President Obama “does not support” an upcoming measure on the ballot in North Carolina that would constitutionally ban same-sex marriage and marriage-like unions, according to a statement issued by his campaign.
“While the president does not weigh in on every single ballot measure in every state, the record is clear that the president has long opposed divisive and discriminatory efforts to deny rights and benefits to same sex couples,” said Cameron French, the North Carolina press secretary for Obama for America. “That’s what the North Carolina ballot initiative would do — it would single out and discriminate against committed gay and lesbian couples — and that’s why the President does not support it.”
The statement, obtained by the Washington Blade and other media outlets, was first reported by the Raleigh-based News & Observer.
The ballot measure will come before voters in North Carolina on May 8 during the state’s primary. While same-sex marriage is already prohibited in the state by statute, the proposed measure would make such a ban part of the state’s constitution.
It reads, “Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State. 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 contract.”
Opponents of this amendment say this language is unclear and could also prohibit civil unions or domestic partnerships in North Carolina.
The campaign statement is an update to a response the White House gave on the amendment on the same day the legislature voted to send the measure to the electorate on Sept. 13. The statement at the time — first reported by the Washington Blade — didn’t explicitly say Obama “does not support” the measure.
“The President has long believed that gay and lesbian couples deserve the same rights and legal protections as straight couples,” said White House spokesperson Shin Inouye. “That’s why he has called for repeal of the so-called ‘Defense of Marriage Act’ and determined that his Administration would no longer defend the constitutionality of DOMA in the courts. He has also said that the states should determine for themselves how best to uphold the rights of their own citizens.
Inouye continued, “While the President does not weigh in on every single action taken by legislative bodies in our country, the record is clear that the President has long opposed divisive and discriminatory efforts to deny rights and benefits to same sex couples. The President believes strongly in stopping laws designed to take rights away.”