Celebrated lawyer Ted Olson, having been a key player in the legal push to overturn California’s Proposition 8, has announced that he will attend a rally in opposition to North Carolina’s proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, known as Amendment 1.
He hopes more Republicans will support marriage equality and oppose measures such as Amendment One, which Olson noted, “wipes away the whole thing,” meaning all legal recognition of same sex relationships.
“I’m going to go down to North Carolina in April. There’s a big rally down there. I’m going to go down and do my bit,” Olson said. “We want to win one. You heard the [Perry v Schwarzenegger Prop 8 trial] witness talk about how the outcome [of antigay ballot measures] is always against gay and lesbian people. It would be really great if we started changing that. And maybe North Carolina is a chance.”
Olson, 71-years-old and a prominent Republican, was the subject of great ire from conservatives in 2009 when he joined the legal team challenging the constitutionality of California’s gay marriage ban, Proposition 8. He maintains that allowing marriage equality is a matter of civil rights and freedom from government intrusion, and as such that it is, at its heart, a conservative issue.
North Carolina’s Amendment 1 question will go before voters on May 8. North Carolina is the only state in the South not to have codified its statutory ban on same-sex marriage. The proposed amendment is doubly offensive to equality proponents however as it would do more than just ban same-sex marriage, and would eliminate all civil union and domestic partnership rights in the state.
Republican lawmakers who pushed through the ballot question promised concessions so the legislation would still allow for domestic partnerships. Even then, several legal commentators expressed concern that the amendment was too open-ended. Yet, when the Legislature approved the amendment, no such concessions were offered.
GOP lawmakers have been heavily criticized in running an anti-gay platform to support the amendment, with the bill’s key sponsors saying the legislation is necessary for child welfare — no evidence offered of course — and they have also been caught likening gay marriage to allowing incest and bestiality.
However, the push back against Amendment 1 has been strong.
The North Carolina Psychological Association went as far as to release a position statement against the 2012 ballot, listing a number of reasons against codifying the state’s existing statutory ban and pointing out the harmful effects of so aggressively disfavoring a particular group.
The April 1 rally Olson is attending will be held in Greensboro and is being organized by the group Faith Against Amendment One, backed by coalition group Protect All North Carolina Families.