SGA proposes resolution against Amendment One
Published: Friday, April 6, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 13:04
Following several other universities in the state, UNCW’s Student Government Association (SGA) is proposing a resolution against Amendment One. The amendment is being voted on by North Carolina residents May 8.
From equalitync.org, “the amendment still has the potential to invalidate domestic violence protections for members of unmarried couples … interfere with existing child custody and visitation rights ... (and) invalidate domestic partner benefits now offered by several municipalities.”
“So you can see that this goes far beyond preventing same-sex couples from getting married or being in a civil union, which is already against the law in NC,” said Josh Kinchen, an SGA senator.
Other university student governments have proposed and passed a resolution against Amendment One, including NC State, NC Central, Guilford College, UNC-Greensboro, UNC-Asheville, UNC-Chapel Hill, East Carolina and Salem College.
“We’re being asked why we’re getting involved in a political issue,” said Kinchen. “We’re involved because this (amendment) restricts the rights of students.
“By creating the resolution, we are hoping to draw attention to the issue. We want to educate people about Amendment One. There are a small group of politically active students on UNCW’s campus, and others are misinformed about its other impacts,” said Kinchen. “You can be conservative and against Amendment One. It doesn’t speak to your ideals either.”
This same amendment could take away legal protections for the children of unmarried couples, could take away domestic violence protections for all unmarried people and lead to the convictions of abusers being overturned. It could also strip health benefits from unmarried people who receive coverage through their partners.
In an interview with Race to the Ballot, Kinchen said, “In not being able to extend these rights to everyone, it’s backwards from what I was taught as a Marine. We’re supposed to protect the ones that we love and expand the rights of other citizens … If I’m saying I have the best interests of everyone at heart, I want to expand rights and have economic growth, but (with Amendment One) we’re targeting this group of people and saying they cannot have any rights whatsoever or not the same rights as we have.”
“If NC is going to be a progressive state then we need to support, accommodate and protect all citizens,” said Grant Do, UNCW freshmen class president. “I strongly believe that this amendment will destroy the progressive expansion of our state’s economy. Our state prides itself on being one of the top ideal locations to live and work, but all of that could change if prospective employees of NC businesses do not feel welcome or cannot live in the state due to restricted benefits and rights.”
The resolution against Amendment One will first be proposed to the SGA Senate for approval April 10 at 7:30 p.m. in the Azalea Coast Room. It will then become public record which will be available to any person upon request.
“The resolution is not an emotional appeal,” said Kinchen, “but a logic-based one. Hopefully it will pass without a lot of backlash.”
A petition against Amendment One has been created by SGA at change.org with a goal of 1,000 signatures before April 10 at 5 p.m.
If the resolution is not passed April 10, it will be seen by a new senate in the fall.
A Skype session was held between UNCW senators and NCSU, the first university in the state to approve a resolution against the amendment. NCSU senators were able to share their personal experience with getting the resolution passed, including how they approached local media and the threats they received after it was passed.
"Many of the student senators are proud that the NCSU student senate was able to pass the resolution. By standing up and voting yes for the resolution, many of us chose to protect all North Carolinians. Our 'yes' vote also said that we do not want to place discrimination in the very DNA of the NC Constitution," said Harrison Do, a senator at NCSU.
"It's a generational issue. The data shows right now that you are a generation away from that issue. If it passes, I think it will be repealed within 20 years," said Tom Tillis, Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives.
Tillis, along with many other Tea-Party members and ultra conservatives, are speaking out on the issue.