NC governor: Marriage amendment ‘about taking away rights’

By David Edwards
Tuesday, May 8, 2012 12:18 EDT
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NC Gov. Bev Perdue (D) speaks to MSNBC
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North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue (D) on Tuesday insisted that voters should cast their ballots against the state’s discriminatory constitutional amendment restricting marriage to “one man and one woman” because it was “about taking away rights.”

While Perdue continues to be against marriage rights for North Carolina’s LGBT population, the governor insisted that Amendment One was “not about gay marriage.”

“This is our Rosa Parks moment in North Carolina because it’s about taking away rights of people, civil rights,” Perdue told MSNBC’s Chuck Todd on Monday, noting that the wording of the measure went far beyond just restricting the rights of LGBT North Carolinians.

Experts warn (PDF) that the amendment could strip children of unmarried parents of health care coverage, interfere with the ability of unmarried couples to visit each other in the hospital, take away domestic violence protections for unmarried women and cause some unmarried seniors to lose benefits like pensions, health care and Social Security.

“The extreme folks that have been running the General Assembly, the legislature, this new Republican group have spent this past year, not on jobs, not on moving us forward and education,” Perdue explained. “They’ve messed around in our bedrooms and our classrooms, and the people of North Carolina, I hope, are sick of it and stand up and vote ‘no’ on this amendment.”

“We have a very clear statute on the books that defines marriage in North Carolina as being between a man and a women, so today’s vote — though some extremists have labeled as about being between a man and a woman — it’s about civil rights, it’s about taking away rights of North Carolinians.”

“Chuck, this hurts our brand,” she added. “Our state has been known around the world as a progressive leader, as an inviting state, a hub of business and opportunity. This is bad for business.”

Todd pressed Perdue on the “awkwardness” of being against the amendment and also against marriage equality.

“Y’all can continue to scratch your head for another 48 hours,” she shot back. “It’s very important to me that the folks in North Carolina who have not cast their ballot understand that this constitutional amendment takes away a lot of civil liberties, civil rights. It is not about gay marriage. That is not what this is about. We have a statute on the books. So for the voters of North Carolina, don’t be confused. Go in there and vote ‘no.’”

Last year, Perdue released a statement on her website explaining that she would vote against the amendment because it would “harm our state’s business climate and make it harder to grow jobs,” not because everyone deserved equal rights.

“I believe that marriage is between one man and one woman: That’s why I voted for the law in 1996 that defines marriage as between one man and one woman, and that’s why I continue to support that law today,” the statement said. “But I’m going to vote against the amendment because I cannot in good conscience look an unemployed man or woman in the eye and tell them that this amendment is more important than finding them a job.”

Public Policy Polling’s final survey before polls opened on Tuesday indicated that voters supported the amendment by a 55-39 margin. Polls are scheduled to close in North Carolina at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Watch this video from MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown, broadcast May 8, 2012.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

(h/t: Politico)

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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