Durham News: Opinion

The conversation Oct. 22: Martha Warner, Wendy Tanson, Rachel Preston

You do the math

Let’s see. Is it fair for citizens in our state of North Carolina to expect public servants to accurately present facts as they publicly support or oppose rulings of U.S. District Court judges? If so, we need to hold N.C. Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, speaker of the N.C. House Thom Tillis, and Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, all Republicans, accountable for misrepresenting facts surrounding the vote to ban gay marriage in N.C.

Columnist Patrick Gannon (CHN, bit.ly/1tD3nP7) reported that Forest “recalled that 61 percent of state voters voted for the 2012 constitutional amendment ‘to ensure the preservation of marriage defined as the union between one man and one woman.’” Another article reported that Speaker Phil Berger claimed that “more than 60 percent of North Carolina voters who define marriage as between one man and one woman deserve their day in court.”

News media previously informed us that 20 percent of eligible voters cast ballots on the issue of a constitutional ban on gay marriage in North Carolina. You do the math. There didn’t seem to be much discussion of the issue; and some people believed that a “yes” vote was a vote for upholding our U.S. constitutional principle of equal protection under the law. Also, Rob Christensen: our judicial branch interprets and upholds constitutional principles. The N.C. legislature belongs to another branch of government.

For those who believe gay marriage “is an affront to the Bible’s teaching,” please remember that our nation upholds the constitutional principle of separation of church and state. We also enjoy freedom of religion. We are not governed by any religion. Each individual is free to choose her/his religion (or none) but cannot impose choices on others. We value freedom!

Martha Warner

Retired high school social studies teacher


Better for business and human rights

I was so heartened to hear from a new real estate client today, a couple from California who plans to move back to North Carolina now that their marriage will be recognized by the state. As a local real estate broker in the greater Chapel Hill area, I was excited to speak with what is likely the first of many families who will opt to return to or move to the Triangle given the new recognition of their marital status.

As a member of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce, I was proud to see the organization argue so passionately against Amendment One when the referendum was proposed. The chamber eloquently noted the arguments for equality and human rights, as well as the compelling reasons from the perspective of good business. And it’s clear, with the fall of Amendment One in our state, that marriage equality will not only make the area a more attractive place for employers to do business and recruit talent, but also a more attractive place for married couples and those who wish to get married to locate, prompting an uptick in relocation to our area. Of course, as Robert Kellogg notes in his letter from Wednesday’s edition (CHN, bit.ly/1t2A5s1), much work remains to be done, including nondiscrimination in the workplace, transgender rights, and other related issues.

With marriage equality now in place and the fight continuing to extend equality to all peoples in all settings, I feel abundantly hopeful and happy that the California couple will be the first of many, many families to look to North Carolina as a new, viable place to call home.

Wendy Tanson

Chapel Hill

Wear bright colors

I am on a mission. My aunt, the much beloved Jean Fisher, did missionary work around the world, but this is a different very local engagement.

I am proposing that all the pedestrians, stroller pushers and bike riders wear safety colors – something very bright on your backpack, a scarf or hat, striping on your jacket, neon running shoes and light colored clothing. Pardon me if I sound racist, but especially if you are dark skinned, please help me out and wear bright, light colors.

We’ve had a run of misty dark mornings where I have had near misses with walkers, bikers and young moms pushing strollers – luckily I drive at the speed limit and look for you, but your odds would improve if you wore neon green or yellow safety vests. Somebody should invent a safety flagpole that sticks out 3 feet left or right of your bike and has super loud horn alarm if touched. Put some neon flagging on it while you are at it, and this former grammar school safety patrol officer will be much happier.

No more needless deaths on our streets!

Rachel Preston