FRANKLIN, N.C. — Yet another North Carolina Republican has admitted the anti-LGBT state constitutional amendment approved for the May 8, 2012, ballot by lawmakers in September makes him uncomfortable.


Speaking at a town hall event in his district last week, freshman Republican state Sen. Jim Davis expressed concern over the amendment and admitted the vote was a difficult one for him.

Davis, who ultimately did vote for the measure, said it would “restrict [LGBT citizens’] freedoms a little more beyond my comfort zone.”

“I have a lot of libertarian in me,” he said, according to The Macon County News writer Chad Simons. “I believe firmly, passionately that a marriage should be defined as being between one man and one woman. But I also believe with all my heart that in a free America people who choose to live a different lifestyle should have a legal right to do so. Just don’t call it marriage.”

The comments follow similar statements recently made by and North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis.  Additionally, U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-Dunn, has said she’ll vote against the amendment in May.

Davis’ comments weren’t all positive, though. He compared gays and lesbians to people who smoke and said gays have “unhealthy habits.”

Davis’ comments are reprinted in their entirety below.

The anti-LGBT amendment has been described by opponents as the most “far-reaching” legislation of its type across the country. Thirty other states have approved similar measures, but North Carolina’s version would ban recognition of all marriages, civil unions and domestic partnerships for same-sex couples.

Stuart Campbell, executive director of the statewide LGBT advocacy group Equality North Carolina, has said the amendment will threaten even basic protections afforded to non-married couples, gay and straight alike.

“This amendment would not only permanently foreclose marriage, civil unions and domestic partnerships for our families, it would also deny them any other measure of protections, large or small — a cruel punishment particularly in these tough economic times,” Campbell said this week, adding that domestic violence protections and child custody agreements could also come under scrutiny.

Davis’ full remarks

As reported by The Macon County News writer Chad Simons:

When asked about compromising on tough votes, Davis commented that his vote in support of the gay marriage ballot initiative made him somewhat uneasy. “I have a lot of libertarian in me,” he said. “I believe firmly, passionately that a marriage should be defined as being between one man and one woman. But I also believe with all my heart that in a free America people who choose to live a different lifestyle should have a legal right to do so. Just don’t call it marriage,” said Davis. He explained that the gay marriage amendment that will be on the ballot next May will “restrict their freedoms a little more beyond my comfort zone,” he said.

“The marriage amendment is so important because these gay and lesbian, transgender people want moral equivalence to a heterosexual marriage, and it never can be in my opinion. A heterosexual marriage is the bedrock of our society. I feel passionately about that, but I don’t think we need to restrict the rights of people who do not choose to live our lifestyles,” said Davis. The senator used a similar argument when talking about people who choose to smoke cigarettes and live sedentary lifestyles, arguing that people should have the liberty to live as they see fit, but they should pay higher insurance premiums to compensate for their unhealthy habits.

Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.

4 replies on “Republican says anti-LGBT amendment makes him uneasy”

  1. On thing always strikes me in such remarks, which is, what is “our lifestyle?”

    No, I dont mean what is the gay lifestyle, but when republicans speak about their lifestyle, what are they really saying? And, moreover, how many of their constituents would feel represented by that?

    Not to mention, one of the biggest things missing from the debate on gay marriage is the clarification on all sides that we are asking for marriage RIGHTS not marriage RITES. Thank you history for using the common word marriage in both to forever complicate this issue. If only someone had known, right? A marriage rite, as with all other rites, are a religious practice. No one is asking to force religions to redefine their rites. Each religion can freely define the requirements of their rites as they choose. But as for rights granted to two consenting adults under the law, I often wonder, can we ever get the conversation out of the pulpit and into mainstreet? Because what anti-gay marriage amendments are effectively doing at this point is creating a legal definition that equates marriage rights and marriage rites as being one and the same.

  2. This annoys me to no end. How nice of Davis to admit to a few doubts. After the fact. If he is truly libertarian or had any moral compass at all he would have had the guts to vote against the bill. Instead fully aware of the hetero privilege that gives him immunity to this discrimination he deigns to feel a “little” badly for us. Not badly enough to vote against the amendment in May though.

    I wish Davis had just kept his mouth shut and not commented at all.

  3. I had no idea this legislation even existed.
    I just don’t get where these folks are coming from. Children are starving. People are begging for jobs. AIDS remains epidemic. I can hold the middle class in the palm of my hand. Social Security becomes more and more a myth each day. And DO NOT get me started on these “wars” or the care of today’s Veterans . . .
    Yet controlling the “gay issue” . . . the “GLBT issue” . . . it finds itself on the A list with abortion, intelligent design v. evolution and putting prayer back in school, passing laws giving citizens even less rights (S 1867 sponsored by McCain). This is what is critical?
    I don’t get the logic behind this.

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