North Carolina Voters Approve Same-Sex Marriage Ban
An electoral setback for the marriage equality forces in the Tar Heel State:
As expected, North Carolinians voted in large numbers on Tuesday for an amendment that would ban same-sex marriages, partnerships and civil unions, becoming the 30th state in the country and the last in the South to include a prohibition on gay marriage in the state constitution.
About half a million people voted early, a record for a primary in the state, and turnout on Tuesday appeared to have been unusually high for a primary as well. The amendment was on the ballot along with other party primary races, some of them closely contested.
The vote came after weeks of heated debate in church pews and over the airwaves. Over $3 million was spent on the rival campaigns, ministers formed coalitions pushing for and against passage, cities passed resolutions condemning the measure, former President Bill Clinton and the Rev. Billy Graham weighed in on opposite sides and law professors skirmished over the consequences.
North Carolina, a religious but also relatively moderate state on social issues, already has a law banning same-sex marriage. But Republican lawmakers pushed an amendment out of concern that the law was in danger of being struck down by judges.
While public opinion is shifting rapidly across the country and same-sex marriage continues to achieve legal recognition state by state, polls in North Carolina before the vote showed a narrowing but comfortable margin for passage.
An unfortunate, albeit expected, development. One suspects that the time of the vote was favorable to proponents of the measur, though. If this had been up in November, things may have turned out differently.