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The state of North Carolina has decided to ban same s*x marriages. Voters cast their ballots on Tuesday and decided on the constitutional ban, which adds to state laws that already ban the unions. Amendment 1 changes the North Carolina Constitution by stating that ”marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state.”
The amendment is being supported by those who feel that the language protects the law against “activist judges” who may choose to interpret it in other ways. The state is also in a better position to fend off same s*x civil unions. Opponents say that the law undermines protections related to health insurance and domestic violence.
The issue creates a political hotbed for President Barack Obama, who risks losing black, latino and conservative voters on the issue. But by not taking a stand, he risks losing gay and liberal voters who support gay marriage.
CNN tells the story:
Duke University law professor Kathryn Bradley says those rights could be potentially lost if the bill passes on Tuesday.
Concerns over the measure also hone in on the potential for unintended consequences, she said, affecting issues such as child custody and the prosecution of domestic violence among unmarried couples because of the narrow definition of the new statute.
“Before domestic violence laws, we relied on criminal assault laws, which don’t always protect against things like stalking,” added Bradley, who says the measure could also affect heterosexual couples.
A simple majority is needed for the measure to be approved.
It was passed in the state House and Senate last year. Both are Republican-controlled, which represents the first time that’s happened in North Carolina in the past 140 years, according to house officials.
“This bill’s been 12 years in the making,” said Maxine Eichner, a law professor at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “But it’s now made possible because Republicans control the legislature.”
Should Amendment 1 gain approval, it would largely prevent the state’s judiciary from overturning the bill by enshrining its language into the state constitution.
Some 500,000 people had already cast ballots on the measure through early voting or absentee ballots.
Polls are set to close at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Evangelist Billy Graham endorsed the ballot initiative, a rare move for a preacher who has typically avoided political fights. Graham took out full-page ads in 14 North Carolina newspapers touting his support for the measure, saying “the Bible is clear — God’s definition of marriage is between a man and a woman.”
Graham’s website encouraged churches to download a poster that bears his image and the message “Vote for Marriage May 8th.”