Monday, March 19, 2012 —
Growing up in a Roman Catholic household and attending a Catholic
school greatly influenced many of my social and religious beliefs.
Like other teenagers, my views have been strongly influenced by my
family and church. Our families steer, direct and guide us,
coincidently, into their beliefs. However, there are certain issues on
which I personally differ from my church and my family.
Love is wonderful, and you’re very fortunate when you share it with
someone else. The feeling of belonging to someone and having someone
to support you, be by your side, share your life with you and having
safety and security is what we all long to find when looking for a
partner. As individuals, we should only want happiness for ourselves
and for all other human beings on earth. Where we find our happiness
should not concern others as long as it does not physically or
emotionally harm others.
Our country was founded under the principle that all humans were born
with rights, of which include life, liberty and the pursuit of
happiness. It is the pursuit of happiness that we should all want for
ourselves and want all others to have. North Carolina has an upcoming
vote called Amendment One. This amendment states that the state of
North Carolina will not recognize gay marriage. Should a couple in a
same sex marriage move from a state where gay marriage is legal to
North Carolina, North Carolina will not recognize the union. This
amendment could possibly interfere with protectioning same-sex couples
who may need to visit their partner in the hospital, or make emergency
medical and financial choices if one partner is unable. This amendment
will affect loving families that have had their children for a while.
For example, should a child from a same-sex marriage lose a parent for
any reason, the surviving parent may lose the rights to guardianship
of the child, should they not move to another state. Committed and
dedicated parents could lose their visitation rights and child custody
through this amendment. Seniors and businesses may be affected also.
Some companies currently provide benefits for domestic partners;
however, these couples will not be recognized in North Carolina and
could possibly lose their benefits.
On March 8, I attended a “Vote No to Amendment One” meeting lead by
the Young Progressives at my school, Gray Stone Day School. We met at
the Stokes Building on the Pfeiffer University campus. There were
around 130 people who came, 30 of them being students from Gray Stone.
Rick Glazier, who is seeking a sixth term in the House of
Representatives, spoke about the 500,000 couples in North Carolina who
will be affected by the loss of fair parenting regulations and
Medicare. He mentioned that all loving families come in every form and
type. During his speech, I noticed same-sex couples bobbing their head
in agreement. Dylan Frick, the chairman of the Young Progressives,
spoke about spreading the awareness by hosting similar meetings at
Catawba College and Wingate University. Frick explained that he would
really love it if he inspired others to vote against the amendment,
since he and the many other students at Gray Stone aren’t old enough.
Although I was raised in a Catholic environment, and live with a very
conservative family, I would strongly encourage people to research
this amendment carefully, and consider the fact that a large number of
people in North Carolina will be hurt and affected personally by the
amendment, before they cast their vote on May 8. I would be devastated
to see anyone get hurt by Amendment One now or in the future.
Love is personal, the state should not decide who and how individual
human beings should love. I know Amendment One won’t persuade people
to “stop being gay,” as some will hope it will, or keep, in their
opinion, “amoral” acts from happening, but I do know that it will harm
the lives of many happy and content couples.
When people say that gay marriage isn’t natural or traditional, I
think about how America constantly changes, every day.
Voters should educate themselves on the amendment prior to the May
vote, and come to their own conclusions. Having opinions is good and
listening to others’ beliefs and points of view is good, but it’s
important that individuals not allow others to totally influence or
mandate how they should believe, yet draw their own conclusions for
their own beliefs and stand by their own convictions.
Caroline Chilton is a sophomore at Gray Stone Day School.