Thursday, May 10, 2012

What just happened?

So, the past week has been one filled with question and wonderment in my life. As some of you know, my origin is based in North Carolina and I, most likely, will forever refer to it as my home state. Well, this week was a big one for the 'ol home state as its citizens voted on (and ultimately for) the controversial Amendment One. The amendment, found HERE, sets forth a condition that allows only male to female documented marriage to be the solely recognized union statewide.

Clever Clever

On the surface, the amendment seems to have simple, straight forward implications that look to make an easy definition for what the historically red state believes. We already know that North Carolina is a conservative state and it's really no surprise, to the rest of the country at least, that this amendment passed. If California, one of the most progressive LGBT states, can't even figure out what to do, how is NC supposed to know? NC government feels this way as well and most government officials will admit outright that the state is not well equipped to handle the workload that comes along with recognizing civil unions (no matter if its male/male, female/female, or male/female) and, frankly, is scared to death at the thought of sorting through all the legal formalities of a civil union when it comes to things like estate planning, medical coverage, and pension benefits (just to name a few).

So what did they do? They took advantage of the far right conservatism of the NC citizens and placed a very cleverly worded sentence on a short and sweet amendment bill with the hopes of avoiding all the hassle.

To understand this completely it is very important to understand that a civil union applies to couples of all sexual preference, not just the LGBT community. Many perfectly straight couples make the choice to create a civil union instead of getting married because (until this week) it was easier to deal with many aspects of bringing two lives together. For instance, many widowed or divorced people chose civil unions over marriage because it allows each person in the union to keep certain aspects separate with regard to dealing from previous relationships. A perfect example is a couple that wishes to keep their assets separate within the legal realm. What's so wrong with that?

The TRUTH is, NC government officials are not really concerned with what your sexual preference in a partner is. What they are concerned with are the legal formalities that come alongside these unions. The basic, but very real explanation is... NC just does not really have the manpower to handle a large influx of civil unions, which would inevitably come to the state, should we be one of the few to allow them.

Why NC missed out

The point of this blog is not to discuss or delve into personal religious beliefs and the goal of this section is to look at the economic repercussions of the citizens choice.

For all of the far right wingers in NC... I'm sorry, but passing this amendment isn't going to get rid of the LGBT community. While the choice doesn't favor the gay community, same sex marriage was already banned in NC so, if your motivation was to displace them... you failed.

Who this choice really hurts the most are; single parents, widowed/divorced singles, long standing (straight) civil unions, and seniors who have lost their significant other. The reason is; now people will be required to have a documented certificate of marriage to afford them certain benefits, which were formerly allowed on a less regulated basis.

Moreover, why are we focusing on this issue is the first place? What we really need to be focusing on is raising our states contribution to our economies Real GDP, which will allow us to reinvest and create the much needed jobs and discretionary income that the economy needs.

If NC would have voted no, it is true that there would have been a lot more paper work and legality to deal with for certain unions, but what that really means is that we would need more personnel to handle it all, which leads too..... drum roll...

(and hello... more jobs equal more money)

Now, you can read this an say that you do not care about missing out on some jobs, but I happen to know of a very large furniture manufacturing company based in a small rural part of NC, which houses about 800 jobs in that town alone. This company has become a major power player across the country, is very popular with the upscale crowd here in Chicago as well as L.A. and NYC, and just happens to have not one, but TWO openly gay CEO's. Call me brash (and I know this is an extreme example), but I would be willing to bet that if those individuals decided to close their operation and take it somewhere else because they could be in recognized civil unions, a lot of jobless people would think differently about the prejudice of their previous choice on Amendment One.

We can have another discussion as to whether the amendment was good for moral beliefs, but when it comes to economic impact, well, I'm sorry North Carolina, but you dropped the ball on this one.


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