Gay Marriage | News | North Carolina

NC Elections Official Resigns Over Anti-Gay Marriage Amendment

Sherre Toler, Director of Elections for Harnett County, NC for more than 11 years, resigned at the beginning of January because her position would not allow her to speak out against ballot efforts to amend the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage.

Flag_ncWrote Toler in an email published on Blue NC:

Unfortunately, recent actions of the North Carolina General Assembly made it impossible for me to continue as Director of Elections as speaking publicly about candidates or issues appearing on the ballot is prohibited. In September, the legislature passed a bill requiring a referendum be placed on the May, 2012 primary ballot defining marriage as a “union between a man and a woman”. I cannot and will not be a party to such actions.

If “marriage” were simply a religious institution, this would not be an issue. Different faiths are free to impose whatever moral restrictions they choose on their congregations and they in turn are free to accept or reject those restrictions. From a psychological and emotional perspective, marriage provides the individuals an opportunity to demonstrate their love for each other by committing themselves to this “special” relationship. In addition, marriage provides the participants in the relationship with a myriad of legal rights and special status, including inheritance and property rights as well as insurance and tax benefits. Marriage provides over 1000 legal rights and protections. The so-called “Defense of Marriage” Act seeks to ensure that anyone wishing to marry their partner of the same gender will be DENIED those legal rights. The broad language of the referendum could also impact private contracts between individuals, powers of attorney, and domestic partnerships, including heterosexual ones.

Slavery, discrimination and segregation represent a tremendous blight upon the great history of this country. Not so long ago, “marriage” between those of different races, particularly black and white, was prohibited by law and this ban was supported by the “Majority”. In 2011, Public Policy Polling conducted a poll of Republican voters in Mississippi and a number of them (46%) believe that not only in their opinion is interracial marriage wrong but that it should be ILLEGAL.

Only 40% indicated they believe it should be legal. There can be little doubt that if interracial marriage were put to a majority vote, some jurisdictions would outlaw those marriages as well. It is important to a free society that civil rights not be subject to a popular vote!

As a result, I am opening Lighthouse Strategies and Consulting, LLC, a political consulting business. I plan to work tirelessly over the coming months to educate North Carolina citizens on the impact of this amendment and to defeat the effort to write discrimination into the North Carolina Constitution. I will also be working to help elect progressive candidates to local, county, state and federal offices so that these types of actions by legislatures around the country will not be repeated.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stated, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” I simply could not continue in the position of Director of Elections and remain silent on this important issue.

Pam Spaulding interviews Toler at Pam's House Blend.

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  1. Wow. AWESOME statement! Now if the people of NC would just READ it and actually think it over instead of just saying "Well, the BIBLE says..." or parroting what their minister tells them to think.

    Posted by: Caliban | Jan 10, 2012 1:12:11 PM

  2. It is good and bad she resigned. Good she stood by her beliefs. Bad that she was holding a position she could possiably move up in to fight for the rights of others. It is ashamed it is 2012 and some still haven't evolved!
    Getting married within the church holds the same legal principles as say getting married at the court house. There should no recognition of the church in who you can marry. Last time I checked I do not get permission from the church to make any decision. I do what I want with who I want. This is the reality!

    Posted by: classychazy | Jan 10, 2012 1:18:12 PM

  3. What an incredibly smart and thoughtful statement and action.

    Posted by: Mimsy | Jan 10, 2012 1:24:54 PM

  4. justice should be done soon, so many ministers are hypocrites . same sex marriage should become legal just to comply with equality . love is love, and we have a voice as well we are humans as well . I demand respect

    Posted by: raineesh | Jan 10, 2012 1:43:50 PM

  5. WOW! That statement is AWESOME!

    Posted by: Coffee&Chicory | Jan 10, 2012 1:54:53 PM

  6. I usually consider myself a moderate, politically, but this woman has written the most cogent and brilliant piece ever written on the subject of our right to marry. It should be distributed as widely as possible. This is not about religion, it is about human rights.

    Posted by: Iwontgrowup | Jan 10, 2012 2:00:02 PM

  7. Sounds to me like she is moving up. Now how do we contribute to Lighthouse Strategies and Consulting?

    Posted by: rayrayj | Jan 10, 2012 2:02:42 PM

  8. Excellent.

    Posted by: Glenn I | Jan 10, 2012 2:04:51 PM

  9. She kicks ass. Her group needs as much support and exposure as it can get from all the LGBT media this year

    Posted by: DanSwon | Jan 10, 2012 2:28:08 PM

  10. What a tremendous woman. Articulate, cogent and principled. She really restores faith in humanity.

    Posted by: dazzer | Jan 10, 2012 2:39:44 PM

  11. I think I just fell in love with her...and I'm a gay man! She is awesome!

    Posted by: Jay | Jan 10, 2012 3:04:53 PM

  12. Excellent.

    Posted by: Steve | Jan 10, 2012 4:48:36 PM

  13. Good Christ, what an awesome person.

    Posted by: rafi | Jan 10, 2012 4:52:25 PM

  14. We need more friends like her.

    Posted by: MikeMick | Jan 10, 2012 5:07:11 PM

  15. What if someone declared a culture war and no one showed up??

    Posted by: anon | Jan 11, 2012 9:38:49 AM

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