RALEIGH- Vote FOR Marriage and religious leaders have said passing the North Carolina Marriage Protection Amendment would uphold the sanctity of marriage.
The Coalition to Protect All NC Families have said passing Amendment One could strip domestic partners of their health care benefits, endanger a child of an unmarried parent’s health coverage, and put single women at risk under current domestic violence laws.
But North Carolina lawyers say both sides have left out the real issue, the sanctity of divorce. The United North Carolina Lawyers Association (UNCLA) on Friday released a statement in support of Amendment One.
“Divorce has allowed North Carolina citizens to undue their poor sense of judgement for years. Call it a mulligan on that ’till death do us part’ part. Amendment One preserves that mulligan for years to come,” the UNCLA release stated.
The release signed by over 100 North Carolina lawyers goes on to say, “The way North Carolina residents divorce is currently under attack and passing the Marriage Protection Act is a way to preserve divorce as God intended it.”
The UNCLA is worried if Amendment One does not pass that will leave the door open for gay marriage in North Carolina and that does not bode well for divorce. The UNCLA points to data from the Census Bureau that indicates divorce rates are lower in states that allow gay marriage. The UNCLA is worried gay marriage would also drive down the divorce rate in North Carolina.
“Look North Carolina has a proud tradition of divorce. In fact we divorce at higher rates than most of the United States,” said Jack McCoy, a Raleigh based divorce attorney. “States that have gay marriage tend to have low divorce rates. Do you really want the divorce rate to go down? That’s bad for business. Nobody is thinking about the real victims in this, which is North Carolina lawyers and their families.”
The UNCLA explains Amendment One is not about gay rights or how God defined marriage. Amendment One, for the UNCLA, is an economic issue. The average cost of a contested divorce in North Carolina range from $8,187 to $132,600. With North Carolina divorce lawyers charging $125 to $350 per hour and accountants charging $125 to $350 per hour, the UNCLA says divorce is a staple of the North Carolina economy.
“If all of a sudden because of gay marriage nobody wants to get a divorce, that puts a lot of lawyers out of work. The last thing you want to do in a down economy is put more people out of work,” said McCoy. “Sure when people hear divorce it initially sounds bad. But the truth is divorce feeds my kids and thousands of other lawyers kids across the state. Is gay marraige worth thousands of kids going to bed on an empty stomach?”
According to the UNCLA failing to pass Amendment One would not only lower divorce rates but also make North Carolina smarter. The UNCLA points to a 2009 University of Florida study that found for every additional one percent of a given county’s population with a bachelor’s degree, there was a nearly equal decrease in support for an amendment that would have enacted a gay marriage ban. The UNCLA also cited data from the Census Bureau’s 2009 American Communities Survey, of the 10 states with the highest rates of residents 25 and older with bachelor’s degrees or higher, seven allow or recognize gay marriage.
“Look let’s be real. We make money off of dumb people. We don’t like the fact that states with gay marriage tend to have a population with a large amount of college degrees. Keep North Carolina dumb,” said McCoy. “Besides do you really want North Carolina to be full of snobby people walking around with college degrees? Who needs a college degree? Bill Gates didn’t get a college degree.”