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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, April 27, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 17
North Carolina to vote on marriage amendment May 8
Section One
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North Carolina to vote on marriage amendment May 8

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

North Carolina voters will decide on May 8 whether to ban same-sex marriage, civil unions, domestic partnerships, and almost every other possible human relationship when they vote on a proposed constitutional amendment.

Amendment One, as the proposal is called, would add a new 'Section 6' to the North Carolina constitution. 'Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state,' the new section would say.

'This section does not prohibit a private party from entering into contracts with another private party; nor does this section prohibit courts from adjudicating the rights of private parties pursuant to such contracts.'

President Obama announced last month that he opposes the amendment. Newt Gingrich, on the other hand, said on April 24 that he supports it.

Most polls show that North Carolina voters are ready to pass the amendment, but also that many voters do not understand the implications.

The latest PPP poll, released April 24, shows that 54% of respondents favor the measure, a drop of 4% from previous polling. Forty percent of respondents said they opposed the amendment, up from 38% in previous polls.

Black voters favor the amendment two-to-one, and even Democratic primary voters are split evenly. The poll's margin of error is 2.9%.

Voters are still confused about Amendment One, however. Ten percent erroneously believe it legalizes same-sex marriage and another 27% said they are unsure what it would do.

Previous PPP polling showed the proposed amendment winning 58%-38%. A Survey USA poll, taken at about the same time, showed a margin of victory of 58%-36%.

In contrast, an Elon University poll showed voters rejecting the amendment by a margin of 62%-31%.

Observers explained the radical difference between the Elon results and those generated by the other polls by the difference in how pollsters asked the question.

While PPP and Survey USA simply read the text of the amendment and asked if respondents supported or opposed it, Elon, asked a more explanatory question:

'Would you support or oppose an amendment to the North Carolina Constitution that would prevent any same-sex marriages, domestic partnerships, or civil unions?'

Elon also polled far fewer respondents - only 534 as opposed to 1,191 surveyed by PPP and 1,001 by Survey USA.

Protect All North Carolina Families, the coalition fighting Amendment One, put up its first two TV ads on April 24. Both ads highlight how the amendment would hurt children.

One ad features a woman concerned over the possibly of losing health insurance for her daughter.

'My fear with Amendment One is that my daughter would lose her health insurance. And that she would lose it immediately simply because we're unmarried,' she says, referring to her off-screen same-sex partner. 'And that's really unfair and it is completely arbitrary.'

In the second ad, a woman fears the amendment would invalidate the protective order she took out against her abusive boyfriend, putting herself and her daughter at risk.

'And that would not only put my life in danger but it would put my daughter's life in danger,' she says. 'It makes me feel like I'm being victimized all over again.'

Dozens of Christian pastors have also publicly opposed to the amendment, saying that it runs counter to Christian principles of justice and fairness, and would harm children.

Jay Bakker, the son of evangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, is scheduled to headline a faith-centered rally in opposition to the amendment April 29 in Durham, which will include a march to cast early ballots.

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