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.

FILED UNDER: 2012 Election, Gender Issues, US Politics, , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Let’s be clear. Not only did they approve a same sex marriage ban; they also approved a civil unions ban. That ban applies equally to gay and straight people.


  2. Moosebreath says:

    ” 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.”

    I suspect not. I don’t recall what else was on the NC ballot tonight, but there was a contested Democratic primary for Governor, and I don’t recall a contested Republican one. If so, this means more Democrats would come out tonight than Republicans, as opposed to in November, when both will be out in force.

  3. Tillman says:

    There’s just no sense in this at all. The Speaker of the House even admitted it’ll be repealed in twenty years.

    Got an eyeful of the celebrating “defenders” of marriage on TV, and now I’m just sickened.

    You know what the worst thing is? All of the people telling me to vote against were people I knew for a fact didn’t vote in 2010, including a (I shit you not) revolutionary communist cousin. Where the hell were they in 2010 when these jackasses got elected?

    I’m tempted to take out an awful lot of vitriol on this comment section, but that’d just be wasting mine and everyone’s time.

  4. Gustopher says:

    Well, we can always count on the slave states for moral guidance.

  5. Russell says:

    I wonder if, in the end, this travesty will actually serve to forward the cause of marriage equality. When it is brought home to a (reportedly) large number of heterosexual non-married households just how damaging lack of official relationship status can be perhaps minds will change, if not in NC then elsewhere.

    Or it will be a banner year for marriage licenses….

  6. Joseph Mucia says:

    The North Carolina amendment declares that “marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state.”

    I don’t see how this even comes close to meeting U.S. Constitutional requirements:

    Article IV: Section I: Full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state. And the Congress may by general laws prescribe the manner in which such acts, records, and proceedings shall be proved, and the effect thereof.

  7. Franklin says:

    Very disappointing. I thought the equality train was coming in, not going out.