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Republican says anti-LGBT amendment makes him uneasy
FRANKLIN, N.C. — Yet another North Carolina Republican has admitted the anti-LGBT state constitutional amendment approved for the May 8, 2012, ballot by lawmakers in September makes him uncomfortable.
Speaking at a town hall event in his district last week, freshman Republican state Sen. Jim Davis expressed concern over the amendment and admitted the vote was a difficult one for him.
Davis, who ultimately did vote for the measure, said it would “restrict [LGBT citizens'] freedoms a little more beyond my comfort zone.”
“I have a lot of libertarian in me,” he said, according to The Macon County News writer Chad Simons. “I believe firmly, passionately that a marriage should be defined as being between one man and one woman. But I also believe with all my heart that in a free America people who choose to live a different lifestyle should have a legal right to do so. Just don’t call it marriage.”
The comments follow similar statements recently made by and North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis. Additionally, U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-Dunn, has said she’ll vote against the amendment in May.
Davis’ comments weren’t all positive, though. He compared gays and lesbians to people who smoke and said gays have “unhealthy habits.”
Davis’ comments are reprinted in their entirety below.
The anti-LGBT amendment has been described by opponents as the most “far-reaching” legislation of its type across the country. Thirty other states have approved similar measures, but North Carolina’s version would ban recognition of all marriages, civil unions and domestic partnerships for same-sex couples.
Stuart Campbell, executive director of the statewide LGBT advocacy group Equality North Carolina, has said the amendment will threaten even basic protections afforded to non-married couples, gay and straight alike.
“This amendment would not only permanently foreclose marriage, civil unions and domestic partnerships for our families, it would also deny them any other measure of protections, large or small — a cruel punishment particularly in these tough economic times,” Campbell said this week, adding that domestic violence protections and child custody agreements could also come under scrutiny.
Davis’ full remarks
As reported by The Macon County News writer Chad Simons:
When asked about compromising on tough votes, Davis commented that his vote in support of the gay marriage ballot initiative made him somewhat uneasy. “I have a lot of libertarian in me,” he said. “I believe firmly, passionately that a marriage should be defined as being between one man and one woman. But I also believe with all my heart that in a free America people who choose to live a different lifestyle should have a legal right to do so. Just don’t call it marriage,” said Davis. He explained that the gay marriage amendment that will be on the ballot next May will “restrict their freedoms a little more beyond my comfort zone,” he said.
“The marriage amendment is so important because these gay and lesbian, transgender people want moral equivalence to a heterosexual marriage, and it never can be in my opinion. A heterosexual marriage is the bedrock of our society. I feel passionately about that, but I don’t think we need to restrict the rights of people who do not choose to live our lifestyles,” said Davis. The senator used a similar argument when talking about people who choose to smoke cigarettes and live sedentary lifestyles, arguing that people should have the liberty to live as they see fit, but they should pay higher insurance premiums to compensate for their unhealthy habits.
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About the author: Matt Comer is the editor of QNotes, first hired to serve in the role in October 2007. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at 704-531-9988, ext. 202. Follow him online at facebook.com/matthew.mh.comer or at twitter.com/themattcomer.