubborn Southern states are cheering, celebrating a huge victory.

RELATED: My Selfish Wedding: Using My Marriage Rights To Benefit Equality.

But the victory is not yet won. According to a WRAL article, Tami Fitzgerald executive director of the North Carolina Values Coalition, is quoted as saying, “Anyone who believes that this decision in Virginia somehow strikes down North Carolina’s Marriage Amendment is wrong. North Carolina’s Marriage Amendment still stands, and no judge has found it unconstitutional.”

So we aren’t done here. But we have marriage momentum, and we need to run with it. So what do we do now?

One of the most important things we can do is contact Governor McCrory, flooding him with our voices of support for Virginia and what we want to see happen in North Carolina.

Equality NC has set up an easy resource for contacting the governor, whether by adding your name to this petition, submitting a letter, or calling him directly. The door is open, and now is the time to make our voices heard.

For those of you who are in the Triangle area, another easy way to stay up-to-date on local Human Rights and Equality movements is by following the HRC Triangle Community. The Facebook group allows you to communicate with other locals passionate about achieving equality here in North Carolina, provide your own ideas and resources, and keeps you in the loop on how you can make an impact. In fact, one great way to help is to go there now and leave a comment, telling us about how this new legislation impacts you and sharing your own story. Be loud!

We have marriage momentum in North Carolina now. Don’t relinquish our foothold. Say bye bye to Amendment One.

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  • heather

    Heather

  • I sincerely believe that through the power of storytelling, I can make social issues become more than a set of statistics. My expertise is in community leadership, non-profit work, event coordinating, networking, and storytelling. My resume. All my articles.

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