North Carolina Same-Sex Marriage, Amendment 1 (May 2012)
|Same-Sex Marriage Amendment|
|Constitution:||North Carolina Constitution (Art. 14, Sec. 6)|
|Referred by:||North Carolina General Assembly|
|Status:||On the ballot|
Debated in the state legislature during the Spring 2011 legislative session, the amendment failed to receive sufficient votes to qualify for the ballot. However, the measure was debated during the Fall session which began September 12, 2011. That very day, the House voted 75-42 in favor of referring the proposed amendment to the statewide ballot. The State Senate echoed the House with a 30-16 approval vote a day later on September 13, 2011.
Text of measure
The text of the measure reads:
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.
| Sec. 6. Marriage.
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 contracts.
Neither measure received sufficient votes to qualify for the ballot during the regular 2011 legislative session. However, in late June 2011 House Speaker Thom Tillis said he expected the measure to resurface during the Fall 2011 special legislative session.
Supporters of a same-sex marriage amendment argue that without an amendment situations in which same-sex marriage couples move from states like New York will seek legal rights and they argue that the state is not "equipped to handle that." Rep. Paul Stam said, "They're going to bring with them their same-sex marriages. They're going to want to get divorced" and have custody issues decided, he said. "We're not equipped to handle that."
Supporters also argue that the issue should be settled by voters and that polls indicate that there is support for such an amendment. "It is too serious a topic for a handful of people (legislators) to make a decision like that," said Rep. Larry Brown. 
- Rep. Mitch Gillespie said, "We've been fighting for this for a long time. I fully expect it to pass this year and I expect a large bipartisan vote on it."
- Tami Fitzgerald, executive director of N.C. Values Coalition, argues that placing the amendment is the "right thing to do" and it fulfills the democratic process by allowing everybody to vote. Fitzgerald adds, "The people of North Carolina want to determine for themselves how they want to define marriage. They don’t want activist judges doing it for them."
Tactics and strategies
- On May 17, 2011 an estimated 3,500 Christian conservatives gathered in Raleigh, North Carolina. Supporters included pastors and evangelists. The rally was also attended by amendment opponents. "It's not a right that they have. God designed marriage between one man, and one woman. That's it," said Diane Bridgeman, a supporter of traditional marriage.
- The Durham County Republican Party passed a resolution at their annual convention, on March 17, 2012, expressing support for the amendment and arguing that the amendment gives citizens of North Carolina a vote on the issue before it can be decided by the court or state without the people's consent. The resolution further argues that the amendment does not change existing law and can be revoked by voters in the future.Cite error: Closing </ref> missing for <ref> tag
Supporters of gay rights and same-sex marriage argue that the amendment should not be added to the state constitution. They also argue that the subject - "rights of a minority" - should not be up for a vote. Others argue that the proposed amendment may lead to more bullying of gay youth and invalidate domestic violence protections for unmarried couples.
Some lawmakers argue that the proposed amendment will hurt employment in the state. Rep. Larry Hall said, "Instead of creating an environment where we can create employment, attract entrepreneurs (and) attract talent, we're going to try to put a sign up to say, 'You are not welcome if you want to contribute to our society.'"
