Under the Dome

Dome: Thom Tillis sees marriage ban approved, then repealed

cjarvis@newsobserver.comMarch 28, 2012 

If the marriage amendment passes it will eventually be repealed. Sound like rhetoric from the opposition? Nope, that’s what state House Speaker Thom Tillis, Republican from Mecklenburg, told a small student audience Monday at N.C. State University.

To be fair, Tillis wasn’t talking about the merits of the proposed amendment, which he supports. He predicted that if it passes it would be repealed within 20 years.

His point was that political sentiment changes over time. Point of fact: The General Assembly changed hands last year, giving conservatives the power to put the ban against same-sex marriage and civil unions before voters.

Some polling shows the amendment would pass with a slim margin. But in a generation, Tillis said, that could change.

The NCSU student newspaper The Technician first reported his remarks Monday night. On Tuesday, they hit the Twittersphere with lots of hyperventilating.

Jeremy Kennedy, campaign manager for the anti-amendment Protect All N.C. Families, issued this comment Tuesday afternoon:

“Thom Tillis’ statement reveals not only the growing opposition to Amendment One, but also that even its primary proponent is now having second thoughts about the necessity and longevity of this constitutional rewrite. Our question is then, ‘Why would you strip kids of their health care, threaten domestic violence protections, and muddy parental rights to their children – all in a last ditch effort to codify a poorly written measure that future generations will be forced clean up?’ ”

Hood opposes ban

The marriage amendment also has been on the mind of John Hood, president of the conservative John Locke Foundation.

In a recent column, Hood writes that neither the foundation nor he personally get involved in social issues, focusing on fiscal and economic matters. But he decided to make an exception after a freelance contributor to the foundation’s Charlotte blog wrote an offensive post attacking President Barack Obama’s stance against the amendment.

“As it happens,” Hood writes, “JLF (John Locke Foundation) staffers and contributors have a wide range of views on social issues, including the marriage amendment. Some support it, based on a heartfelt moral or religious convictions. Others oppose it, including me.

“I think amending North Carolina’s constitution to forbid gay and lesbian couples from receiving any future legal recognition, including civil unions, is unwise and unfair,” Hood writes. “In my opinion the real threat to marriage is not the prospect of gay people getting hitched. It is the reality of straight people too quickly resorting to divorce, or never getting hitched in the first place.”

Hood then goes on to say he thinks the amendment will pass and calls for a civil discourse on the issue.

The Locke Foundation is a Raleigh-based think tank started by Raleigh businessman Art Pope. It has long had small-government, libertarian leanings.

Tedesco misses meeting

Wake County school board member John Tedesco skipped Tuesday’s board meeting to attend a debate for his bid for state schools superintendent.

At the start of Tuesday’s work session, Chairman Kevin Hill said Tedesco expressed his regrets that he couldn’t come because of a previous commitment. That commitment was a Council of State debate for Republican Primary candidates in Winston-Salem sponsored by the Forsyth County Republican Men’s Club, N.C. Tea Party and Wake Forest College.

“I will be at the Council of State debate. You can watch it streaming live,” Tedesco posted on his Facebook page. “Unfortunately for me, our new Chairman Mr. Hill scheduled a special called meeting after I already committed to the debate, so I will be missing my first school board meeting.”

Fellow Wake County school board member Deborah Goldman, who is a Republican candidate for State Auditor, was at the school board meeting.

Staff writers Craig Jarvis, Rob Christensen and Keung Hui

cjarvis@newsobserver.com or 919-829-4576

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