State News

Poll: Half of N.C. adults oppose marriage amendment

Posted March 23, 2009

— About half of North Carolina adults oppose a constitutional amendment that would prohibit same-sex marriage, according to a poll released Monday that suggests state voters may be unwilling to follow their Southern peers in approving such a ban.

The Elon University Poll, which surveyed 620 North Carolina residents from March 15 to March 19, also found a majority oppose video poker and oppose the death penalty for people under age 18. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

The poll found that 50.4 percent of respondents oppose or strongly oppose such an amendment while more than 43 percent of those in the survey said they would support or strongly support it. The remainder refused to answer the question or said the didn't know.

Hunter Bacot, Elon's poll director, said the numbers surprisingly mirror national surveys, indicating North Carolina may be more moderate than expected on the issue. About 30 states nationwide have added that prohibition to the state constitution, including California, which approved an amendment in a heated campaign last year.

"I didn't think we'd get over 50 percent," Bacot said. "In North Carolina, we are a Southern state and are generally a bit more conservative, particularly on these types of issues."

In recent years, voters in every Southern state except North Carolina have approved state constitutional amendments restricting marriage to between one man and one woman. Democratic lawmakers in North Carolina have prevented the issue from coming up for a vote, pointing to a state law that already prohibits gay marriage.

While respondents opposed the amendment, most didn't support allowing the same-sex marriages. Only 21 percent of respondents said they support full marriage rights for same-sex couples. About 28 percent said they would support civil unions or partnerships but not marriage.

About 44 percent of respondents said they oppose any legal recognition for same-sex couples.

Bacot said some respondents appear to be struggling to weigh a number of competing issues - views on religion, civil liberties and the role of government. He said that's why some are deciding that while they don't want to deny benefits with an amendment, they also don't want to encourage same-sex marriage.

"They don't mind homosexuals and homosexual activity - as long as it doesn't affect them," Bacot said.

Two bills filed in North Carolina this year pushing a constitutional amendment have been languishing in committees.

Proponents of the amendment say it would provide stronger protection of traditional marriage than the law, which states that a valid marriage is one "created by the consent of a male and female person."

On the subject of video poker, 53 percent said they are against making the games available statewide. A recent court ruling overturned a state ban on video poker, saying the General Assembly couldn't allow the games in a casino run by the Eastern Band of the Cherokee while prohibiting them elsewhere.

Regarding the death penalty, more than two-thirds of those surveyed said they opposed the death penalty for defendants under age 18. Twenty-nine percent said juveniles should never be tried as adults.


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  • judge Mar 31, 2009

    The state should not use the power of legislation in order to impose religious beliefs onto its' citizenry. The state should not pass unjust laws which discriminate against any smaller category of people. Who loses anything when adults are allowed to marry the person they love? How could that possibly threaten marriage?

  • rabidpro Mar 25, 2009

    this is g scott says..."If someone can answer my arguement with a coherent, valid response as to why two men or women can't merge in a financial union, please feel free.....".....Exactly my point...This circumstance as described, is what one commonly refers to as a 'contract'. Do away with the marriage farce completely! Since we as a society are so advanced, so sophisticated as to accept gay marriage, no marriage, 'traditional marriage', why not simply allow the requisite parties, whomever they are, or however many there may be, to contractually negotiate their specific legal relationship? It's all about love anyway, right? Make the legal details a separate matter altogether....

  • this is g scott Mar 24, 2009

    If someone can answer my arguement with a coherent, valid response as to why two men or women can't merge in a financial union, please feel free.....

  • this is g scott Mar 24, 2009

    You don't have to agree with anything about homosexuality, but it is law that every person is equal and deserves equal rights. So, homosexual couples are entitled to something equal to marriage, such as a civil union, because heterosexual couples can get married and recieve benefits from a union.

    Yes, marriages are obtained through marriage licenses, as are civil unions. As a gay man, I would have no problem with this amendment being passed IF it only pertained to the word "marriage." However, Jim Forrester not only wants the privilege of marriage to be taken away from homosexuals, but also civil unions, which is unconstitutional as we are ALL tax paying citizens.

    I am so sick of hearing this pathetic excuse of the bill being passed because of anything religion based. If this were the case, then I'm sure Christians would have a problem with people of different religious denominations getting married, and they don't.

    God did not preach hate. He preached love and acceptance.

  • haggis basher Mar 24, 2009

    "and don't force me to agree by making the government sanction your sex orientation."
    Who is asking you to agree to anything? or care if you do or don't? Just don't you lobby to make new laws depriving others of freedoms you already enjoy.

  • whatusay Mar 24, 2009

    lima33doc says it best..."I don't believe government should get involved".

    Let gays do as they please, just don't expect everyone to agree with their life style. That sums it as you please and leave the rest of us alone, and don't force me to agree by making the government sanction your sex orientation.

  • zeitghost Mar 24, 2009

    Soon our gay friends and family will be able to enjoy the benefits of marriage, it's only a matter of time.

  • lima33doc Mar 24, 2009

    That's the whole point...I have not tried to impose my beliefs on anyone. I gave my opinion. I am not trying to say that going back in time will get rid of homosexuals. My own sister is a lesbian, and I still love and support her. I have never tried to get her to change; nor do I think changing time will change who she is. I am not even looking for a Theocracy. They have been tried and don't work. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutley. I know this. People do what people do, but in my opinion, we don't need the government getting involved one way or another. Neither for or against.

  • nxtlvl4me Mar 24, 2009

    Lima33doc – What good old days are you referring to? I am seriously asking the question? I know of no one that can deny the so called morality of the past was more of a cover up and/or the rewriting of history than reality would suggest. Going back to any point in time will not change the fact that homosexuals existed or that homosexuality is not a choice.

    Also, no one is expecting you to deny your religion of your beliefs, just don’t try to impose them. As an example, I am sure you do not expect the women of your family to adhere to Lev 15 of the bible which essentially says that social contact with women should be restricted while in menstruation. Independent of the jokes which I am sure can evolve from this scripture, what would you think if I or other people tried to impose this portion of the bible on your family of NC as a whole?

    That is the problem. Not your belief or your right to believe as you choose.

  • nxtlvl4me Mar 24, 2009

    haggis basher- Whilst, I think, I am understanding and even agreeing with the broader intent of your comment, please do not categorize homosexuality, which is NOT a choice any more than being heterosexual, white, or black, or blue eyed are a choice into the same category as murderers, rapist, child abusing priest, etc, which are all acts of choice and are deemed unacceptable independent of religious background or sect.

    I certainly hope it was not your intent, but addressing the perpetuation of the lie that homosexuality is a choice is a never ending battle.