May 8, 2012 | by Chris Johnson
BREAKING: N.C. voters approve anti-gay amendment

Raleigh, N.C. (photo by Mark Turner via wikimedia)

Voters in North Carolina on Tuesday approved a sweeping anti-gay amendment that made a ban on same-sex marriage part of the state constitution in addition to jeopardizing other rights for gay couples.

The Associated Press called the race in the favor of the anti-gay measure, known as Amendment One, shortly after 9 p.m. Polls closed at 7:30 p.m.

According to early results, 61 percent of voters in North Carolina voted in favor of the amendment while 39 percent voted against it. Amendment One found majority support in the vast majority of counties, although a few counties voted to reject the measure: Wake, Chatham, Durham, Orange, Watauga, Mecklenburg and Buncombe.

Same-sex marriage is already barred by statute in North Carolina. But the amendment not only makes that ban part of the state constitution, it prohibits civil unions, interferes with domestic partner benefits offered by municipalities and threatens contractual arrangements between same-sex partners. The amendment’s restrictions on domestic partner benefits will likely be contested in court.

The vote on the amendment took place on the same day as the North Carolina primary, but the measure drew more attention than the presidential race because Mitt Romney has already become the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

National LGBT groups expressed disappointment with the passage of the amendment. The vote makes North Carolina the 30th state with a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, expressed disappointment, but characterized the vote as a temporary setback.

“The passage of Amendment One is a heartbreaking loss for families in North Carolina, but will not stop us in the march toward full equality,” Solmonese said. “As the country continues to move in the direction of marriage equality, our opponents have cynically interrupted the important conversations taking place which lead to increased understanding and acceptance.”

According to HRC, the organization spent just over $500,000 in the effort against Amendment One in three ways: HRC North Carolina PAC has funneled about $240,000 to the campaign; HRC itself gave about $60,000 in cash; and the group contributed about $200,000 in in-kind expenditures that was mostly staff time.

The Obama campaign also weighed in after the passage of the amendment with a statement from an official in North Carolina.

Cameron French, North Carolina press secretary for Obama for America, said the president is “disappointed” by the passage of Amendment One.

“The president has long opposed divisive and discriminatory efforts to deny rights and benefits to same-sex couples,” French said. “He believes the North Carolina measure singles out and discriminates against committed gay and lesbian couples, which is why he did not support it. President Obama has long believed that gay and lesbian couples deserve the same rights and legal protections as straight couples and is disappointed in the passage of this amendment. On a federal level, he has ended the legal defense of the Defense of Marriage Act and extended key benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees.”

Several other national LGBT groups made no direct contributions to the campaign. Freedom to Marry made no donations to the campaign as it directed $3 million in funds to battles in other states: Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Washington.

Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, emphasized his organization’s contributions to efforts to block the amendment from coming to the ballot.

“Freedom to Marry contributed to the effort to block the amendment in the legislature and offered messaging strategy and research to the campaign,” Wolfson said. “We also sent several alerts to our supporters urging them to donate directly to the campaign, even as we are deeply engaged in the lift to win ballot battles in three other states, are working to override the veto in New Jersey, and successfully led the fight to hold the freedom to marry in New Hampshire.”

Gill Action Fund also made no direct contributions, according to the most recent campaign disclosure records. The organization didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Prior to the vote, former President Bill Clinton recorded a robocall urging North Carolina residents to oppose Amendment One. According to the campaign against Amendment One, the Clinton robocall went out to 500,000 likely voters in North Carolina.

“If it passes, it won’t change North Carolina’s law on marriage,” Clinton says on the call. “What it will change is North Carolina’s ability to keep good businesses, attract new jobs, and attract and keep talented entrepreneurs. If it passes, your ability to keep those businesses, get those jobs, and get those talented entrepreneurs will be weakened. And losing even one job to Amendment One is too big of a risk.”

On the other side, evangelist Rev. Billy Graham came out in favor of the anti-gay measure and delivered a statement that was set to run in 14 North Carolina newspapers last weekend.

“At 93, I never thought we would have to debate the definition of marriage,” Graham says. “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.”

