Elect 2012: Amendment One passes easily
By Sarah Campbell
Rowan County voters helped pass a constitutional amendment defining marriage as one man and one woman Tuesday.
Residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of the amendment with 74 percent, 21,489 votes, for it and 26 percent, 7,424 votes, against.
Statewide about 61 percent of voters backed the amendment, casting more than 1.3 million ballots in its favor. More than 831,000 people, about 39 percent, opposed it.
North Carolina law already prohibits gay marriage, but the amendment effectively seals the door on same-sex marriage. North Carolina joins 29 other states that have passed similar amendments.
The amendment also bans “domestic legal unions,” which opponents believe could harm the rights of women and children.
Greg Edds, chairman of the Rowan County Republican party, said the passage of the amendment shows the majority of state residents’ values are rooted in tradition.
“North Carolina is still a traditional state and they value traditional marriage as the basis for civil society,” he said. “This had to do with whether the people of North Carolina would decide the fate of traditional marriage versus an activist judge making the
decisions for all of us, and the people have spoken.”
Republican Judith Silveri voted in favor of the amendment. She hopes the provision will help get the country “back to the way it used to be.”
“I always believe in the people, so if it had not passed I would have felt the majority was against it, but I’m real glad that the majority felt the same way I did,” she said. “I think there were things going around that were not true about what it stood for and what it represented. … That’s just false advertising to me.”
Democrat Fred Clarkson agreed there was some false advertising, but not by his party, citing the fact that only the first paragraph of the amendment appeared on the ballot.
“We passed an amendment without the entire text appearing on the ballot,” he said. “It wasn’t presented in its totality and in many respects the amendment was misrepresented not just because only half of it appeared on the ballot, but also the general ramifications of it.
“The honest truth is basically no good purpose is served by the amendment. It really does not benefit the state in any way whatsoever.”
Democrat Whitney Bost said she doesn’t think people realize that only a “small portion” of the amendment is about same sex marriage.
“Tomorrow, Rowan County voters are going to wake up and realize that their children’s health insurance is gone, that their own insurance is gone, that if they need a restraining order they aren’t going to be able to get one and that they voted for it and didn’t realize it because it was not put on the ballot,” she said. “The kids that cannot get their insurance anymore are going to have to apply for Medicaid and the state is going to have to pay for that out of our tax dollars.”
China Grove resident Carla Honeycutt said as a self-proclaimed “conservative Christian” she followed the Bible when voting in favor of the amendment.
“I feel like our standards are the Bible and it does say that marriage was between one man and one woman when God created Adam and Eve,” she said. “I do feel like this (amendment) does enforce what this country stands on.”
Ben and Jean McCubbins said they were already “dead set” on voting for the amendment when Franklin Graham called Monday and reinforced their belief.
“This is important,” Jean McCubbins said. “North Carolina is one of the last states in the South to pass this.”
Salisbury resident David Salsbury said the amendment will add “blatant discrimination” to a document of freedom.
“The North Carolina state constitution begins with ‘we hold these truths to be self evident that all people are created equal,’ ” he said. “This amendment says all people are created equal, except …”
Salisbury native Jonathan Elliott Coarsey said he doesn’t like the fact that the majority of people voted on an issue that affects the minority. He also disagrees with using religion to back the amendment.
“I think that’s an absolutely wrong thing,” he said. “I think that if you want to take the stance that God is for the amendment, I believe that God loves all people and doesn’t want to discriminate against any of his children.”
The amendment has garnered national attention with Education Secretary Arne Duncan stating his unequivocal support for same-sex marriage one day after Vice President Joe Biden said he is “absolutely comfortable” with same-sex married couples getting the same rights at heterosexual married couples. Former President Bill Clinton also recorded phone messages urging voters to oppose the amendment.
The Rev. Billy Graham was featured in full-page newspaper ads backing the amendment.
Tami Fitzgerald, head of the pro-amendment group Vote FOR Marriage NC, said she believes the initiative awoke a silent majority of more active voters in the future.
“I think it sends a message to the rest of the country that marriage is between one man and one woman,” Fitzgerald said at a celebration Tuesday night. “The whole point is simply that you don’t rewrite the nature of God’s design based on the demands of a group of adults.”
Democrat Seth Holtzman said no matter what his political views, he would never have voted in favor of the amendment.
“It’s so badly written, it’s so broad,” he said. “It’s implications are going to go so far beyond gay couples that it’s a disgrace.
“Even if I were an arch conservative I would have had enough integrity to say we need a different piece of legislation.”
North Carolina was the last remaining state in the Southeast without a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.
The Associated Press continued to this report.