Harnett elections chief quits over marriage amendment

Posted January 10, 2012 3:50 p.m. EST
Updated January 10, 2012 3:52 p.m. EST

Gay marriage debate, same-sex marriage

— Harnett County's elections director has resigned her post over a proposed constitutional amendment on the May primary ballot that would ban same-sex marriage in North Carolina.

Sherre Toler resigned last week after more than 11 years in charge of elections in Harnett County. Staying in the position would prevent her from speaking out against the amendment, which would define marriage in the state as being between one man and one woman, she said.

"Marriage provides over 1,000 legal rights and protections," Toler said in a statement. "The so-called Defense of Marriage Act seeks to ensure that anyone wishing to marry their partner of the same gender will be denied those legal rights. The broad language of the referendum could also impact private contracts between individuals, powers of attorney, and domestic partnerships, including heterosexual ones."

She said she would work in the coming months to educate people about the potential impact of the amendment, which she compared to former laws prohibiting interracial marriage, and work to elect candidates who oppose the amendment.