In 2009, North Carolina state legislators had the opportunity to enact a constitutional amendment declaring marriage as the union between one man and one woman. However, the Defense of Marriage Act, introduced this session in the House as HB 361 and in the Senate as SB 272, was blocked for a fifth straight session by opponents in committee.
Two-thirds of North Carolina voters support a constitutional amendment declaring that marriage is defined as one man and one woman, according to polling by the Civitas Institute. At the close of the 2009 North Carolina General Assembly long session, there is still no law on the books that reflects that desire.
Conservatives frequently complain about judicial activism on our nation’s courts and they have a valid point. Judicial activism happens when judges do not confine themselves to reasonable interpretations of laws, but instead create law. Alternatively, judicial activism also happens when courts do not limit their ruling to the dispute before them, but instead establish a new rule to apply broadly to issues not presented in the specific action.
North Carolina is the only Southern state that does not have a defense of marriage amendment included in its constitution. Without such an amendment, the state is subject to legal attacks against the institution of marriage as we know it.
The 2009 legislative session proved, yet again, that North Carolina General Assembly lawmakers refuse to hear any conservative legislation that would protect pregnant women, defend marriage and strengthen the family. Instead, legislators chose to advance an extremely liberal agenda with passage of the Healthy Youth Act and the “Bullying Bill.”
The North Carolina State Bar recently struck down changes to the North Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct that would have included “sexual orientation” in the list of protected classes. The proposed amendment stated that lawyers should not discriminate against anyone on the basis of race, gender, age or other protected status or personal characteristic. Included next to the traditional protected classes was “sexual orientation.”
An amendment added to the Senate health care reform bill last week would effectively force health insurance companies to enter into contracts with entities such as Planned Parenthood, who perform abortions. One of the most striking elements of this amendment is the sweeping powers it would grant the federal government.
Current state law (G.S. § 115C-81) mandates that all students from kindergarten to ninth grade be taught an age-appropriate “comprehensive school health education program” that includes instruction on abstinence until marriage and preventing HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Abstinence, in other words, is the expected standard for all school age children when it comes to public schools.
North Carolina currently mandates that all students from kindergarten to 9th grade be taught a “comprehensive school health education program” that includes instruction on abstinence until marriage and preventing HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). According to state law, “abstinence from sexual activity outside of marriage is the expected standard for all school-age children.”
Pro-life/pro-family initiatives not only failed to make progress during the 2007-08 biennium, but came under attack in many areas. In 2007, the General Assembly passed legislation that makes it easier to euthanize elderly and other vulnerable populations.
Does being pro-life matter anymore? After all, a pro-life agenda has almost no chance of passing this session. And, if things don’t change, pro-life legislation will continue to get buried in committee year after year, bill after pro-life bill.
Since passage of legislation to legalize the education lottery in North Carolina in 2005, gambling has been treated like other public vices. Simply put: the public tolerates smoking, drinking and gambling, but it wants the activities regulated and kept away from children. Some recent developments make me think officials at the North Carolina Education Lottery are ignoring public sentiment and are intent on creating their own rules.
Adding another bizarre twist to the death of Marine Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach, Onslow County sheriff’s investigators are trying to determine whether Lauterbach’s deceased baby was born and then killed by murder suspect Cpl. Cesar Armando Laurean. Lauterbach was due to give birth to a baby girl some time between January 8 and February 14. The crucial question is whether the baby took a breath outside of Lauterbach’s womb. If she did, Laurean may be charged with two murders – instead of just one.
Should North Carolina expand state funding of stem cell research? Sufferers of Parkinson’s disease, juvenile diabetes and other chronic diseases hope the state does so, just as they hope that embryonic stem cell (ESC) research will find a cure for their diseases. Spurred on by the fear that a failure to provide state funds would end research efforts, stem cell supporters have been pressing their case with legislators since last summer. These efforts have paid off. Earlier this year, HB 1837, “The Stem Cell Research Health and Wellness Act,” was intro- duced in the North Carolina General Assembly by Representative Earl Jones (D-Guilford) and three other legislators, in- cluding Republican Jim Gulley of Mecklenburg. The legislation would allocate $10 million to nonprofit organizations conducting stem cell research and includes specific provisions that regulate embryonic stem cell research in North Carolina.
For four years an effort to change North Carolina’s Constitution to protect the institution of marriage has languished in legislative purgatory at the General Assembly. Blocked by legislative leaders from even being heard in a committee, the marriage amendment has not seen the light of day in Raleigh despite being sponsored in the House by a majority of members this session. On Tuesday, May 22nd, The Defense of Marriage Act (HB 493) made a brief appearance in the House Rules Committee.