by JASMINE ELSHAMY Staff Writer
North Carolina voters passed an amendment to the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage, with more than 2 million votes.
The supporters of the ban led the opposing votes in a 61 percent to 39 percent margin, according to figures from the State Board of Elections. The supporters of the ban celebrated by serving cake to voters in a Raleigh ballroom.
The list of cities – from Charlotte, Asheville, Raleigh and Durham – that believed the amendment was a bad idea, could not outweigh the traditional voters.
Tami Fitzgerald, the head of Vote for Marriage NC, said she had been confident that “the people of North Carolina would rise up and vote to keep the opposition from redefining traditional marriage.” “We are not anti-gay, we are pro-marriage,” she said. “And the point – the whole point – is simply that you don’t rewrite the nature of God’s design for marriage based on the demands of a group of adults.”
The constitution has now been altered to state that “marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state.”
Press secretary of Obama for America Cameron French said in a statement, “The president 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.”
“Banning gay marriage is like banning straight marriage – it’s the same thing. Why should someone be discriminated against because of their sexuality? We’re all the same,” says freshman Lindsey Frankel. “[Forget] traditional marriage. Gay people have been hiding for too long. Now’s their time.” Just because the opposition was overruled does not mean they will stop protesting. Requests came pouring in for marriage licenses for same-sex marriages and civil unions after the amendment was passed. The couples knew they would be rejected, but they continued anyway, in an effort of rebellion.
Campaign for Southern Equality, an Asheville-based gay rights group, organized the civil protest as part of its “We Do” movement. The effort, which spanned eight towns and cities statewide, ended in Charlotte on Tuesday, May 15.
Urging advocates of same-sex marriage to keep fighting, campaign manager for the Coalition to Protect All North Carolina Families Jeremy Kennedy acknowledged the loss and told opponents, “It’s okay to grieve.”
Americans are closely split on the issue, according to a recent Gallup survey, with 50 percent of Americans believing same-sex couples should be allowed to wed -up considerably from polls in past years. Another 48 percent say such marriages should not be legal.
Before Tuesday, May 15, 30 states had voted in favor of constitutional amendments that seek to defend traditional definitions of marriage as a heterosexual union.
Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, and the District of Columbia issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. In February, Washington Governor Christine Gregoire signed a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage beginning in June, but opponents there have pledged to block the bill and called for voters to decide the issue.
“I wasn’t aware of this ambiguity in our constitution. I thought the constitution was ultimate. I thought equality was non-negotiable,” says “Born This Way” singer Lady Gaga.