Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Amendment

Shall Article XI of the Constitution of the State of Tennessee be amended by adding the following language as a new, appropriately designated section:

The historical institution and legal contract solemnizing the relationship of one man and one woman shall be the only legally recognized marital contract in this state. Any policy or law or judicial interpretation, purporting to define marriage as anything other than the historical institution and legal contract between one man and one woman, is contrary to the public policy of this state and shall be void and unenforceable in Tennessee. If another state or foreign jurisdiction issues a license for persons to marry and if such marriage is prohibited in this state by the provisions of this section, then the marriage shall be void and unenforceable in this state.

That's the amendment that resoundingly passed in my state yesterday. I haven't quite had the heart to throw away my "Vote No on One" sign that's been in my yard for months. I really don't have the heart to email everyone I know to decry what's happened. Because we just added discrimination to our constitution.

Voting No on One didn't mean you were in favor of gay marriage. It wasn't going to suddenly become legal due to the failure of Amendment One's passage. Voting No on One was more a vote to keep discrimination out of our constitution.

It wasn't that long ago that marriage was defined as the union of a white man and a white woman or a black man and a black woman. For a long, long time, that was how marriage was legal. Society managed to change enough that marriage stopped being defined by race. And our state's constitution never was amended to exclude interracial marriages. That was just legislation. Which is relatively easy to overturn.

Maybe one day society will change again. I have hope for that when I think of my daughter, proudly helping me vote yesterday. She didn't need to ask which button to push on Amendment One. She hit that "No" button decisively and happily. She gets my vote any day.

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