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.”
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The senators deserve credit for putting fairness and equal protection under the law ahead of personal ideology.
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