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Marriage amendment supporters rally in Wilson

Posted April 4, 2012
Updated April 5, 2012

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— More than 50 pastors and church groups rallied in Wilson Wednesday in support of a proposed constitutional amendment that would define marriage between a man and a woman as the only legally recognized domestic union in North Carolina.

The issue goes to voters on May 8.

"If we do not pass this amendment in North Carolina, schools will be teaching from the gay agenda to your children and mine in the public schools," said Rev. Donnie Price, pastor of Rosebud Baptist Church in Wilson. "Our public school systems would have no choice but to teach a pro-homosexual agenda, and that would be very detrimental to the families of North Carolina."

Price and others in the group say the Bible defines marriage as being between a man and a woman, and that's why they support adding that same definition to the state constitution.

Same-sex marriage is already against the law in the state, but supporters say the amendment would prevent an activist judge from changing the marriage definition.

Opponents argue that the amendment would have consequences beyond just keeping gay marriage illegal. They say it would also strip hospital visitation and health care rights of all unmarried couples.

Mary Gray says she goes to church but opposes the amendment.

"(My position) is more of a rights stance and that the love of God should not be limited to certain groups," she said. "This will exclude a lot of people, not just gay couples. It affects heterosexual couples, unmarried people, single parents with children. The ramifications just reach a long way."

"God loves everybody, and we shouldn't exclude anybody from rights," she added.

A.J. Verricchia, of Nash County, disagrees.

"It has nothing to do with love. It has to do with what the Bible teaches is moral, and that's it," he said. "There's nothing the government can tell me or nothing anybody else can tell me that would change my mind."

Wilson Amendment One rally Wilson pastors, church groups rally for marriage amendment

The public's attitude toward the proposed marriage amendment vary, according to recent polls.

An Elon University poll released Monday found six out of 10 people oppose the amendment, while 31 percent support it.

The poll, however, looks at the general population and doesn't screen for likely voters.

Among likely voters, according to a WRAL News poll two weeks ago, the amendment has broad support.

SurveyUSA found that 58 percent support the referendum, while 36 percent oppose it. Six percent remain undecided.

The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

North Carolina is the only state in the Southeast without such restrictions written into its constitution.

The marriage amendment has split the state in recent months, and has drawn national attention with President Barack Obama and the Catholic church weighing in. Obama spoke out last month against the amendment, and North Carolina's two Catholic bishops responded by calling the president's position a "disappointment."

Gov. Bev Perdue has said repeatedly that she believes marriage is between a man and woman but that she cannot support the amendment.

"I cannot look an unemployed man or woman in the eye and tell them that this amendment is more important than finding them a job," Perdue said.

Republican House Speaker Thom Tillis told WRAL News last week that he believes the amendment will pass, but he expects it to be overturned within 20 years because young people are more supportive of marriage rights for same-sex couples.

250 Comments

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  • Pepe Silvia Apr 6, 2012

    "Can anyone out there find one actual person who actually BENEFITS from amendment one passing... just one."

    There are sadly not many but a lot more than one. Taxpayers.
    - ncouterbanks69

    PROVE IT. Gay people pay taxes. Old people pay taxes. Straight people pay taxes. People from all three of those groups of tax paying individuals WILL be harmed by this. You keep yelling that there might be fraud... since when is the possibility of a handful of people using something in a negative way a reasonable excuse to keep that same thing from the other 98% of people who will use it correctly. I have no doubt that people abuse disability/workmans comp. claims every year. Does that mean that NO ONE (even those who actually need it) should be allowed to file claims.

    ANY freedom can be abused, thats no reason to deny it to others.

  • Mon Account Apr 6, 2012

    "Give us old folks a carrot, don't steal away all we hold dear to our hearts." - 1tinindian2

    You mean falling in love and marrying and starting a family? To bad not everyone is even given that chance. I'd trade what we got instead... if you're willing to have to fight against bullies, religious threats, and discrimination at every turn.

    hippa forms don't allow you to make end-of-life or any care decisions. We want marriage, not a bunch of contracts.

  • paradiselost Apr 6, 2012

    Lightfoot3: I'm not posting to get people riled up as most seem to do on this forum. I personally know a couple who were in a situation as you described where one became ill and required a hospital stay. It was a matter of the patient signing the HIPPA forms stating that her domestic partner was to be advised of circumstances of her care and visited any time she chose. As for the word marriage. Yes I'm a traditionalist and am proud of my marriage of 23 years to a wonderful woman. Give us old folks a carrot, don't steal away all we hold dear to our hearts.

  • overthink Apr 6, 2012

    oops. that should have said 2012 at the end. :)

  • overthink Apr 6, 2012

    Marriage is not a Christian-only institution. If it were, then we'd hear these same nuts screaming about Muslims, Hindus, even Athiests getting married as well.

    Bottom line, same-sex relations of any kind do not appeal to me, but I don't care if two men or two women want to marry either. It's their choice. The church can refuse to acknowledge the marriage, but they cannot dictate who can marry who as marriage is not limited to only one religion by law.

    This whole arugment comes off as another cycle of the religious oppression that led to the colonies settling here. This isn't 1612, this is 2002. Get over it.

  • Lightfoot3 Apr 6, 2012

    "What benefits are same sex partners not getting that we (traditional couples) receive?" - 1tinindian2


    This has been covered many, many times. Inheritance, legal decisions, hospital visits, etc. What's default for traditional marriage is not what's default for same-sex couples.


    "Call it anything except marriage and I'm fine with it." - 1tinindian2


    That's funny! You're upset over the actual word? Is this some copyright op trademark issue? So gay marriage doesn't affect you in any way what so ever, you just don't like their kind using that word?

  • Bendal1 Apr 6, 2012

    Well now we know where all the bigots rallied, don't we?

  • paradiselost Apr 6, 2012

    I don't see it. My employer offers the same benefits to domestic partner as to me and my spouse. What benefits are same sex partners not getting that we (traditional couples) receive? My only issue with the whole affair is the use of the word marriage. Call it anything except marriage and I'm fine with it.

  • eddieoops Apr 6, 2012

    law makers have a tendancy to attach pet projects to an ammendment they feel will pass

  • eddieoops Apr 6, 2012

    I have not read the ammendment but past history tells us that there is some hidden pork in it as with any polarizing document that has to be voted on.

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