I have always been proud to be from the South, especially from North Carolina. I love the perfectly blue skies and having cardinals playing in dogwood trees in my backyard and actively participating in the tense Bojangles v. Biscuitville debates that regularly spring up between spirited North Carolinians. When Yankee friends make judge-face about my being Southern, acting like I can’t read and they’re amazed I’m wearing shoes, I shrug it off: they don’t know the South. They don’t know the Southern pride of manners and history. Of course it’s more conservative and there are racial tensions; these things are obviously not included in the aforementioned pride. Yet I comfort myself that people don’t know what it’s really like there, especially not North Carolina, where people are smart and educated and progress is slow but always happening.
But maybe I don’t know what it’s like there either. Today, the Old North State is voting whether or not to place a second ban on gay marriage; as if there were gays sneaking through the cracks of the first ban and managing to have their unions recognized by God and Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina. Apparently, I have been deluding myself in the liberal oasis of New York City that the whole world is changing. The fact that gay marriage is still controversial, let alone illegal, in the year 2012 is so incredibly sad. Everyone is entitled to his or her opinions, but I can never grasp the outrage surrounding gay marriage. Gay people freak you out? You don’t have to go to the gay weddings or marry a gay person. Two people being able to legally express their love has nothing to do with you. Gays are against God’s plan? Agree to disagree, friend, but God shouldn’t have anything to do with people’s legal rights anyway: Separation of Church and State is, in its modern state, a concept originated by John Locke, furthered by Thomas Jefferson, and cemented in the First Amendment of this country’s Constitution.
I haven’t lived in North Carolina in a decade, but I am always a North Carolinian. The human rights of my fellow North Carolinians will always be personal to me. This law has put NC on the national stage for all the wrong reasons. It is a shame that it’s up for vote and it will be a bigger shame if it passes. I believe the state is better than Amendment One and I hope it gets voted down, lest we repeat the repressive habits of our predecessors.