Openly-gay Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes has condemned a planned North Carolina constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage, civil unions and domestic partner benefits for gay couples in that US state.
“Growing up in a conservative atmosphere in Hickory, North Carolina, I felt first-hand the stigma of being different in a Southern state — a feeling that made it clear to me that I was not welcome in North Carolina,” said Hughes in an open letter to the North Carolina General Assembly.
He added: “The proposed discriminatory legislation will only perpetuate this stigma for a new generation of creative, talented youth, uninterested in second-class citizenship in a state they call home.”
Hughes called on legislators to accord gay and lesbian North Carolinians the same treatment as every other citizen as they “work hard, contribute to society, and want to protect their families like everyone else”.
The measure was also condemned by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
It urged the North Carolina General Assembly “to reject the so-called same sex amendment and any other present or future proposals of constitutional amendments that would permanently deprive any person in our great state of his or her inalienable rights”.
Despite these efforts, the amendment was passed by the North Carolina House of Representatives 75-42 on Monday. It will next be heard in the Senate where it is also expected to pass.
This will then place the amendment on the ballot for a referendum by the state’s voters next year.