By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League of North Carolina
RALEIGH – As families across the Tar Heel state prepared to celebrate the nation’s birthday, many of their top elected leaders seemed bent on undermining one of America’s most fundamental institutions with actions on two proposed bills that fly in the face of family values.
“We can’t get any legislation facilitated on a Defense of Marriage Amendment, yet in a short session, when we are told that lawmakers are not to take up controversial issues, the House leadership is giving the homosexual forces a thumbs up on the anti-bullying bill,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. The organization issued an action alert this week calling for supporters to urge Senators to put a halt to the pro-gay bill parading under the guise of “school violence prevention.”
House Bill 1366, introduced by Rep. Rick Glazier (D-Cumberland), who has been honored for his work by at least one statewide LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender/transsexual) organization, would force public schools to adopt policies prohibiting bullying motivated by a variety of characteristics including “gender identity or expression” and “sexual orientation,” two undefined traits that are not a part of any state law.
The bill was passed by the House last year, but the Senate recognized in the objectionable language the underlying efforts to create protected status for homosexuality, bisexuality, cross dressing and other alternative behaviors and took out the list of categories so its anti-bullying law would protect all students equally. The revised bill went back to the House and landed in the House Judiciary I Committee, which took it up in a surprise move this week, recommending that the House not concur with the Senate version.
While Glazier, arguing before the House on Wednesday, insisted that the bill applied to every student equally, he was adamant that the “most vulnerable categories” had to be specifically mentioned for the law to offer them protection. In the same breath he argued that singling out these subgroups of students did not create any “protected class beyond what the law already recognizes.”
That’s not the case according to the North Carolina Family Policy Council, whose legal advisors say such a law would have the effect of recognizing “sexual orientation” and “gender identity or expression” as legitimate classes that must be offered special protection in a variety of other state laws – thus the push from the pro-gay organizations.
Rep. John Blust, R-Guilford, pointed out the advantages of the Senate version of the bill saying that it “defines bullying and harassing behavior in a broad way” and that, without listing specific groups it would cover “every single student that goes to school in North Carolina, bar none.”
“If we are going to prevent bullying against every single student why is it then necessary to enumerate these certain express categories of students?” he asked Glazier from the House floor during debate.
Glazier insisted that the idea of “not bullying people and being nice to everyone” doesn’t work as a school policy and that the only laws that are truly successful at stopping bullying are the ones that single out those in so-called “vulnerable populations” and “teach and train” children to accept all students, and apparently all their behavior, as equal.
“Not only would this bill create protected status in North Carolina’s public schools for homosexuality, bisexuality, cross dressing and other alternative sexual behaviors, it also would require our public schools to teach that these behaviors are normal and perfectly acceptable,” according to a synopsis of the bill by the N.C. Family Policy Council.
Opponents to the pro-homosexual language pointed out that House members who sincerely want to protect all students from bullying, no matter what the motive behind the actions, could have passed a strong Violence Prevention Law simply by concurring with the Senate bill.
Nonetheless, members of the House voted 60-56 not to concur with the Senate’s version. Now both chambers will appoint conferees to try to come up with a compromise bill.
Creech is urging North Carolina residents who don’t want homosexual forces to get more of a foothold in our public schools to contact their Senators and urge them to vote against any version of the School Violence Prevention bill that singles out students by their “gender identity or expression” or “sexual orientation.”
Pro-family advocates should also let their elected officials know that they want the institution of marriage to have North Carolina’s highest protection – a Constitutional amendment defining it as “between one man and one woman at one time” and clarifying that any other types of marriages performed outside of the state are not valid here.
Rep. David R. Lewis (R-Harnett) and more than 65 of his colleagues signed onto House Bill 2803, the Defense of Marriage Act, Lewis announced at a Wednesday press conference calling for legislators to give North Carolinians the chance to vote to safeguard our marriage laws.
“We feel this is important because the family is the basis of our society. We also feel it is important because we have can provide statistical evidence that children who are raised in a two-parent household in which the mother and the father are both present are much more likely to succeed in life,” Lewis said.
Although the California Supreme Court’s May 15 opinion recognizing a constitutional right to same sex “marriage” in that state and its subsequent issuance of marriage licenses to same sex couples in part prompted the introduction of the bill, the push to codify and strengthen North Carolina’s marriage law is not new.
For the last four years, legislation calling for a State Marriage Amendment has been introduced in the House and the Senate, but the bills have never made it to the floor, a travesty considering that a statewide poll released this spring showed that 71 percent of Tar Heel voters would support such a move.
“This is a bipartisan bill that is supported by a majority of citizens of North Carolina, and it is a bill that is extremely necessary for this state,” said John Rustin, of the North Carolina Family Policy Council. “We are the only state in the Southeast that has taken no specific or substantive action to protect the definition of marriage.”
Rustin said all the states surrounding North Carolina, south from Virginia and east from Texas, have passed marriage amendments by an average passage rate exceeding 75 percent. Floridians will get to vote on an amendment in November.
Rep. Paul Stam (R-Wake) said what has happened in California could lead to “chaos, very quickly” as same sex couples from across the nation head to the West Cost to obtain marriage licenses and then return to file legal action in their home states demanding the same legal status and recognition there. The House Minority Leader cited property rights and child custody issues as two of many legal areas that would be caught in the mix as same-sex couples challenge state marriage laws.
“It is very difficult to unscramble eggs,” Stam said.
Rep. Ruth Samuelson (R-Mecklenburg) agreed with Stam’s “chaos” prediction and stressed the importance of solidifying the legal definition of marriage.
“If 70 percent of the people in North Carolina want marriage defined as one man and one woman and somebody uses the courts to overturn it … you can bet it will be unsettling to North Carolina,” she said.
Monsignor Michael Clay, legislative liaison for Bishop Peter Jugis of Charlotte and Bishop Michael Burbidge of Raleigh shared the Catholic church’s support for the Constitutional protection of marriage, calling it “the irrefutable cornerstone of every culture and society where Christian faith is professed.”
The Rev. Creech pointed out that since 1971, North Carolina has amended its Constitution more than 20 times for a variety of issues, but none as important as “protecting our society’s most fundamental institution.”
He ended his remarks with a challenge to the leadership of both the House and Senate to allow the Marriage Amendment to be heard, debated and voted on.
“I can remember quite well when many of the same lawmakers who say our current laws to protect marriage are sufficient advocated zealously that citizens should have an opportunity to vote in a referendum for the lottery because most supported it,” he said. “A referendum on the lottery was arguably unconstitutional, yet there is no question that North Carolinians have the right to amend their constitution and polls reveal that more than 70 percent support a marriage amendment. In the light of this, we must ask ourselves where indeed are our priorities?”
After the Press Conference, Creech added that pro-family advocates need to get some righteous indignation about what’s happening this session. He said, “I hope they really understand what’s going on. No vote on a marriage amendment is being allowed, but we have the prospect of the approval of legislation that would set a historical precedent in North Carolina law for the homosexual agenda. Concerned Citizen Christians should express their outrage.”
Read the Christian Action League’s Urgent Action Alert on the pro-homosexual bullying bill, Click here