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Law professors debate the amendment’s effects

You could call it a battle of dueling academics.

The stand-off started with a report produced by family law professors at the University of North Carolina School of Law, which argued that Amendment One was vaguely worded and that it could cause major, unexpected ramifications for several areas of family law beyond same-sex marriage.

That led to a rebuttal by three family law professors from Campbell School of Law, who argued that the report was poorly reasoned because judges could easily figure out the intent of the amendment and apply it narrowly to same-sex marriage.

Now comes the latest salvo: a statement signed by law professors at all seven of the state’s law schools supporting the idea that the amendment could be interpreted so broadly as to have significant, unpredictable effects in other areas.

The amendment “threatens a range of other protections for unmarried partners and their children, including domestic violence protections and child custody law,” according to the statement released April 20. “In our view, this disagreement simply underscores the fact that Amendment One is vaguely worded and that it is not possible to know how broadly it will eventually be construed.”

The statement is signed by eleven attorneys representing all seven schools, including two of the authors of the original UNC report.

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