- President Barack Obama
- Rep. Larry Hall
- Rep. Joe Hackney, the House Minority Leader
- Rev. T. Anthony Spearman, pastor of Clinton Tabernacle African Methodist Episcopal Zion
- Chapel Hill Town Council
- Congresswoman Renee Ellmers
- Log Cabin Republicans
- Equality North Carolina
- Gov. Bev Purdue
- Raleigh City Council
- Sherre Toler, former Director of Elections for Harnett County, who resigned because of the referendum
- Orange County Board of Commissioners
- Bob Etheridge, candidate for Governor of North Carolina
- Sen. Kay Hagan
- Martin Eakes, CEO of Self Help and the Center for Responsible Lending;
- Kel Landis, a partner in Pelux Capital;
- Ping Fu, CEO of Geomagic;
- Marc Noel, chairman of the Noel Group;
- Ryan Allis, CEO of iContact;
- Barbara Goodmon, president of the A.J. Fletcher Foundation;
- Andy and Barbara Rotchschild, principals of Scientific Properties;
- Gordon Grubb, CEO of Grubb Ventures;
- Chuck Wilson, owner and president of CT Wilson Construction;
- Scott Custer, CEO of Piedmont Community Bank;
- Joseh DeSimone, founder of Liquidia Technologies
On February 8, 2012, an event was held at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer in Shelby, N.C., during which local faith leaders spoke out against the amendment. The event was hosted by Neighbors for Equality, Gardner-Webb University’s chapter of Amnesty International, and the church itself. Speaking about the groups' attempts at reaching out to voters, Tyler J. McCall, co-executive director for Neighbors for Equality, said, "The conversations surrounding this legislation are not easy, and we look forward to creating a welcoming environment for our neighbors to join us in talking about this difficult topic."
- Rev. T. Anthony Spearman, pastor of Clinton Tabernacle African Methodist Episcopal Zion said that the amendment "is not fair and it certainly is not just."
- According to reports, Democrats argue that the amendment is a tactic to help Republicans attract more voters to the election polls in 2012 which will reportedly will have close elections for president and governor.
- "This is a transient issue of public policy and it has no place in the Constitution of North Carolina," said Rep. Joe Hackney, the House Minority Leader.
- On September 12, 2011 the Chapel Hill Town Council passed a resolution in opposition of the proposed amendment. "We do not believe in discriminating against people, no matter who they are," said council member Penny Rich. The town currently offers equal benefits to couples in a domestic partnership regardless of sexual orientation.
- President Barack Obama has spoken out against the proposed amendment. "The President has long believed that gay and lesbian couples deserve the same rights and legal protections as straight couples. That’s why he has called for repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and determined that his administration would no longer defend the constitutionality of DOMA in the courts," said White House spokesman Shin Inouye.
- Congresswoman Renee Ellmers spokesperson said, "As a voter, she would vote against a piece of legislation that would add a ban on civil unions to the protection of marriage since they are two different issues and should be dealt with separately."
- Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director R. Clarke Cooper said, "The proposed constitutional amendment is an unnecessary and overreaching incursion on North Carolina families, and with the opposition of conservatives like Rep. Ellmers, it will fail."
- On October 7, 2011 Gov. Bev Perdue announced that she plans to vote against the amendment. In a press release she said, "I continue to support that law today. But I'm going to vote against the amendment because I cannot in good conscience look an unemployed man or woman in the eye and tell them that this amendment is more important than finding them a job."
- On December 6, 2011 Raleigh City Council passed a resolution (6-2 vote) in opposition of the same-sex marriage amendment.
- In a statement made against the amendment, Sen. Kay Hagan said, "North Carolina is one of the most business-friendly states in the nation, and this amendment would harm our state’s ability to recruit the innovators and businesses that are driving our economic recovery."
At the launch of the campaign against the proposed measure, "Protect North Carolina Families" released a couple of videos. One video highlights people discussing reasons why to oppose the measure, the other calls for increase conversation about the proposed amendment.
Tactics and strategies
- On May 17, 2011 opponents of the proposed measure gathered in Raleigh, North Carolina. According to reports, an estimated 3,500 supporters of traditional marriage were also in attendance.
- According to reports, on June 24, 2011 hundreds marched from the Convention Center to Marshall Park in Charlotte, North Carolina in protest of the proposed anti-gay marriage amendment.
- In August 2011 Matt Phillippi of Equality North Carolina launched an effort at the N.C. Gay and Lesbian Film Festival where opponents of the proposed legislation signed postcards. According to Phillippi more than 500 postcards were signed. The group plans to deliver an estimated 5,000 postcards to legislators in September when lawmakers return to session to consider the proposed amendment.
