Amendment One succeeded, and the North Carolina voters failed.
Now it is done. Now the story ends. And there is no way to tell it. The art of fiction is dead. Reality has strangled invention. Only the utterly impossible, the inexpressibly fantastic, can ever be plausible again.
Such gorgeous writing was squandered in the service of a mere sports story. It should have been saved for what just transpired during an otherwise-inconsequential primary election in North Carolina:
A proposed amendment to [the state’s] constitution which would make marriage between a man and woman the only legal union recognized by the state has passed a statewide vote, the Associated Press reports. The referendum- North Carolina Amendment One- goes a step beyond outlawing same-sex marriage, which was already illegal in the state. The law decrees that “marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State”- meaning that civil unions and potentially other types of domestic partnerships will no longer be legally recognized.
In this bellwether and ostensibly “progressive” southern state, it appears that the negrophobia of the early 20th century has given way to the homophobia of the 21st. However, the notion of “race suicide” appears to be at the heart of both fears, at least according to an offhand remark made by the wife of North Carolina State Senator (and Amendment One sponsor) Peter Brunstetter :
The reason my husband wrote Amendment 1 was because the Caucasian race is diminishing and we need to reproduce.
Impelled to clarify his wife’s statement, Senator Brunstetter said the following:
We are looking at the history of the United States and it is already law about what marriage is. Between a man and a woman. And we are looking at how America has been a great country. That’s why people are coming here. And people who founded the United States wrote a Constitution and it has been what has preserved this society.
Last night, 61% of North Carolina voters threw in with Brunstetter and his lot. The Founders have been vindicated, even if the Founders wouldn’t have understood what the hell was going on here (they were too busy grinding out that Three-Fifths Compromise, after all). It is finished.
Mind you, I’m a big believer in direct democracy. After working with political scientist Chris Bonneau at the University of Pittsburgh, I’ve concluded that we should be electing all of our state and federal judges in partisan elections. None of that changes the fact that democracy, as manifested in the American South, can be a disturbing thing.
If the Bill of Rights were to have been put to a vote in North Carolina tonight, I’m of a mind that nine of ten would have been voted out of existence. The Second Amendment, of course, would have hung around; standing alone, it’s sufficient to enforce the other nine as well as any cool new ones that we might devise (the right not to be cut off in traffic, the right not to be disrespected, the right to chew bubblegum and kick ass…and I’m all out of bubblegum, &c.). Yes, the majority rules, but the majority also seems to think that Dane Cook rules.
I grew up in North Carolina, attended public schools in North Carolina, and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Today, some of my old classmates–and hopefully at least one moron whose slot I occupied at UNC-CH–strutted to the polls, yanked levers or applied their marks, and in so doing managed to save marriage for our time. By taking away legal recognition from couples who genuinely want to be with one another, these forward-thinking do-righters have preserved it for my parents and their combined seven marriages, preserved it for the 30,000 or so opposite-sex couples who get divorced in the state every year, preserved it intact and inviolate in a state constitution that can be amended at the drop of a hat.
You stay classy, Tar Heels.