msnbc | May 08, 2012
>> today in north carolina , it could deal a huge blow to the national fight for marriage equality . north carolina is the only state in the south without a constitutional ban on that issue, even though it's already outlawed by statute. jeremy kennedy is campaign manager for the coalition to protect all north carolina families and dr. mark harris is the senior pastor of first baptist church and a member of the executive committee of "vote for marriage n.c." jeremy , i want to start with you. as we've been researching this, we're learning that both of the organizations have thrown a lot of money at this issue. the coalition to protect n.c. families has spent $457,000 compared to $230,000 on tv ads by vote for marriage nc. despite all that, there is talk that same-sex marriage advocates have given up this fight. what is your prediction for what's going to happen today after the vote?
>> well, i honestly think that anything could happen today after the vote. what we've been saying all along is this electorate is anything but likely. a lot of the public polling we've seen on this issue is only of likely primary voters. what we saw come out of the early vote period is that over 500,000 voters in north carolina have already cast a ballot. that means that the turnout for this election is going to be almost double, which is historic for an election in north carolina . and we think that within those voter that is we tend to have an edge here. i think that tonight after the polls close that we still have an opportunity for what many would consider a great upset.
>> dr. harris, your organization is against marriage equality , also is against civil unions . is there anything that you would say is fair for lgbt protections in way of laws for the state of north carolina that you do support?
>> well, i think that we recognize in our state that whether you're lgbt or whether you're straight, right now, everyone enjoys the freedoms and the rights here in our state and they're free to involve themselves in private ceremonies, free to do anything they want to do. this amendment is really more about that. it's more about marriage and what marriage is, the covenant of marriage itself. and so that's what we're standing on today.
>> doctor, without religious references, what is your argument?
>> well, i would first of all say i'm not sure you can say it without religious arguments because i think -- or references because i think first of all everyone agrees that when you look at marriage, marriage itself is a spiritual principle. god himself defined marriage. he tells us that in the bible in genesis 2 :24. but there's another reason we stand for it and the very sensible reason that we need this constitution amendment is because far too often we've seen activist judges and other states in our country, we've also seen legislatures that all of a sudden the pendulum had swung and very quickly by vote of those legislatures or by the stroke of a pen of an activist judge, we have seen some states have same-sex marriage become the law. and we believe it's critical to have a constitutional amendment in order to solidify that marriage will be between a man and a woman in the state of north carolina .
>> as you talk about the fact that there really is no reason to talk about this without religious referencing, in the bible , though, jesus says nothing about homosexuality, dr. harris. there are thoughts about what is said and as you talk about the bible . in matthew, judge not lest you be judged. and in mark, love your neighbor as yourself. do you think it's fair for religious leaders to cherry-pick certain things from the bible to hold up, like they would in the argument against marriage equality but yet there is nothing being done to put a constitutional amendment in north carolina 's constitution about adultery or divorce?
>> well, let me first of all say that it is a misstatement to say that jesus never addressed the issue of marriage and actually homosexuality. in the same gospel of matthew that you just referenced in the 19th chapter, jesus was asked a question. in reference to that question, he went back to general chapter 2 and said, have you not read that the one who cated created them male and female? and he also quoted the genesis reference, jesus did wrshgs he said a man would leave his father and mother and a woman would leave her home and the two shall become one flesh. we believe that's what marriage is. and, in fact, jesus did speak to that.
>> also in the bible , it talks about stoning for adultery. it talks about death to children who curse against their parents. again, i get back to the argument about cherry-picking from the bible . there is certain evolution that's involved in the way the bible has been interpreted and we certainly don't do everything the bible says, even down to mixed fibers or being with an unclean woman. how do you say the state of north carolina needs this type of marriage protection instituted into its constitution when the state already prohibits this type of marriage equality in the first place?
>> well, you make a great point, this issue is bigger than just the theological because there are very practical governmental issues here. we do have a statute that was put in place in 1996 . but as i mentioned earlier, we've seen activist judges who have cost statutes aside very swiftly. we've also seen where those decisions were made either by those judges or by the legislatures. the constitutional amendment keeps this issue in the hands of the people. that, to me, is the most important aspect of this whole thing. the citizens of north carolina are going to the polls today because they're getting an opportunity to vote on a simple statement that says that marriage between a man and a woman will be the only recognized domestic union in this state. it's really that simple. and we're having an opportunity today to let the people decide democracy at its best.
>> jeremy f amendment one does go ahead and pass, what do you think that type of message sends to the rest of the country about the potential for marriage equality in other states?
>> well, what we've been saying all along, thomas, is that this campaign is actually not about marriage. and although our opposition has made it about marriage, if this amendment passes or fails tonight, marriage in north carolina does not change. as we've already talked about, same-sex marriage is already prohibited by statute in the state of north carolina . and that doesn't change tonight. but what does change is that the localities in north carolina that already offer domestic partnership benefits to its public employees will be hindered from doing so. and beyond that, we know this could put domestic violence laws in jeopardy of being overturned by lower courts. we've seen it happen in other states. to say this amendment is just about marriage is false information.
>> we're going to continue to watch and see how things play out today in north carolina . dr. mark harris , jeremy kennedy, thank you so much. appreciate your time.