CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Five Charlotte-area universities will join with the Foundation for the Carolinas to host a public discussion Wednesday night on the possible implications of Amendment One.
So far, most of the debate over the proposed N.C. constitutional amendment has centered on its first sentence, which would make traditional marriage the only domestic legal union in the state – thereby reaffirming North Carolina’s ban on same-sex marriage.
But would passage of the marriage amendment also affect the rights and benefits of unmarried heterosexual couples?
Would it make it harder for N.C. businesses to attract top talent? Would it invite lawsuits that could imperil the state’s existing law against gay marriage?
Those are among the legal and economic issues that will be explored during “Moving Forward: Deliberating the Implications of Amendment One” – a two-hour event set to begin at 6:30 p.m. in Spirit Square’s McGlohon Theater, 345 N. College St. in uptown Charlotte.
This “huge educational opportunity for the community at large,” as Marsicano called the upcoming discussion, will be co-sponsored by Queens University of Charlotte; Johnson C. Smith University; Davidson College; UNC Charlotte; and Johnson & Wales University.
Among the presenters: N.C. Rep. Ruth Samuelson, an amendment supporter who will talk about its legislative history, and Charlotte attorney Russell Robinson, an amendment opponent who will discuss its legal implications.
“We have a balanced group of people, who are pro and con,” said Michael Marsicano, president and CEO of Foundation, a philanthropic group that also spearheads communitywide dialogue. “But the request is to go to a different level … (and) take the spin out of this.”
Mecklenburg Chief District Court Judge Lisa Bell will discuss the amendment’s potential impact on family law, child welfare and other issues that go through the judicial system. Carol Swartz, a professor in the Belk College of Business at UNC Charlotte, will consider what effects – if any – the amendment’s passage could have on the state’s business climate.
Not scheduled to be a part of the discussion: a gay-lesbian perspective on the amendment or a debate over what the Bible says about marriage and homosexuality.
“Those grounds have been covered (in the various public campaigns),” Marsicano said. “They’re also highly emotional grounds.”
Other forums around town
Starting Sunday, there will be at least three other local forums this week designed to let voters express their views or hear more about the arguments for and against the marriage amendment.
• Sunday at 4 p.m., Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, 3400 Beatties Ford Road, will hold a community forum in its conference center. The Rev. Clifford Jones Sr., will host the event, and the moderator will be Mecklenburg Superior Court Judge Yvonne Mims Evans. Details: email@example.com.
• Tuesday at 7 p.m., three community groups will sponsor a dialogue that’s being called “Can We Talk and Listen to One Another? About the Proposed Amendment to the N.C. Constitution. What’s at Stake?” The event will be held in the Queens Sports Complex, 2229 Tyvola Road. The co-sponsors: Mecklenburg Ministries, Community Building Initiative and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Community Relations Committee. RSVP: 704-336-2424; firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Saturday, 1-4 p.m., St. Patrick Cathedral, 1621 Dilworth Road East, will offer a symposium on marriage for those interested in the Catholic Church’s teaching on marriage and how it relates to the May 8 vote on the amendment.