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Winston-Salem council considers taking position on Amendment 1

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- The debate over Amendment 1 is one that some local government leaders are taking a stand on.

North Carolina law already prohibits same-sex marriage, but proponents say a constitutional amendment would make it much more difficult to fight in court, while those opposed believe it could hurt families health insurance and domestic violence victims.

"It will take away health care benefits from families receiving them from an unmarried partner," said Winston-Salem city councilman Dan Besse.

In a memo, Winston-Salem city attorney Angela Carmon told the city manager and city council that she believes if Amendment 1 passes, the city may not be able to extend health benefits to the domestic partners of its employees.

Carmon also wrote in the memo that the amendment has some undefined terms, saying "there is reason to be concerned about the potential impact the amendment could have on domestic violence protections."

Winston-Salem residents spoke out on both sides of the issue in council chambers Monday night.

"I just want for someday for every citizen to be able to marry the one they love," said city resident Bob Burwell, who is opposed to the amendment.

"This has been legal law since 1813. If the law was this bad they, should've done something about it when the house, senate and governor were all controlled by Democrats," said Patty Clinemyer, who is for the amendment.

Winston-Salem city council voted to put a resolution against Amendment One on the agenda of their May 7 meeting. That's the day before the state primary.