Graham continues, “Watching the moral decline of our country causes me great concern. I believe the home and marriage is the foundation of our society and must be protected.”

The level of involvement of President Obama and the Democratic National Committee has drawn mixed reaction from LGBT activists.

The DNC didn’t make a donation to the campaign against Amendment One, even though the campaign asked for funds to combat the anti-gay measure and the DNC previously made a $25,000 contribution to the fight against California’s Proposition 8 in 2008.

The Obama campaign issued a statement earlier in the month saying the president opposes divisive and discriminatory measures and “does not support” Amendment One. According to the campaign against Amendment One, that statement was the goal that organizers had sought from Obama.

But many LGBT advocates asked Obama to denounce the measure himself publicly and were disappointed that he made no mention of the measure in a speech to college students on April 24 in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Pam Spaulding, a lesbian blogger for Pam’s House Blend, expressed disappointment in the president’s failure to speak out against Amendment One publicly in an email to the Washington Blade following the speech.

“This president hasn’t exactly been known to be bold about weighing in on the Amendment; after all, his statement against Amendment One came from a NC spokesperson, not from the man himself,” Spaulding said. “It was no surprise, given the administration’s predilection for succumbing to political homophobia, or fear that being outspoken in speeches or on camera regarding LGBT issues — even on a subject he has a clear position on, such as opposing discriminatory ballot initiatives like this — usually rules the day.”

A campaign mailing dated May 7 makes no mention of Amendment One — even though it came out the day before the measure came before voters — as it called on followers to show support for Obama.

“The primary is a great opportunity to come out, meet other supporters in your area, and make your voice heard,” the mailing states. “And even though we already know that President Obama will be our nominee, it’s important that we let him know we’re standing with him, now and in November.”

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

12 Comments
  • MATTHEW RANKIN

    BANDING SAME SEX MARRIAGE IS LIKE SAYING WE DONT LIKE YOU, WE DONT WANT YOU IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD, OUR CITY, OR AROUND US.. WELL IT IS WRONG TO BAND SOMETHING THAT IS A RIGHT FOR ONE TO MARRY WHO THEY WANT, AND LIVE WHERE THEY WANT. SO TO THE STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA.. MAKE IT WITHOUT GAY WORKERS, MAKE IT WITHOUT GAYS BUILDING COMPANIES AND BRINGING MONEY INTO YOUR STATE MAKE IT WITHOUT ALL THE PEOPLE THAT OUR NOT GAY BUT BELIEVE ONE SHOULD LIVE THE WAY THEY WANT. THEN PEOPLE MOVE OUT YOUR STATE. YOUR STATE WOULD NOT MAKE IT IN THE LONG RUN…

    • 1) yes I would want you in my state 2) yes I do think you are good enough for marriage…with someone of the opposite gender 3) if 3.8% of the population of NC moves out it will not impact the local economy as severely as you assume. 4) you clearly think that there are a lot more people caught up in same sex attraction than there actually are. This is false marketing for social engineering “we’re here, we’re queer, we’re everywhere”…that kind of slogan.

  • Not much of a surprise, it is North Carolina and it is the South. Southerners like to THINK they are progresive and modern, but as this vote shows they are still living in the past. It’s sad to see so many people willing to vote to restrict the rights of others.

    • First… there is no “Gay gene”…. homosexuals are not born, they are made, a fact explained by geneticists like Dr. Neil E. Whitehead PhD in YouTube:

      Type in the search box: [ Dr. Neil Whitehead answers, "Is there a gay gene?"] [URL REMOVED]

      Dr. Neil says that even after decades of looking:“ No statistical significant gene has been found, and they even looked at the whole human Geno. The research will probably continue, but for perspective I should say this…They have found genes that are strongly with much evidence of being involved in schizophrenia, but in spite of the searches they have not found the equivalent of a gay gene as of this time…”

      Plus the large “Identical Twins Studies” in the Netherlands and Holland also prove homosexuality not to be genetic, since only less than 10% of the time if one identical twin is gay the other one is also gay, meaning 90% of the time if one is gay the other is not… in a situation were b-o-t-h beings (the twins) are genetically identical, and cooked in the mothers belly at the same time (under the same hormonal environment).

