Local/State

Anti-Amendment supporters rally in Raleigh

Monday, May 14, 2012

Almost one week the primary election, the outrage is growing over the Amendment One vote.

A group of protesters has pledged to rally and march on the 14th of every month fighting for equality for same-sex couples.

"We had to come out here and support this effort so that the whole state knows that we're not just lying down and taking this," said Thomas Passwater.

Passwater traveled from Greenville to march around downtown Raleigh with about 50 other protesters. They are from groups like Occupy Raleigh and the Equal Access Amendment Project . Those groups argue that gay couples should have the same rights to healthcare and other social benefits as opposite-sex couples.

"All these different things that come with a marriage license," said Marcia Everett, with Equal Access Amendment Project. "I mean... there's no reason that we shouldn't have it by now. This is not the stone age."

Last Tuesday, 61 percent of North Carolina voters supported Amendment One which defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman -- making that the only domestic union the state recognizes.

High school students like 17-year-old Callie Stephenson, who was too young to vote, saw the rally as a way to make an impact.

"We couldn't speak in the primary last week or the election last week," said Stephenson. "We couldn't say what we needed to say, but this is where we can, because this is where we can make our voices heard."

Sen. Kay Hagan, who blamed Republicans for using gay marriage to distract people from the state's troubled economy, stopped short of taking a hard side.

"It's an issue that the people of North Carolina have spoken on," said Hagan. "I believe it is a state's issue, and I don't think it was appropriate to limit people's rights within the constitution of North Carolina."

Organizers said the rally is being held on the 14th of the month because of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution which contains the equal protection clause.

Next month's rally will be held at the Dr. Martin Luther King Memorial Gardens in Raleigh.

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