This is a photo of my fellow North Carolinians praying for the passage of Amendment 1. God, we are assholes.
North Carolina has finally decided to let the whole country know that it hates gay people just as much as everyone else in the South. Yes, as you've undoubtedly heard, late last night the Tar Heel State became the final southern state to pass an anti-gay marriage amendment defining marriage as a thing that exists strictly between a person with a penis and a person with a corresponding penis holster.
I'm from North Carolina and can say in all honesty that I never met a homophobic person while living there. My acquaintances and I were apparently in the minority, however, as the amendment passed with 61 percent of the vote. That's a lot. Over 500,000 people turned in absentee ballots before voting even began—more than for the 2008 Democratic primaries. The turnout was probably bolstered by people like Judge Alvin ‘J.P.’ Valkenheiser, a Billy Graham lookalike, who took out ads in numerous North Carolina newspapers whining about the “moral decline of our country,” and gigantic signs in front of churches defining marriage as a three-way with God like this one in Wilmington (my hometown, whoop!):
Side note: The weird thing about that sign is the church it belonged to doubled as a polling station yesterday. There was some talk in the local paper about how that's probably illegal in some way or another, but folks in those parts don’t want to touch an argument about the church with a ten-foot whipping stick, so that discussion was pretty much dead on arrival. Still, strangely enough the nays beat out the yays in that precinct, with 482 votes against the amendment and 291 for it.
But back to the matter at hand. I think what really disappoints me and a lot of other people about this whole thing is that North Carolina is supposed to be the most progressive state in the South. Unfortunately, this vote just reinforces the stereotype that Southerners are homophobic. And, by extension, are fat and have gingivitis. The rest of the country is rapidly embracing homosexuality (a Gallup poll released yesterday said half of Americans approve of gay marriage), so it's depressing to see my home state isolating itself from forward-thinking people in the rest of America. My question to my fellow North Carolinians would be a simple one: Have you ever met a gay person? They are nicer than five of the nicest straight people you know put together. We use a word that means "happy" to describe them. Why would you want to make their lives harder just because they like to scissor or stick their dinguses in butts? It's baffling.
One of the many shitty things about the new amendment is it will make it illegal for gays to adopt children. The state will also no longer recognize civil unions, meaning children receiving family benefits from their gay parents will likely be up shit creek without a paddle, as we say in North Carolina. MSNBC spoke with a couple of nice lesbians in that predicament this morning. They said the couple were already filling out paperwork for private insurance and considering moving to another state.
So yeah, this whole thing is terribly depressing and North Carolinians are all a bunch of backwoods country bumpkins waving Confederate flags who still use outhouses and reference Sodom and Gomorrah and God smiting America when discussing homosexuality. But I guess the silver lining, if we want to make lemonade here (another folksy saying people in North Carolina love), is that the bigots in my home state have finally forced Obama to grow a spine and come out in favor of gay marriage, as of about one hour ago. That's right, in a hastily-scheduled interview with ABC, Obama became the first president to publicly admit that he is totally, 100 percent fine with gay people having the same rights as every other human. If it takes my state looking like a total asshole in front of the entire country to get the president to stand behind gay marriage, I’m OK with that. (On the other hand, Obama also stressed that he’s leaving gay marriage up to the states, so he doesn't feel that bad. But hey, I'm trying to make lemonade, remeber, so let's focus on the part about him personally supporting it for now.)