msnbc News   |  April 18, 2012

North Carolina votes on marriage equality

MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts talks about Thursday’s marriage equality vote in North Carolina with Gaston County Commissioner Tracy Philbeck and Democratic Party Chairman Robert Kellogg.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

acoustic guitar: tomorrow residents say yea or nay on a constitutional amendment that if approved would describe marriage as being explicitly between a man and a woman. joining me is gaston county commissioner tracy fillbeck who supports it and robert kellogg, openly gay . north carolina is the only state in the south that has not approved, not approved the constitutional amendment banning marriage equality . as we look at the national map , there are eight states including d.c. that have aprooufd marriage equality . basically north carolina sand witched between many of those in the north. other conservative states in the south. tracy , i want to ask you first, why do you support what many consider to be to add discreme nation, dispel discrimination out in your state constitution ?

>> well, first of all, thomas, this doesn't add discrimination. it simply reinforces the statute that we have on the books already. what the opposition would like to do is redefine marriage.

>> tracy , when you talk about redefinning marriage, as you look at the almost other 20% of the country where marriage equality is legal now, are you using any examples from those sections of the country that have added problems for straight couples or heterosexual couples having a successful and loving marriage for north carolinians ?

>> i don't see any problems with those issues. at the end of the day , this vote is about reinforcing marriage between a man and a woman.

>> robert , you've protested the attempts to this ban. what skinld of support have you been seeing within this the state of north carolina to the opposition?

>> there is a growing support across north carolina and on a local level. let me just say real quickly if this amendment does pass it will have far-reaching consequences and not just gays and lesbians but for all families in north carolina . this will be an attack on families that will -- that are not traditional families. elderly couples who live together because they can't make ends meet, women who have orders of protection against abusive partners. children who have health care domestic partner benefits where they are offered in their places of employment. this has far reaching circumstances for north carolina far beyond the gay and lesbian issue.

>> robert , do some people see this as seeking a solution for a problem that doesn't exist?

>> it is. there's already two laws that gay marriage is not legal. this is a waste of time, a waste of effort. not needed at this time when there are so many other issues in north carolina which deserve concentration on the part of our lawmakers.

>> tracey, prior to this interview, you have said about the issue itself, about marriage equality , and this is your quote, all i know is marriage between -- is between one man and one woman. a simple concept i don't think you have to complicate it. from your perspective, why do you see marriage equality as a complication instead of another pillar for inclusion for american families?

>> well, let's be clear. the marriage protection amendment is about one thing. it's about reinforcing it marriage between one man and one woman. what robert would like to tell you that it's going to destroy families, that it's going to destroy child custody cases as we know it. that is absolutely false. that is propaganda. at the end of the day , the marriage protection amendment is all about reinforcing what we already have on the books. historically, marriage as an institution was here before north carolina was founded. before the united states of america was founded. and this is an institution that was created by god. i as an elected official will stand up for these issues and support traditional marriage . .

>> gaston county commissioner tracfillbeck and