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North Carolina Constitutional Amendment One to
prohibit same-sex marriages (SSM), civil unions, etc

Part 2: 2012: Stealth nature of the amendment
(Cont'd).
Support for the amendment.

Sponsored link.

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This topic is a continuation from the previous essay

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The stealth nature of the NC amendment (Cont'd):

The groups that have been promoting this amendment for years have not described its wide-ranging nature. Unfortunately, the media seems to have not effectively informed the public of the true nature of the proposed amendment. As a result, most adults in the state seem to believe it is merely a simple anti-SSM amendment like the one that will be voted upon in Minnesota during 2012-NOV.

An article posted by a reader in the opinion section in the Charlotte Observer stated:

"State law already bans gay marriage, and that’s not changing anytime soon. Voters in May will not decide whether to legalize gay marriage or not. Rather, they will decide whether to cement that ban into the state constitution, plus expand it to block civil unions of any kind, gay or straight. The amendment appears to endanger all unmarried couples with regard to domestic-partner benefits, domestic violence laws, child custody and end-of-life arrangements. The courts would be forced to untangle that.

While polls show the public supports the amendment, there is hope for opponents. Public Policy Polling in Raleigh found that the vote gets closer when people understand what it does. In a poll late last month, PPP found 58 percent support the amendment while 38 percent oppose it. But only 31 percent know it bans both gay marriage and civil unions; 28 percent think it bans only gay marriage, 7 percent think it legalizes gay marriage and 34 percent say they don’t know exactly what it does. Told that it also bans civil unions, the vote becomes a dead heat." 1 [Emphasis ours]

A poll by Elon University was conducted during 2012-MAR-26 to MAR-29 among 534 adult North Carolina residents. The margin of error is ±4.2 percentage points. Data was released on 2012-APR-02. Results showed that:

  • 61% would oppose amending the constitution to ban same-sex marriages, domestic partnerships and civil unions.
    • 31.7% oppose strongly
    • 29.5% oppose

  • 32% would favor such a ban.
    • 16.3% support strongly
    • 15.6 support. 2

In addition:

  • 38% would support same-sex marriage; that is an increase from 36% in 2012-FEB, and 33% in 2011-NOV.

  • 29% would support civil unions or partnerships, but not full marriage rights; that is an increase from 28% in 2012-FEB and 26% in 2011-NOV.

  • 29% would oppose any recognition of same-sex relationships. This is a decrease from 32% in 2012-FEB and from 35% in 2011-NOV. 2

John Robinson, director of communications for the Elon University Poll said:

"These results reflect what’s occurring nationwide. Opposition to any legal recognition for same-sex couples has been on the decline for a year and support for full marriage rights has been increasing. Our results suggest that the majority of North Carolinians do not want same-sex marriages [, civil unions,] and domestic partnerships banned in the state constitution. Further, it appears that citizens support at least some kind of legal recognition for same-sex couples, either civil unions or marriages." 2

Thus, as of 2012-MAR, North Carolina residents were opposed to what Amendment 1 would accomplish -- they are about 2:1 against the intent and scope of Amendment 1.

Previous polls conducted by Elon University show that support for an amendment that would bar same-sex marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnerships has dropped about 10 percentage points and opposition has increased by a similar amount since their polling started on this topic in 2009-MAR: 3

Elon University polling data:

When asked whether they would like to see same-sex marriages and civil unions and domestic partnerships all banned, results were:

Date, middle of the poll In favor Opposed Undecided Number of persons polled Margin of error in percentage points
2009-MAR-17
43%
50%
5%
620
±3.9
2011-FEB-22
38
56
5
467
4.5
2011-SEP-27
39
56
5
594
4.0
2011-NOV-01
37
57
6
529
4.3
2012-MAR-27
32
61
6
534
4.2
 
However, the Elon University polls in no way predicted the outcome of the actual poll. It didn't really matter that the people of North Carolina are overwhelmingly opposed to the effect that Amendment 1 will have on the people in their state. What does matter is whether they were going to be able to make an intelligent choice at the ballot box. That requires that they realized in advance what Amendment 1 will actually accomplish. They were uninformed, misinformed and/or disinformed about the Amendment.

They seem to believe that the amendment would simply ban same-sex marriage. One indication of this is the following series of polls. They asked directly whether the person is in favor of Amendment 1:

Polls by National Research Inc, and Public Policy Polling:

Date, middle of the poll Polling agency In favor Opposed Undecided Number of persons polled Margin of error in percentage points
2011-AUG-16
National Research
49%
43%
7%
400
±4.9
2011-OCT-01
Public Policy Polling
61
34
5
760
3.6
2011-OCT-29
Public Policy Polling
59
35
6
615
4.0
2011-DEC-02
Public Policy Polling
58
32
10
865
3.3
2012-JAN-06
Public Policy Polling
56
34
10
780
3.5
2012-APR-21
Public Policy Polling
54
40
6
1,139
2.9

As a growing minority of adults in the state realized that they were being deceived, support for the amendment dropped. But lack of knowledge of the full scope of the amendment was still strong on voting day 2012-MAY-08. The amendment passed by about 60% to 40% -- close to the most recent polling data above.

One wonders what will happen when the people of North Carolina realize that they voted against their own wishes. There might be a tremendous backlash.

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Support for the amendment:

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." 1

According to Vote for Marriage NC, Amendment One is supported by:

  • 19 country Boards of Commissioners,
  • 41 organizations, essentially all of which are conservative Christian or Republican groups.
  • 46 church leaders, essentially of of whom are Baptist.

One wonders how many of these individuals and organizations are aware of the true nature and scope of this stealth amendment.

Unfortunately, allowing the people to vote on an amendment first requires that they know about the implications of their vote. This did not happen in North Carolina.

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This topic continues in the next essay

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Stealth campaign on same sex marriage amendment will fail," Charlotte Observer, 2012-APR-21, at: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/
  2. Elon University Poll, 2012-APR-12, at: http://www.elon.edu/ This is a PDF file.
  3. "North Carolina Same-sex Marriage, Amendment 1," Ballotpedia, at: http://ballotpedia.org/

\

Copyright © 2012 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2012-APR-18
Latest update: 2012-MAY-09
Author: B.A. Robinson

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