The Buncombe County Commissioners approved domestic partner benefits. Translated to “Mountain” language, that means if you want some taxpayer money, you need only “shack out” with a county employee. The commissioners voted along party lines.

Public commentators made expected remarks. Listeners were instructed that the issue had nothing to do with religion, and those who claimed it did were acting out of fear and hatred. At one point, Chair David Gantt had to issue a warning to the enlightened embracers of diversity and tolerance for heckling those of differing opinions. A number of pastors spoke. One, a black woman who claimed experience on the receiving end of bigoted abuse, said her congregants didn’t have the money to pay higher taxes. Another spoke of family life as the epitome of joy for a healthy society. Marriage was a commitment to stay together through the rough times. Those who took that step deserved to be rewarded.

In the end, the verbal arguments boiled down to one side requesting equal benefits for equal work, and the other saying marriage was a huge, pro-social undertaking meriting special benefits. Reading behind the words, one side feared God and did not want the fruit of their labors to work against His commandments; the other wanted to advance the “gay rights” movement. As one observed, with Obamacare promising universal coverage, there was no financial point in the county picking up insurance tabs.

Commissioners who voted against the measure used the left-wing tactic of putting a face on the issue. They had loved ones who were gay when it was neither hip nor acceptable. They had spoken with fixed-income people putting one-fourth of their income into county property taxes. Advocates spoke of the economic impact. LGBT-friendly ordinances attract “the best and the brightest.” Most importantly, “Now was the time.”