- On September 6, 2011 key members of the House Democratic Caucus gathered for a news conference at the Legislative Building to speak against the amendment. Among the speakers were business executives.
- On September 13, 2011 a rally was scheduled on the same day that the North Carolina State Senate is expected to debate the proposed amendment. The rally is scheduled to take place behind the Legislative Building in Raleigh, North Carolina.
- On October 15, 2011 activists gathered in uptown Charlotte.
- On March 15, 2012 a group called "Honest NC," which consists of North Carolina State University alumni, plan to hold a march in downtown Raleigh.
- In late January the group "Equality NC" began a pledge drive called "Race to the Ballot". The event is scheduled to take place over the course of several weeks in February. Reportedly, the event's goal is to raise voter awareness of what will be on this year's primary ballot.
- According to reports, opponents of the amendment have begun moving arguments away from civil-union issues and are, instead, focusing on the possibility that the amendment would compromise a variety of legal assets available to all unmarried couples. Opponents have cited domestic violence protection, wills, employment benefits and custody agreements as legal rights endangered by the amendment.
Controversies and developments
|Hear about these developments|
| Episode 6 (2012)|
| February 16, 2012|
In mid-September 2011 following the referral of the same-sex marriage amendment to the 2012 statewide ballot, it was identified that a sentence was not included in the text scheduled to appear on the ballot. The sentence clarified that the ban would not prohibit businesses from offering benefits to domestic partners.
Rep. Paul Stam, one of the proponents of the amendment said that the missing sentence is unnecessary. "The sentence is not even strictly necessary because that's the effect of the first sentence anyway," he said.
However, others argue that the omission of the second sentence can open the proposed amendment to legal challenge and various interpretations by the courts. Rep. Rick Glazier said, "That sentence was crucial in some legislators' minds about why they were willing to vote for it (and) pretty crucial to the business community. To say you can have half of this constitutional amendment with half of it gone ... makes no sense whatsoever."
May 2012 vote
According to reports, the move to the primary ballot alleviated concerns by Democratic lawmakers who believed a November vote may be boosted by a higher conservative turnout for the presidential election. However, others argued that a May primary vote may make it more likely that the amendment would gain approval due to a potentially higher turnout by conservatives for the GOP presidential primary.
In January of 2012, Governor Beverly Perdue decided not to run for re-election. This decision could affect the outcome of the amendment due to the fact that her decision will add a Democratic primary to the May 8 ballot. Jeremy Kennedy, campaign coordinator for the Coalition to Protect All NC Families, believes this will aid the efforts to defeat the amendment, saying, "We know that progressive voters who would turn out in a democratic primary by in large tend to be with us on this issue, but I'll temper that by saying there's still a lot of work to be done." For more on this race, please see here.
- See also: Polls, 2012 ballot measures
- A March 15-19, 2009 poll by Elon University Poll revealed that 43% support an amendment on same-sex marriage, while 50% are opposed and 5% are undecided. A total of 620 registered voters were polled.
- A February 20-24, 2011 poll by Elon University Poll revealed that 38% support an amendment, while 56% are opposed and 5% are undecided. A total of 467 registered voters were polled.
- An August 15-16, 2011 poll by National Research, Inc. revealed that 49% support an amendment on same-sex marriage, while 43% were opposed and 7% were undecided. A total of 400 registered voters were polled. The margin of error was +/-4.9%. The poll was sponsored by the John W. Pope Civitas Institute.
- A September 25-29, 2011 poll by Elon University Poll revealed that 39% supported the amendment, while 56% opposed the amendment and 5% were undecided. A total of 594 registered voters were polled. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.02 percentage points.
- A September 30-October 3, 2011 poll by Public Policy Polling revealed that 61% support an amendment to establish marriage between one man and one woman, while 34% are opposed. A total of 760 registered voters were polled. The margin of error was +/-3.6%.