      Even England’s leading gay activist Peter Tatchell recently stated that: “Homosexuality isn’t natural. Ignore those researchers who claim to have discovered a ‘gay gene’, gay desire is not genetically determined”. (Spiked, Tuesday 24, 2008).

      Second… Homosexuality is a dysfunction, homosexuals are victims of a bad upbringing environment, and incorrect/dysfunctional upbringing, and the damage starts very, very, very early in childhood, in the early years that no one remembers, thus many of them saying “I have been homosexual as far as I can remember…” Duh!

      Homosexuality begins in the condition knows as Gender Identity Disorder, which later turns into full-blown homosexuality. Dr. Julie Harren explains in

      [URL REMOVED]

      “Homosexuality 101 – part 1, 2 , and 3 – Dr. Julie Harren”

      Homosexuality has nothing to do with civil rights… there are plenty of ex-homosexuals who have reversed into been heterosexuals, but we ALL have yet to see a single Black American been an ex-Black American!

      Now, you don’t hear much about these latest finding due to the liberal censorship. I say again, liberal censorship, which will try to silence anything i-n-c-l-u-d-i-n-g new studies that show the error of homosexuality…

      And this is my warning… We are entering times of censorship!

      When ANY time a group controls society, be on the right O-R the left, and people can N-O-T express they free speech and ideas you have L-O-S-T your Freedom!

      You think I am wrong? lol… Go to YouTube and watch even Liberal Chris Matthews telling Homo-fascism supporters “you want to silence people”; Chris words, not mine! (Type “Chris Matthews Struggles to Defend Hosting Tony Perkins”)… it is many of you who do not know what is going on.

      [URL REMOVED]

      For more facts about homosexuality and its true dysfunctional nature go to “What Nature Intended” and read all of it, including the section of “Detriments of Homosexuality” with all its nasty medical damage, diseases, and psychological problem as shown by for example, the high depression rates studies of homosexuals in even societies where homosexuality is FULLY accepted like Holland and Sweden…etc.

      [URL REMOVED]

      One more thing; very, very, very few homosexual relationships are about True Love, (monogamous), most are “open relationships” due to their promiscuous nature of homosexuality in general, with most homosexual relationships only lasting 4-7 years max, due to been based on one thing… Lust! (Data Source: 2003-2004 Gay/Lesbian Consumer Online Census… Google it and see the results for yourself!)

      That irresponsible reckless sexual behavior results in diseases being passes around/spread upon the population, increasing the Health Care cost for everyone! …so when your Health Coverage BILL increases come in the mail d-o n-o-t complain… with “acceptance” of homosexuality, you asked for it!

    • you mean Progressive=communist and modern=socialist. In order to stay relevant these agendas just changed the sign on the door. Google the documentary “Agenda, Grinding America Down” to get the history and origins of your own ideology, it will be an eye opener. And NC has just joined to be the 31st state to pass such a law into their state constitution, that’s 2/3ds of the nation. Seems like you might be behind the times…

  • “He brought me out into an open place; He rescued me because He delighted in me.” -Psalm 18:20
    “I chose you of the world, If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you, I chose YOU of the world” John 15:18-19
    “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal which comes upon you to prove you” 1 Peter 4:12-14
    Those two guys who live in North Carolina, you know them, next door with the nice yard. Well, they are still there today and they still love each other.. Try and ban that.

  • What a bummer, all be it, not unexpected. And as for Obama, too little too late as usual. The LGBT organizations who decided to desert our community in North Carolina should be ashamed of themselves, and I note that these same groups appear to be abandoning the fight to retain marriage in Maryland as well. This is truly disheartening.

  • What is even more sad is that Obama and the DNC are holding their convention in NC this year. How appropriate.

  • Homosexuality and equality have nothing to do with one another. Homosexuality is actually a highly dysfunctional behavior.

