Marriage amendment passes

Posted May 8, 2012
Updated May 9, 2012

— North Carolina voters elected to change the state constitution on Tuesday, prohibiting any union outside of a marriage between a man and a woman from being recognized in the state.

The marriage amendment captured 61 percent of the vote in unofficial results.

David McLennan, political science professor at William Peace University in Raleigh, said some of the wide margin could be attributable to confusion over the amendment.

"About 10 percent of the people polled across the last two months thought that voting for the amendment was voting for gay marriage," McLennan said. "I'm not saying that makes up all the difference. Twenty-two points is a pretty wide margin."

The amendment split the state in recent months, as many churches urged their congregations to back what they called God's definition of marriage. Amendment opponents predicted that the measure would bring a number of unintended consequences, such as weakening domestic violence protections and costing some families health coverage.

Opponents also said North Carolina couldn't afford to write discrimination into its constitution, noting many companies recognize employees' same-sex relationships.

"We are not anti-gay. We are pro-marriage," said Tami Fitzgerald, executive director of Vote For Marriage NC. told cheering supporters in Raleigh. "The whole point is simply that you don’t rewrite the nature of God’s design for marriage based on the demands of adults.”

House Majority Leader Paul Stam helped shepherd the amendment through the General Assembly last year, and he predicted that it would withstand any court challenge.

"The courts are open; people can sue," said Stam, R-Wake. "But this is a state constitutional amendment. You cannot claim a constitutional amendment violates the state constitution or a statute.”

Amendment backers cheer, foes mourn Amendment backers cheer, foes mourn

As amendment supporters celebrated by cutting into a wedding cake topped by images of a married man and woman, Fitzgerald said North Carolina has blazed a trail for other states have similar votes scheduled for November.

"Your efforts send a loud message to the country – we will not allow marriage to be redefined," she told supporters.

Meanwhile, amendment foes gathered across town in a somber recognition of their efforts.

"While we're disappointed in tonight's vote," said Jeremy Kennedy, campaign manager for Protect All NC Families, "it galvanized and mobilized people across this country in ways we never knew imaginable."

"It's OK to grieve, but I want us to leave with a sense of pride," Kennedy said.

Jill Hinton said she thinks it's unfair that her gay son has fewer rights than her other three children simply because of his sexual orientation.

"It's just disappointing to live in a state that – I love North Carolina, born and raised here – but live in a state that's willing to take people's rights away," Hinton said.

Although many black churches came out in favor of the amendment, the state chapter of the NAACP worked to defeat it. North Carolina NAACP President Rev. William Barber criticized the measure's passage.

"The voters of North Carolina were led to vote on a trick amendment that now places hate discrimination and division in our constitution, an amendment that violates the fundamental protections of equal protection under the law and sets up the precedent of majorities voting on the rights on minorities," Barber said in a statement.

Bishop Michael Burbidge of the Catholic Diocese of Raleigh, who backed the amendment, said in a statement that he now is praying that the divisions caused by the amendment can be healed and the state move forward together.


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  • BPractical May 11, 2012

    "look harder, it is not the majority of anything" soyousay

    Sure it is, because it's the majority that VOTED. The turnout rate was around 30% and in 2008 was around 37%. So, did Bev and Obama get elected by a majority? Yep, the majority that bothered to cast a vote. It's the way the system works.

  • too-obvious May 10, 2012

    how does this discriminate against blacks more that any other?
    it was a trick from the beginning.
    people should know what they are voting for. but it didn't happen in 2008, people just voted stupid

  • JustOneGodLessThanU May 10, 2012

    newsreadergirl said, “Please stay on the topic.”

    You denied the rights of one minority using the same motivation that you denied rights of a different minority. This IS the topic. It shows a pattern of bigoted discrimination using ancient folk tales.

    Since you seem to have enough justification for your modern discrimination, here is the justification used by your ancestors so you understand what we are talking about here-and-now:

    You see...they, too, had “really good reasons” and “full scriptural justification” to do what they did to the minority-of-the-day.

    This continued discrimination (against blacks, women, gays, non-believers, etc.) will only stop when people start thinking for themselves.

  • outnapex May 10, 2012

    I don't see how this how this amendment denies any rights? If you want to have a recognized union in NC marry a person of the opposite sex. If you don't want to marry the opposite sex you have denied your own right to a recognized union. You are entitled to all federal and state constitutional rights if you follow the rules. There are no rules saying you have to love the person, be a christian or anything religious. There is a separation of church and state. The only rule is, opposite sex. Follow the rules, your rights are granted. Just like felons and firearms, there are rules for rights.

  • reciprocal01 May 10, 2012

    to all of you for protecting marriage!! ...

    so when is the ban on divoreces coming?
    OH like that will happen...

    Why are these churches falling short of saying marriage is between a man and a woman ONE TIME?
    If it's truly about what god commands then why does this state recognize remarriage? bunch of hating hypocrites... that's why

  • mattjones6421 May 9, 2012

    "Yes that's right-- last time I looked 18% is greater than 12%..
    look harder, it is not the majority of anything soyousay"

    Sure it is, I didn't think I would need to explain junior high math to you as you all on the other side seem to think you have a monopoly on education--but here you go: A majority of 30% voters is 15.1%, 18% is a vast majority of the 30% vote!

    With your logic skewed logic I guess BarryO would not have won NC in 2008- since he only won 50.1% of the 30% voters...

  • newsreadergirl May 9, 2012

    Yeah...It's just like when black people got all worked up because of discriminatory laws against them. What was with that??

    Changing the subject?? Please stay on the topic.

  • needmarc May 9, 2012

    The blame for the amendment 1 mess lies with the General Assembly with our elected representatives not even debating the issue (were not allowed to by assembly leadership) and passed amendment 1 to be put on the primary ballot. Had the General Assembly functioned and done their job, the extremes of amendment 1 would most likely have been worked out. Hold the General Assembly accountable, if not happy with their job performance...then vote them out of office. After passage of amendment 1, now the debate continues to split family and friends all because amendment 1 was railroaded through the General Assembly without debate. All North Carolinians deserve better representation.

  • SnakeLady May 9, 2012

    One of my friends suggested that a whole bunch of her friends go out and they all marry a bunch of strangers "for the fun of it" and then divorce them and do it again... just to SHOW what we think of the "'sanctity' of marriage." Like a lot of Britney Spears on the loose...

  • soyousay May 9, 2012

    to all of you for protecting marriage!! ...

    so when is the ban on divoreces coming?