- An October 27-31, 2011 poll by Public Policy Polling revealed that 59% support the amendment, while 35% are opposed and 6% are undecided. A total of 615 registered voters were polled. The margin of error was +/-4.0%.
- An October 31-November 2, 2011 poll by Elon University Poll revealed that 37% support the amendment, while 57% are opposed and 6% are undecided. A total of 529 voters were polled. The margin of error was +/- 4.26 percentage points.
- A December 1-4, 2011 poll by Public Policy Polling revealed that 58% support the amendment, while 32% are opposed and 10% are undecided. A total of 865 registered voters were polled. The margin of error was +/-3.3%.
- A January 5-6, 2012 poll by Public Policy Polling revealed that 56% support the amendment, while 34% are opposed and 10% are undecided. A total of 780 registered voters were polled. The margin of error was +/-3.5%.
|Date of Poll||Pollster||In favor||Opposed||Undecided||Number polled|
|March 15-19, 2009||Elon University Poll||43%||50%||5%||620|
|Feb. 20-24, 2011||Elon University Poll||38%||56%||5%||467|
|August 15-16, 2011||National Research, Inc.||49%||43%||7%||400|
|Sept. 25-29, 2011||Elon University Poll||39%||56%||5%||594|
|Sept. 30-Oct. 3, 2011||Public Policy Polling||61%||34%||5%||760|
|Oct. 27-31, 2011||Public Policy Polling||59%||35%||6%||615|
|Oct. 31-Nov. 2, 2011||Elon University Poll||37%||57%||6%||529|
|Dec. 1-4, 2011||Public Policy Polling||58%||32%||10%||865|
|Jan. 5-8, 2012||Public Policy Polling||56%||34%||10%||780|
|Mar. 26-29, 2012||Elon University Poll||32%||61%||6%||534|
|Apr. 20-22, 2012||Public Policy Polling||54%||40%||6%||1,139|
|Apr. 27-29, 2012||Public Policy Polling||55%||41%||4%||982|
Path to the ballot
- See also: Amending the North Carolina Constitution
The North Carolina Constitution, Section 4 of Article XIII, requires that a legislatively-referred amendment go on the ballot after it is approved by a 60% vote of each house of the North Carolina State Legislature.
The following is a timeline of events relating to the measure:
|SB 106||Feb. 22, 2011||SB 106 filed in the Senate|
|SB 514||April 5, 2011||SB 514 filed in the Senate|
|HB 777||April 6, 2011||HB 777 filed in the House|
|House vote||Sept. 12, 2011||North Carolina House of Representatives votes 75-42 in favor on SB 514|
|Senate vote||Sept. 13, 2011||North Carolina Senate votes 30-16 in support on SB 514|
|Explanation prepared||March 1, 2012||NC Constitutional Amendments Publication Commission prepares explanation of measure for media and election boards.|
| By Eric Veram|
Ballot measure writer
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- House clears North Carolina same-sex marriage amendment, remains pending in the Senate
- North Carolina legislature to take up marriage amendment in September special session
Other 2011 bills
- QNotes,"Funds sought for amendment campaign," December 24, 2011
- The Charlotte Post,"Marriage referendum could affect all couples," December 22, 2011
- The Bellingham Herald,"Foes gird to fight proposed N.C. gay-marriage ban," November 15, 2011
- The Washington Independent,"Three anti-gay groups were pivotal in N.C. marriage amendment push," November 6, 2011
- The Daily Tar Heel,"Seventeen-year-olds will not be able to vote on NC marriage amendment," October 11, 2011
- WRAL,"Perdue on marriage amendment, viral remark," October 5, 2011
- WITN,"Two Ballots Will Be Used In May Primary," September 27, 2011
- Associated Press,"NC marriage campaigns likely passionate, pricey," September 18, 2011
- Citizen-Times,"Asheville, NC activists prepare for battle over gay-marriage ban," September 17, 2011