    First… there is no “Gay gene”…. homosexuals are not born, they are made, a fact explained by geneticists like Dr. Neil E. Whitehead PhD in YouTube:

    Type in the search box: [ Dr. Neil Whitehead answers, "Is there a gay gene?"] [URL REMOVED]

    Dr. Neil says that even after decades of looking:“ No statistical significant gene has been found, and they even looked at the whole human Geno. The research will probably continue, but for perspective I should say this…They have found genes that are strongly with much evidence of being involved in schizophrenia, but in spite of the searches they have not found the equivalent of a gay gene as of this time…”

    Plus the large “Identical Twins Studies” in the Netherlands and Holland also prove homosexuality not to be genetic, since only less than 10% of the time if one identical twin is gay the other one is also gay, meaning 90% of the time if one is gay the other is not… in a situation were b-o-t-h beings (the twins) are genetically identical, and cooked in the mothers belly at the same time (under the same hormonal environment).

    Even England’s leading gay activist Peter Tatchell recently stated that: “Homosexuality isn’t natural. Ignore those researchers who claim to have discovered a ‘gay gene’, gay desire is not genetically determined”. (Spiked, Tuesday 24, 2008).

    Second… Homosexuality is a dysfunction, homosexuals are victims of a bad upbringing environment, and incorrect/dysfunctional upbringing, and the damage starts very, very, very early in childhood, in the early years that no one remembers, thus many of them saying “I have been homosexual as far as I can remember…” Duh!

    Homosexuality begins in the condition knows as Gender Identity Disorder, which later turns into full-blown homosexuality. Dr. Julie Harren explains in

    [URL REMOVED]

    “Homosexuality 101 – part 1, 2 , and 3 – Dr. Julie Harren”

    Homosexuality has nothing to do with civil rights… there are plenty of ex-homosexuals who have reversed into been heterosexuals, but we ALL have yet to see a single Black American been an ex-Black American!

    Now, you don’t hear much about these latest finding due to the liberal censorship. I say again, liberal censorship, which will try to silence anything i-n-c-l-u-d-i-n-g new studies that show the error of homosexuality…

    And this is my warning… We are entering times of censorship!

    When ANY time a group controls society, be on the right O-R the left, and people can N-O-T express they free speech and ideas you have L-O-S-T your Freedom!

    You think I am wrong? lol… Go to YouTube and watch even Liberal Chris Matthews telling Homo-fascism supporters “you want to silence people”; Chris words, not mine! (Type “Chris Matthews Struggles to Defend Hosting Tony Perkins”)… it is many of you who do not know what is going on.

    [URL REMOVED]

    For more facts about homosexuality and its true dysfunctional nature go to “What Nature Intended” and read all of it, including the section of “Detriments of Homosexuality” with all its nasty medical damage, diseases, and psychological problem as shown by for example, the high depression rates studies of homosexuals in even societies where homosexuality is FULLY accepted like Holland and Sweden…etc.

    [URL REMOVED]

    One more thing; very, very, very few homosexual relationships are about True Love, (monogamous), most are “open relationships” due to their promiscuous nature of homosexuality in general, with most homosexual relationships only lasting 4-7 years max, due to been based on one thing… Lust! (Data Source: 2003-2004 Gay/Lesbian Consumer Online Census… Google it and see the results for yourself!)

    That irresponsible reckless sexual behavior results in diseases being passes around/spread upon the population, increasing the Health Care cost for everyone! …so when your Health Coverage BILL increases come in the mail d-o n-o-t complain… with “acceptance” of homosexuality, you asked for it!

  • Richard Jordan

    Sad day in the Un-United States. Here in San Diego we are most likely to elect our first openly gay mayor. What a difference 3000 miles make. What ever happened to, “Love thy neighbor” in North Carolina, what a bunch of hypocrites! I’m sure all those who don’t support love and equality for all of God’s children will burn in hell.

  • This is absolutely no surprise at all: This result was expected by most realistic gay-rights activists. The thing to do now is to focus on the states where victory can be achieved.

    The referendum in Maine could institute gay marriage in that state. The organization in favour of the referendum is Equality Maine, and its website can be found on the Web.

    There may be referenda in both Washington state and Maryland to deny marriage equality. Equal Right Washington and Equality Maryland are working to combat these referenda should they actually make it to the ballot. Both of these organizations have websites, too.

    Rather than whining about discrimination, gays around the country need to step up to the plate and support organizations that are fighting for their rights.

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