Amendment 1, the proposed Constitutional ban on gay marriage and civil unions (the latter for both gay and straight people), was overwhelmingly approved by North Carolina voters on Tuesday. MSNBC reports the preliminary tallies indicate that it was approved by 60% of the voters. The state had banned same sex marriage since 1996 but proponents were fearful that "activist" judges or "activist" legislatures would "impose" marriage equality on the state. MSNBC reports:
North Carolina voters approved a constitutional amendment Tuesday night banning gay marriage and – going a step further than most other states with an anti-gay marriage amendment – scrapping civil unions for gay and straight couples.
The state becomes the last southern state to approve an anti-gay marriage amendment and joins 30 others with similar measures.
Al Jazeera reports that North Carolina has a large evangelical Christian population which came out to vote. One Christian voter told the news agency, "We want to keep God first in the state of North Carolina."
Jeremy Kennedy of the Coalition to Protect All Families told Al Jazeera, "I think it's really, really scary when we start putting our legislation in the hands of one religious group."
The National Organization for Marriage is pleased with the results, writing in a press release:
The vote of more than 60% in favor of the amendment was an overwhelming endorsement of traditional marriage in this critical swing state.
"We commend North Carolina voters for passing the Marriage Protection Amendment, becoming the 31st state to adopt a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman," said Brian Brown, NOM's president. "So much for the idea being promulgated by the media and the elite that same-sex marriage is inevitable. Just the other day, gay activists were predicting victory in North Carolina, but instead marriage won an overwhelming victory."
NOM played a major role in the passage of the North Carolina marriage amendment. NOM contributed $425,000 directly to the campaign and raised countless additional funds for the effort. Brian Brown served on the campaign's Executive Committee and NOM National Political Director Frank Schubert managed the campaign through his firm, Mission Public Affairs.
"It should not go unnoticed that our position that marriage is between a man and a woman is gaining support, not losing support," said Brown. "Earlier this week the Gallup poll showed that support for same-sex marriage is down. Actual vote percentages in favor of traditional marriage are rising. In 2008 in California, the Prop 8 constitutional amendment on traditional marriage passed with 52% of the vote. Then in 2009 in Maine, 53% of voters stood for traditional marriage and rejected same-sex marriage legislation. In 2010, 56% of Iowa voters rejected three Supreme Court judges who had imposed gay marriage in that state. And now more than 60% of North Carolina voters have passed a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. There is a clear trend line, and it is moving in our direction."
The Family Research Council also applauded North Carolina voters. According to its president, Tony Perkins:
At every opportunity, the American people have demonstrated a deep appreciation for the unique benefits that marriage between a man and a woman brings to families and society. They recognize that marriage is the only kind of union that results in natural procreation and keeps a mother and father together to raise the children produced by their union.
This overwhelming support for marriage is clearly the reason why President Obama and liberal congressional candidates across the country have not expressed open support for same-sex marriage. They know that redefining marriage remains a losing position in mainstream American politics.