Panel Discussion on Amendment 1 & Same Sex Marriage in NC

The Center for Women, Ethics and Public Life at Meredith College will host a panel discussion titled Amendment 1: Religious and Political Dimensions of Same Sex Marriage in North Carolina.

The panel discussion will be held on Monday, March 26, 2012, at 7 p.m. in Jones Auditorium. This event is free and open to the public. For Meredith students, the panel discussion qualifies as an Academic/Cultural Event for General Education credit.

On May 8, 2012 N.C. voters will have the choice to amend the state constitution to read:

Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State. This section does not prohibit a private party from entering into contracts with another private party; nor does this section prohibit courts from adjudicating the rights of private parties pursuant to such contracts.

If passed, Amendment 1 will change North Carolina’s constitution to recognize only heterosexual marriages and deny recognition to any same sex marriages or domestic partnerships. Opponents of the measure argue that the LBGT community should have equal civil rights under the law, that the amendment is unnecessary because there is already a state law prohibiting same sex marriages, and that the language of the amendment could be used to deny benefits to heterosexual families. Proponents of Amendment 1 argue that marriage should be between a man and a woman only and that this change would prevent a judge from overturning the already existing ban on same sex marriage in North Carolina.

Panelists from all sides of the issue will speak about the legal and religious dimensions of same sex marriage and Amendment 1. Our speakers include Maxine Eichner from the UNC Law School, Nancy Petty from Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, Anthony Biller of Coats and Benner, P.L.L.C., and Patrick Wooden of Upper Room Church in Christ. The panel will be moderated by Meredith College Assistant Professor of Religious and Ethical Studies Steven A. Benko.

The mission of the Meredith College Center for Women, Ethics and Public Life is to lead the College and the community in the pursuit of ethical inquiry, reflection, decision-making, and action; the mission of the Center is to challenge students, faculty, staff and the community to explore the complex ethical dimensions of contemporary issues in our personal and professional lives. To this end, the Center unites academic learning with community outreach and civic engagement to prepare women for lives as confident and committed leaders and advocates for change.

In the past, the Center has organized panels on capital punishment, abortion, immigration, economics and school redistricting in Wake County. This panel presentation continues the Center's and College's commitment to confront difficult and challenging moral issues in an open and civil atmosphere that respects the reasoned opinions of all parties.

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Melyssa Allen
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