District Attorneys, Law Enforcement Officials Rebut Allegations of Domestic Violence Impact of Marriage Amendment


A follow-up from yesterday's press conference hosted by Vote for Marriage NC featuring a wide array of experts rebutting the false claims spread by opponents of the Marriage Amendment:

Today, a coalition of District Attorneys, legal professionals, and other law enforcement officials sharply rebutted claims that the pending constitutional amendment on marriage would strip citizens of domestic violence protections, as is being claimed in television ads being aired by amendment opponents. The officials say such allegations are utterly false.

“I am concerned about the false and misleading claims that are being made by opponents of the Marriage Protection Amendment,” said Rockingham County District Attorney Phil Berger, Jr., Vice President of the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys. “Citizens should have no concern that the marriage amendment will impact domestic violence prosecution, because it will not.”

Berger was joined at the press conference by Jeff Hunt, District Attorney from Prosecutorial District #29B (Henderson, Polk, and Transylvania Counties), Tom Keith, former District Attorney from Prosecutorial District #21 (Forsyth County), Raven Byrne, family law attorney in Wake County, and Paul Wright, former District and Superior Court Judge. Additionally, a written statement was issued by over a dozen prosecutors and law enforcement officials that said, “The protections of North Carolina’s domestic violence statute (General Statutes 50B-1) do not depend on the marital status of the victim or her relationship to the abuser. The law very clearly provides identical protections to married spouses as they do to unmarried women or men who have shared a household with the abuser. We encourage citizens to read the easily understandable law for themselves.”

In addition to Berger, Hunt, Keith, Byrne, and Wright, signers of the statement from law enforcement officials included the following:

Locke Bell – District Attorney, Prosecutorial District #27A (Gaston County)
Wallace Bradsher – District Attorney, Prosecutorial District #09A (Caswell andPerson Counties)
Garry Frank – District Attorney, Prosecutorial District #22B (Davidson and DavieCounties)
Jay Gaither – District Attorney, Prosecutorial District #25 (Burke, Caldwell andCatawba Counties)
Terry Johnson – Sheriff, Alamance County
John Snyder – Former District Attorney, Prosecutorial District #20B (UnionCounty)
Jerry Wilson – District Attorney, Prosecutorial District #24 (Avery, Madison,Mitchell, Watauga, and Yancey Counties)
Carey Winders – Sheriff, Wayne County

“We are pleased that these leading prosecutors and law enforcement officials have stepped forward to make it clear that the Marriage Protection Amendment will have absolutely no impact on victims of domestic violence,” said Tami Fitzgerald, Chairwoman of the Vote FOR Marriage NC campaign. “But we are distressed by the wholly dishonest and false advertising campaign being waged by our opponents. There are 30 state constitutional amendments defining marriage in this country, and not one has resulted in domestic violence protections being denied to unmarried people. Our opponents have completely abandoned campaigning on the marriage issue because they know that an overwhelming majority of North Carolinians support marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Putting our existing definition of marriage into the state constitution is all the amendment does.”