This week the Democratic Party will make history by becoming the first major American political party to endorse both marriage and employment equality for LGBT people. That this position will be ratified in Charlotte, N.C., highlights a dilemma that is both political and moral in nature.
While I understand that this is a natural response to the passage of such a discriminatory act, one that targets innocent North Carolinians for the worst of reasons, misunderstanding and bigotry, I'm asking everyone to take a deep breath.
I spent much of the spring working on defeating anti-gay Amendment 1 in North Carolina. It's been my habit, after major wins or losses, to reflect on what went right and what went wrong, and offer some thoughts. Here are some of those along with some analysis.
I would gladly never step foot in North Carolina again, and if it weren't for the fact that I do have relatives and a few friends there, I probably wouldn't. Why would I waste my money to support the economy of a state that clearly sees me as unworthy of any level of respect?
The battle in North Carolina also indicates that conservative strategists are beginning to target unrepentant, unmarried heterosexual couples, too. In a state that already prohibits same-sex marriage, Amendment 1 adds prohibitions against civil unions and domestic partnerships.
It is up to us to show the opposition that we are no different. We are all human, and love is love. Some people are scared of what appears to be different. If we truly step up and show that we are all the same, this world would be as beautiful as life itself.
Let's take a page out of Harvey Milk's book: if you don't mention "at least one old queer" in your campaign ads against an anti-gay initiative, you've already lost the battle. Perhaps the vote in North Carolina was a foregone conclusion.
No vote will change whom I love or whom I call my family. I will still be here regardless, living my life openly and honestly. My husband and I are still your neighbors. We are still taxpayers. One day, very soon, the margin of victory will shift in the favor of equality for my family.
On May 4 my partner and I took our two boys with us to vote early against North Carolina's Amendment 1. We were not prepared at all for the drama that we encountered as we approached the early voting location.