- News & Observer,"Gay marriage ban put on ballot; opposition drive begins," September 16, 2011
- The Republic,"GOP leaders say they don't expect NC General Assembly to linger after amendments debate," September 12, 2011
- The News & Observer,"Balance of left and right," September 11, 2011
- SalisburyPost.com,"Lawmakers back bills that would put item banning gay marriage on 2012 ballot," September 10, 2011
- TheTimesNews.com,"GOP talks up marriage amendment," August 30, 2011
- Mother Jones,"North Carolina GOP Trying to Ban Gay Marriage Twice," August 31, 2011
- QNotes,"Rally planned to oppose anti-LGBT amendment," August 18, 2011
- The Daily Tar Heel,"New bills in state legislature seek to constitutionally define marriage," June 1, 2011
- The Pendulum,"Proposed N.C. amendment targets marriage definition," March 29, 2011
- The Chapel Hill News,"Same-sex marriage ban gains traction," March 6, 2011
- Public Policy Polling," NC supports recognition for gay couples," March 3, 2011
- The (Raleigh) News & Observer,"North Carolina senator wants gay marriage ban in state's Constitution," March 1, 2011
- Associated Press "NC marriage question explanation OK'd by panel," March 2, 2012
- Durham County Republican Party press release, March 18, 2012
- ↑ QNotes,"Anti-gay marriage amendment filed in N.C. Senate," February 22, 2011
- ↑ ENCToday.com,"Same sex marriage ban aims to protect definition of marriage," February 24, 2011
- ↑ The Huffington Post,"North Carolina Puts Gay Marriage Ban On May 2012 Ballot," September 13, 2011
- ↑ The American Independent,"North Carolina legislators to propose constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage," August 26, 2011
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 News Observer,"N.C. House OKs amendment banning gay marriage," September 13, 2011
- ↑ The Washington Independent,"Anti-gay marriage amendment heads to N.C. ballot without public input," September 13, 2011
- ↑ North Carolina General Assembly,"SB 514 full text," retrieved September 13, 2011
- ↑ goqnotes.com,"Anti-gay amendment filed in N.C. House," April 6, 2011
- ↑ Citizen Times,"N.C. Speaker defends staff salaries, talks about gay marriage in Asheville interview," June 30, 2011
- ↑ Winston-Salem Journal,"Same-sex marriage back on N.C. front burner," September 18, 2011
- ↑ North Carolina State Board of Elections,"Committee filings," retrieved December 8, 2011
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 News & Record,"Marriage Amendment committees," December 1, 2011
- ↑ Associated Press,"Referendum committee to back passage of gay marriage ban referendum in North Carolina formed," December 1, 2011
- ↑ Goston Gazette "Local Catholic leaders show support for marriage amendment," February 12, 2012
- ↑ Durham County Republican Party press release, March 18, 2012
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 16.2 News Observer,"Same-sex marriage foes rally for amendment," May 18, 2011
- ↑ Advocate.com,"N.C. Marriage Ban Supporter Wants the People to Decide," August 23, 2011
- ↑ The Miami Herald,"N.C. gay marriage foes rally for constitutional ban," May 18, 2011
- ↑ 19.0 19.1 CBNNews.com,"Traditional Marriage Supporters Rally at NC Capitol," May 18, 2011
- ↑ 20.0 20.1 WRAL,"Business, religion cited in NC gay marriage events," September 6, 2011
- ↑ North Carolina State Board of Elections,"Committee filings - Coalition to Protect NC Families," retrieved December 8, 2011
- ↑ North Carolina State Board of Elections,"Committee filings - Human Rights Campaign," retrieved December 8, 2011
- ↑ Huffington Post "Obama Opposes Amendment One, North Carolina Ballot Question Banning Gay Marriage," March 16, 2012
