The following editorial appeared in the Fayetteville Observer:
North Carolina’s two U.S. senators, Thom Tillis and Richard Burr, cast a vote last week that might have surprised many observers. They were among 11 Republicans who joined Democrats in a 57-43 vote to support Social Security and veterans benefits for same-sex partners. The measure is a nonbinding budget amendment, but the message is still clear.
Neither senator has been a supporter of gay marriage. Tillis, when he was speaker of the state House, was a strong proponent of North Carolina’s ban on same-sex unions, which voters approved in 2012, though the courts have since said such laws are unconstitutional.
But last week’s vote was a matter of fairness, according to Tillis’ press secretary, Meghan Burris. “If a veteran has served our country and is in a relationship that is legally recognized by a state, the federal government – in fairness, and out of respect for the policies each state sets for itself – should apply the law the same way for each and every veteran, regardless of whether Sen. Tillis supports the decision made by another state relating to marriage.”
The senators deserve credit for putting fairness and equal protection under the law ahead of personal ideology.
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