On May 8, 2012, North Carolinians will have the opportunity to adopt the proposed Marriage Amendment to the state Constitution that will define marriage as the union of one man and one woman and as the “only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State.”
The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge, Bishop of Raleigh, and the Most Reverend Peter J. Jugis, Bishop of Charlotte, have re-stated their strong support FOR the Marriage Amendment and are asking Catholics in both Dioceses to vote "YES" FOR the amendment. To assist parishioners in understanding the importance of the amendment to society, the Bishops are providing resource material to remind the faithful of Church teaching on the Sacrament of Marriage.
In a recent statement, the Bishops wrote, “We are FOR marriage, as we believe it is a vocation in which God calls couples to faithfully and permanently embrace a fruitful union in a mutual self-giving bond of love, according to His purposes. It is not only the union itself that is essential to these purposes, but also the life to which spouses are called to be open through the gift of children. Children have the right to the indispensable place of fatherhood and motherhood in their lives as they grow, are loved, nurtured and formed by those whose unique vocation it is to be a father and a mother through the bond of one man and one woman in marriage.”
The public debate on the Marriage Amendment in our State is generating a substantial amount of misinformation on what the amendment truly means and is intended to do. Contrary to the claims of those opposed, the Marriage Amendment:
- Does not prohibit businesses from providing benefits to same-sex couples.
- Does not change the law on domestic violence programs.
- Does not impact existing child custody laws or arrangements.
- Does not invalidate trusts, wills and end-of-life directives in which an unmarried partner is a beneficiary and/or is entrusted with the care of a loved one.
- Does not negatively impact employment opportunities in our State.
- Does not relegate same-sex couples to second-class citizen status. Does not prohibit same-sex couples from any rights or benefits that may be granted by local governments or the UNC System, if they choose to do so by changing the basis upon which benefits are offered.
While the amendment does not allow civil unions or domestic partnerships to be legally binding entities, it does allow same-sex couples and others to enter into, and enforce, private legal agreements.
In summary, the Marriage Amendment simply enshrines in the Constitution of our State, the belief that marriage is a social institution whose definition cannot be changed by civil law, because it is an essential and enduring institution of society that does not change from culture to culture or from generation to generation. Passage of the amendment will ensure that the current state law on marriage will not be overturned by legislative or judicial action, as has occurred in other states. The FOR Marriage Amendment places the decision in the hands of the people of North Carolina.
“We ask you to join us in our support FOR the sacred vocation of marriage and what it means for us and for the future of our great State,” the Bishops said. “We urge you to visit our Catholic Voice NC website for more information and to vote “YES” FOR the referendum on May 8th.”
Resource material, including the four-part video series, on Catholic teaching on marriage is available on the Catholic Voice NC website, http://www.catholicvoicenc.org/.