- ↑ Towleroad "NC Elections Official Resigns Over Anti-Gay Marriage Amendment," January 10, 2012
- ↑ Chapel Hill News "Commissioners reject marriage amendment," February 1, 2012
- ↑ Associated Press "Etheridge makes clear views on NC taxes, amendment," February 6, 2012
- ↑ 27.0 27.1 Advocate.com "N.C. Senator Kay Hagan Speaks Out Against Antigay Amendment 1," February 22, 2012
- ↑ Charlotte Observer,"Business leaders to lawmakers: Focus on jobs, not marriage," September 12, 2011
- ↑ Shelby Star "Church to host discussion on same-sex marriage ban," February 3, 2012
- ↑ The Daily Tar Heel,"Chapel Hill Town Council against NC Defense of Marriage Act," September 12, 2011
- ↑ Lifesitenews,"White House denounces pro-marriage ballot initiative in North Carolina" September 23, 2011
- ↑ 32.0 32.1 goqnotes.com,"Gay Republicans applaud Ellmers opposition to amendment," October 3, 2011
- ↑ The Charlotte Observer,"Political, not principled, stand on gay marriage," October 11, 2011
- ↑ Associated Press,"N.C. governor opposes gay-marriage amendment," October 8, 2011
- ↑ The Progressive Pulse,"Raleigh passes resolution opposing anti-gay constitutional amendment (video)," December 6, 2011
- ↑ News & Observer,"Raleigh council opposes same-sex marriage amendment," December 7, 2011
- ↑ On Top Magazine,"Campaign To Defeat North Carolina Gay Marriage Ban Launched," January 19, 2012
- ↑ WBTV,"Hundreds rally in Charlotte against anti-gay marriage amendment," June 24, 2011
- ↑ The Charlotte Observer,"Fight gears up on same-sex marriage in North Carolina," August 15, 2011
- ↑ Associated Press,"Rhetoric heats up in fight over same-sex marriage," September 7, 2011
- ↑ Associated Press,"Marriage amendment foes rally at N.C. Legislature," September 13, 2011
- ↑ ShelbyStar.com,"Gay marriage ban prompts street protest in Charlotte," October 20, 2011
- ↑ WXII12,"Gay Marriage Amendment Opponents Planning NC March," January 20, 2012
- ↑ Mountain Xpress "Equality NC kicks off "race to the ballot," January 29, 2012
- ↑ newsobserver.com "Marriage amendment debate focuses on domestic violence," March 4, 2012
- ↑ 46.0 46.1 46.2 News & Observer,"Ballot's omitted clause on same-sex marriage ban raises objections," September 22, 2011
- ↑ News & Observer,"Amendment to ban same-sex marriage to be on May ballot," September 12, 2011
- ↑ Public News Service "Analysts: Perdue Decision Could Affect Marriage Amendment," January 27, 2012
- ↑ Elon University Polll,"March poll," March 23, 2009
- ↑ Elon University Poll,"February Poll," February 28, 2011
- ↑ John W. Pope Civitas Institute,"Civitas Poll: Unaffiliated Voters Still Support Marriage Amendment," September 6, 2011
- ↑ Digtriad.com,"A New Poll Shows 56% of North Carolinians Oppose Gay Marriage Ban," September 30, 2011
- ↑ The Times News.com,"Elon poll: Most opposed to constitutional ban on same-sex marriage," September 30, 2011
- ↑ Public Policy Polling,"NC marriage amendment has plenty of support in primary test," October 7, 2011
- ↑ Adocate.com,"Poll Has Bad News for North Carolina, But Not All Bad," October 13, 2011
- ↑ Public Policy Polling,"Marriage amendment leading by 24, Perdue down 9," November 4, 2011
- ↑ Elon University Poll,"Elon Poll: State residents divided on OWS movement," November 7, 2011
- ↑ Public Policy Polling,"Perdue remains down to McCrory by 10, would romp Faison," December 9, 2011
- ↑ Public Policy Polling "N.C. GOP legislators’ popularity in the toilet," January 12, 2012
- ↑ The Washington Independent,"Anti-gay marriage amendment heads to N.C. ballot without public input," September 13, 2011
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