I am writing this newsletter update slightly belated after a couple of weeks ‘on the road’… a session in Raleigh, a quick family vacation that was postponed because of Hurricane Irene, a return to Raleigh to meet with committee, and then a trip to a legislator’s conference on improving education for K-12 children.
The legislature met last week to take up several items of business. The issue grabbing the headlines was giving the citizens the right to vote on a constitutional amendment to clearly define marriage as between one man and one woman. Ten House Democrats joined with 65 Republicans to clear the three-fifths supermajority necessary to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot. No Democrats voted with the 30 Republicans in the Senate that supported the measure. The governor cannot veto a constitutional amendment vote.
Both statewide polling and especially local reaction has been very favorable regarding this issue. Over 30 states have already enacted such constitutional protections regarding marriage. North Carolina remains the only state in the entire South that has not done so. Opponents argue this ‘discriminates’. I disagree that this discriminates unfairly... but any definition of marriage discriminates in the true sense of the word. We discriminate by not allowing polygamy. We do not allow one to marry a close relative, a parent or a sibling. We do not allow children to marry. You can't marry your pet. In fact, those of us that are married discriminated our spouse from everyone else when we married them. So... marriage discriminates (not negatively, but it 'discriminates' in the true sense of the word... just as we discriminate red from yellow from green, etc).
Other relationships can and will still be practiced after this amendment passes, if it does. They just will not be classified as "marriage", and that traditional union between one husband and one wife will remain distinctive. Natural law has affirmed this definition of marriage for thousands of years. I believe that it is the proper family structure that God has ordained and has been the fundamental building block of our society.
Such a constitutional amendment ballot initiative simply puts the question in the hands of our citizens to decide, rather than letting one judge make a decision to plunge it into a court battle as has happened in other states. The vote will be held during the May 2012 primary. The preference was to vote on it in November when more people vote, but the House Democrats would not agree to this and their votes were needed in order to pass the measure.
On a personal note, I have decided that I will run for a second term in the House next year. I have also decided to rejoin the Republican Party. As a conservative, I have caucused with the Republican majority from day one in Raleigh as I have reported. The session has been historic and produced much needed change to begin to put our state on a better course. I continue to very much value principle over partisanship. Like many conservatives and Republicans, I have at times been very disappointed when the national Republican Party abandoned its principles of limited government scope and spending. As a private citizen this had led me to become unaffiliated after many years service as a Republican. But, since our system basically runs as a two-party system, I feel that going forward I can continue to serve most effectively on behalf of my constituents by serving within the more conservative party of the two in Raleigh. My faith in God, patriotism of country, and loyalty to the values we share continue to guide me as always.
Finally, if you didn’t already know, this past week was Constitution week… the 224th anniversary of our U.S. Constitution signed in September 1787. It has been disgraceful to see the steady decline of personal and states’ rights during the progressive era, but let us hope that true constitutional principles will make a dramatic comeback. The document was not perfect, but the perfect is not the enemy of the good. Long live our Constitution and those principles of liberty and freedom for which it stands.
Take care and God bless, Bert