Backers of Amendment 1 pray during a rally at the state Capitol in Raleigh. (Allen Breed / Associated…)
North Carolina’s Amendment One, which would define marriage as strictly between one man and one woman in the state’s constitution, finally goes before voters Tuesday following months of fighting for and against the proposal.
The amendment, which would ban not only gay marriage but also civil unions and domestic partnerships, would add constitutional weight to North Carolina’s existing ban on gay marriages.
A number of conservative and religious groups support of the bill, the most prominent being the Rev. Billy Graham, who was born in North Carolina and lives near Asheville.
“At 93, I never thought we would have to debate the definition of marriage," Graham's said in a statement published in full-page ads appearing in 14 newspapers across the state. "The Bible is clear — God's definition of marriage is between a man and a woman. I want to urge my fellow North Carolinians to vote for the marriage amendment."
The highest-profile individual standing in opposition to the amendment is former President Clinton. He lent his support to a robo-call initiative directed toward 500,000 voters Monday, paid for by Protect All N.C. Families, which framed the amendment not just as a threat to individual freedoms, but to the state’s economy.
“If it passes, it won’t change North Carolina’s law on marriage,” Clinton said. “What it will change is North Carolina’s ability to keep good businesses, attract new jobs and attract and keep talented entrepreneurs.”
The latest Public Policy Polling survey on Amendment One, conducted between April 20-22, found that although support for the measure has declined since the group’s surveys last year, 54% still favor the amendment, while 40% are against it. Curiously, when asked about whether they would vote for Amendment One if they knew it would lead to a ban of both gay marriage and civil unions, 46% of North Carolinians would vote against it, compared to 38% for.
As just a sample of some of the cash being funneled into the debate around Amendment One, Vote for Marriage N.C., a committee at the forefront of the pro-amendment side, as of April 30 had raised $2.26 million, while the Coalition to Protect N.C. families, which is against the amendment, has raised $2.12 million.
Amendment One, which was referred to a statewide ballot last year by the North Carolina House of Representatives, follows in the wake of 30 state bans on at least same sex marriage, 17 of which also ban civil unions. Florida, Arizona and California were the most recent states to have passed bans, though California’s Proposition 8 was recently deemed unconstitutional by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Original source: Constitutional same-sex marriage ban on ballot in North Carolina