Blog Post

NC Bishops Talk Tough to Obama

The bishops of North Carolina have issued a strong statement criticizing President Barack Obama for inserting himself into the debate over an amendment on the May 8 ballot that would define marriage in North Carolina as being between one man and one woman. is reporting that the Obama campaign got involved last Friday when they issued a statement condemning the amendment as discriminatory.

 “While the president does not weigh in on every single ballot measure in every state, the record is clear that the president has long opposed divisive and discriminatory efforts to deny rights and benefits to same sex couples," campaign spokesman Cameron French said in the statement. "That’s what the North Carolina ballot initiative would do – it would single out and discriminate against committed gay and lesbian couples – and that’s why the president does not support it.”

The statement drew a sharp response from the state's bishops who denounced the president's characterization of the amendment that would protect traditional marriage as discriminatory, thus adding to the prevailing confusion about the nature of marriage.

"Last week, President Barack Obama took the unusual step of commenting on a state ballot initiative. His stated opposition to the referendum on the marriage amendment in North Carolina is a grave disappointment, as it is reported to be the first time that the President has entered into this issue on the state level, further escalating the increasing confusion on the part of some in our society to the very nature of marriage itself," said Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Raleigh and Bishop Peter J. Jugis of Charlotte.

"In his comments on the upcoming referendum in our State, the President regrettably characterized the marriage amendment as a matter of discrimination. While we are respectful of the Office of the President, we strongly disagree with this assessment. As Cardinal Timothy Dolan, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, recently stated, 'The Catholic Church recognizes the immeasurable personal dignity and equal worth of all individuals, including those with same-sex attraction, and we reject all hatred and unjust treatment against any person. Our profound regard for marriage, as the complementary and fruitful union of a man and a woman does not negate our concern for the well-being of all people, but reinforces it. While all persons merit our full respect, no other relationships provide for the common good that marriage between husband and wife provides'.”

The bishops aren't the only citizens who were outraged by the campaign's meddling in the affairs of their state.

"President Obama has no business inserting himself into the people's business in North Carolina, said Tami Fitzgerald, chairwoman of Vote FOR Marriage NC, a coalition supporting the amendment. "The people of North Carolina cannot sit by and let marriage as the union of one man and one woman be destroyed by a handful of political activists or by activist judges."

Opponents of the amendment are calling it discriminatory and had nothing but praise for the president's position.

 “The president has made clear the importance of protecting all families,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese in a statement. “Amendment One undermines basic human dignity and places families of all types at risk in North Carolina. Voting 'No' on Amendment One is critical for maintaining a fair North Carolina.”

A march through Raleigh to the State Capitol last Thursday by opponents of the amendment drew a mere 300 people.

Thus far, polls show overwhelming support for the amendment with 64 percent of the population saying they want to see traditional marriage protected.

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