In a blow to gay marriage advocates, North Carolina voters have approved a constitutional amendment that bans gay marriage and civil unions.
Debate has raged for months in North Carolina over the gay marriage amendment, or Amendment One as it is officially known. Opponents charge that the bill strips the rights of members of the gay community, while supporters say the bill protects the sanctity of marriage.
The actual language on the ballot is "Constitutional amendment to provide that marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state." But the danger is that this language means the only legal union in this state would be marriage between one man and one woman.
Opponents of the amendment had an uphill battle in convincing voters that it was anything other than a referendum on gay marriage. 57% of voters in the state think gay marriage should be illegal (to only 34% who think it should be legal).
Over the weekend, a Public Policy Polling survey found that 55 percent of North Carolina voters favor the amendment (just 39 percent oppose it).
Going into the polls, many NC leaders, including Democrats, Republicans, independents, lawyers, faith leaders, business executives, and celebrities, expressed their belief that Amendment One is going to have negative consequences for North Carolina:
Nonetheless, North Carolinians have approved the amendment. The issues sparked massive interest in these elections, as nearly half a million people voted early in North Carolina — more than did in the 2008 presidential election.
Retiring Democratic governor Bev Perdue called Amendment One "our Rosa Parks moment" in an interview with NBC's Chuck Todd. Evidently, the majority of North Carolina voters do not agree.