This past Tuesday, May 8th, was a rough day for the liberal elites of North Carolina, as the people of their home state overwhelmingly passed the marriage amendment. In fact, it was so embarrassing for them that over the weekend, Gov. Beverly Perdue told a reporter, “We look like Mississippi.” For a liberal elite, what could possibly be worse than that?
There was, of course, the expected backlash from those outside of North Carolina, with thousands of people signing the Change.org petition calling for the Democratic National Convention to be pulled from Charlotte, also eliciting comments like these: “As an LGBT Democrat married in Iowa, I wouldn’t set foot in North Carolina,” and, “Move the Convention out of North Carolina, don’t spend any monies in this retrograde state.”
Roseanne Barr, always good for an insightful quote, urged movie studios to “withdraw your productions from NC!” (Note to Ms. Barr: If memory serves me correctly, Hollywood is located in California, a state which has twice passed marriage amendments. Perhaps you should call for all movie studios to withdraw their productions from there?)
And there were the expected headlines from ultra-liberal and/or gay activist websites. The Daily Kos reported, “The bigots win: North Carolina passes Amendment One,” and Queerty.com opined, “It’s a sad day in North Carolina. Actually make that in the entire U.S.”
Some celebrities who hail from North Carolina were especially distraught, with American Idol Clay Aiken stating, “In general, we have always been a state that takes responsible steps and this is an example, the only example in my lifetime, of the state taking a very irresponsible step.”
Actress Evan Rachel Wood tweeted, “Just bent over on set and cried over this outcome. I hope my children see a more peaceful and tolerant world.”
For the liberal elites still living within North Carolina, however, the passage of Amendment One by a 61-39% vote was almost too much bear. The headline to the Charlotte Observer editorial, which was released minutes after the amendment’s passage was announced, declared, “Same-sex marriage amendment vote is just wrong.” And the editorial began by stating, “North Carolina foolishly and shamefully joined 30 states with constitutional bans on same-sex marriages.”
The Observer called the amendment “misguided,” claimed that it “unwisely writes discrimination into the state constitution,” argued that, “The state is on the wrong side of history on this matter,” and closed by stating, “The [voting] result doesn’t show love. It’s wrong and disgraceful.”
There was not the slightest attempt to disguise the newspaper’s bitterness and embarrassment and not a hint of journalistic restraint, as the editors three times described the actions of the strong majority of North Carolinians as “wrong,” also calling their vote foolish, shameful, unwise, discriminatory, not showing love, and disgraceful. As for the editors themselves, they were “disappointed.”
In Asheville, North Carolina, columnist John Boyle wrote, “As much as I hate to say this, I’m ashamed of my state right now,” and he predicted that the day would come when “we’ll look back at this legalized intolerance and wonder, ‘Why were people so bigoted then?’”
But no one said it better than the Democratic Governor of North Carolina, Beverly Perdue, who, if I recall, was actually elected to office by some of the very people she now disparages. Replying to a reporter on Saturday, Gov. Perdue stated that, “People around the country are watching us and they’re really confused, to have been such a progressive, forward-thinking, economically driven state that invested in education and that stood up for the civil rights of people, including the civil rights marches back in the 50’s and 60’s and 70’s.”
Yes, “Folks are saying what in the world is going on in North Carolina? We look like Mississippi.”
Could you find a better example of the arrogance of the liberal elite? Or could you imagine a worse insult for a supposedly “progressive, forward-thinking, economically driven state” then to say it looked like Mississippi?
Governor Perdue and the Charlotte Observer not only insulted the people of their home state (not to mention, for Gov. Perdue, the people of Mississippi) but they also disgraced themselves with their open hostility.
They also demonstrated their inability to grasp the fact that there is a difference between the civil rights movement and gay activism, that skin color is different than romantic attraction and sexual behavior, and that gays and lesbians are not being kidnapped as slaves or being forced to sit at the back of the bus. To the contrary, they are some of the most prominent and influential people in our society. (For much more on this, see the chapter “Is Gay the New Black?” in my book A Queer Thing Happened to America.)
Even more importantly, these liberal elites seem unable to comprehend that, with good reason, the very clear majority of the people in North Carolina believe that two moms or two dads don’t equal a mom and a dad, that there’s a reason marriage is the union of a man and a woman, and that, on their watch, they don’t want an activist judge redefining marriage and thereby deciding what their kids will be taught in school.
And that’s why, when the final annals of history are written, it will be the liberal elites, not the majority of North Carolinians, who will be found on the wrong side.
Michael Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University. He is the author of 25 books, includingLine of Fire. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.