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North Carolina: Supporters of anti-gay Amendment 1 release first ad


By Scottie ThomastonGoal Thermometer

The campaign to pass Amendment 1 in North Carolina, banning every domestic legal union in the state except marriage between a man and a woman, has released its first ad. It’s thirty seconds of interesting assertions and outright distortions. The ad opens with the line “Marriage has been one man and one woman since before North Carolina was a state.” While this is true, before North Carolina was a state, churches were solely responsible for marriage licenses (the Church of England had to approve), interracial marriage was banned and marriage was largely unregulated by the state in the 1860s. Marriage law is not the same now as it was before North Carolina was a state. It isn’t the same now as it was 75 years ago.

They claim that marriage is “what God created” to give children a mother and a father. Again, though, from the early days of North Carolina’s existence, the government had some control over marriage, and the control it didn’t have was taken over by the Church of England. And logically speaking, children are born to two opposite sex people – or through IVF or some other method – regardless if a marriage is involved. I’m sure there’d be a ton of mothers and fathers even without marriage. Also it can’t go unmentioned: if marriage was created for the sake of a child’s stability, why take it away from people, some of whom are undoubtedly raising children of their own? Why take away civil unions and domestic partnerships as well? If the amendment is about a child’s stability, I’m not sure how potentially taking away a child’s health insurance or removing protections for victims of domestic violence – even if those victims have kids who might be unsafe in that situation – will help.

They say that by defining marriage in the state constitution, that allows voters to determine what marriage “means.” I’m not sure I understand. Marriage is already ‘defined’ in state law in North Carolina as between a man and a woman. It’s defined in the dictionary as something else that’s a bit broader than state law, but there you go. Does the campaign want marriage to be really, really defined in the state? But even a state definition won’t change the meaning of words. What’s the purpose of continuing to define it over and over again in the state?

They claim everyone gay or straight is “free” to live as they “choose.” But not if they choose to get married. Or enter into a civil union or domestic partnership. Or choose to give their children health insurance. Or choose to protect themselves from domestic violence. Those freedoms and choices are apparently reserved for an overclass. And they say “nobody has the right to redefine marriage.” And then they proceed to point out that 30 other states have redefined marriage as the union between a man and a woman. If marriage is what they say it is, I’m not sure why 30 states and North Carolina really need to make extra sure marriage is what they say it is. And I’m not really sure why this current definition is better than the historic one where women were property and interracial marriage was banned. This seems like an attempt to impose a very modern redefinition of marriage in the state constitution and call it the definition God really intended.

So, all in all, a confusing and ahistorical ad. I’m not even sure they got the Biblical part of this right: there is no mention of banning gay people from getting married in the Bible. And Jesus doesn’t mention gays at all. They got the date right though: the election is indeed on May 8.

What you can do to help on Amendment One:Goal Thermometer

1. Contribute to the campaign on ActBlue so they have the resources they need to get our message out.

2. Sign up for a Courageous Conversation about Amendment One with someone you know in NC.

3. Follow the campaign on Facebook and Twitter.

4. Download social media tools and yard signs to show your opposition to Amendment 1.

5. Volunteer to Call for Equality – a GOTV phone banking effort against Amendment 1.


  • 1. John  |  April 24, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    Isn't Amendent 1 a redefinition of the marriage definition in their state constitution? How can the proponents then say no one can redefine marriage?

  • 2. Carpool Cookie  |  April 24, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    Re: "They claim that marriage is “what God created” to give children a mother and a father."

    If their claim (which is unprovable, of course) were true, why isn't there a Garden of Eden wedding ceremony between Adam and Eve, with exchange of rings etc., in the Bible?

  • 3. Sam  |  April 24, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    Reminds me of the ad I saw for Reject Referendum 71 back in 2009. Too much Gawd, not enough substance.

  • 4. Supporter  |  April 24, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    I hate to say this, but I think their ad is much more effective than ours, regardless of the actual acuracy of the claims. Most people watch tv very casually, so ads must grab the viewer's attention, and this ad actually does that.
    Look at our ads. They're well-produced, but they're tentative, weak. You really need to be paying attention to find out what the ad is about, and which side it's on. Notice that our ads don't actually say "vote against the amendment" as a voice-over in the end. For the casual viewer, our ads will go by unnoticed.
    I'm not sure what our messaging strategy is in this campaign. The PPP poll released today shows we're losing 54-40, and it also shows exactly HOW to change this, which is to EXPLAIN what the amendment actually does. Once people know the amendment will forbid civil unions, people change their vote. We should hammer on this with several different ads.
    Instead, we have 2 ads that talk vaguely about potential harms that may seem too distant for the uninformed voter who's not tuned into the whole gay rights issue. The first, where the girl might lose health insurance, is quite vague. Even if that's a correct message (and it may well be), the ad should be more forceful and say it directly.  The second ad is supposedly about a woman who has a stalker-ish kind of boyfriend, and who supposedly would be at risk of being attacked and such attack might not be considered domestic violence. I say "supposedly", because it's not clear even to us who follow gay rights every single day. The potential problem (although very real) is totally detached from most people's lives.
    The casual, uninformed voter will see 2 competing messages. One, "we must save marriage, all other states have done so, they must know something, plus the bible says so". The other, a vague, weak claim of potential harms that you're not really familiar with. Guess who wins?
    Another complaint I have … I don't understand how in this YouTube age, where every kid with a computer can produce a viral video costing next to nothing, we always come up with a couple of ads. I don't get it. We should have MANY ads ready. What's so costly about putting someone talking to a camera about the damages of the amendment?

  • 5. Leo  |  April 24, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    "Marriage is what God created, [therefore] nobody has the right to redefine marriage."

    This isn't simply an appeal to religious values. It's a theocratic argument. Society has every right to redefine marriage.

  • 6. Jamie  |  April 24, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    It's sad that it comes down to who can scare the voters the most as opposed to what is best for the state.

  • 7. Str8Grandmother  |  April 24, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    I hadn't really thought about it in the way you did but I go along with you. Not that these 2 ads are not terrific because I really do think they are terrific, but we need a little more umph.

    I would take their ad with the Bible strongly featured and talk about a theocracy and talk about how this is forcing religion onto people who don't want it. I guess I am trying to say more of a political attack ad. They throw the Bible out, throw it right back in an attack ad.

    The Bible is NO justification on how we grant Civil Rights. I know we ALL believe that this should not be voted on anyway, that Constitutionally we all feel everyone already has the Right to Civil Marriage. But until the Supreme Court says that, and the H8ters keep coming after sexual minorities, we have to fight back.

  • 8. Kate  |  April 24, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    And which of Eve's son's made incestuous heterosexual intercourse with her in order to get some females into the gene pool?

  • 9. Kate  |  April 24, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    superfluous apostrophe. Jeez.

  • 10. Mackenzie  |  April 24, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    thinking the same thing. Dumbest comment ever!

  • 11. _BK_  |  April 24, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    "Ratings have been disabled for this video."

    Of course.

  • 12. Steve  |  April 24, 2012 at 10:13 pm

    This is my first post here, after reading this site almost daily since the beginning of the Prop 8 trial. Please take this as constructive criticism from a straight ally, not as an attack.

    Here's what I see. You all got creamed in CA because you got totally out-politicked (sp?). The Yes on 8 side spent tons of money, yes…but they also promulgated lies and half-truths, and there was virtually no counterattack. They scared the voters with irrational, illogical and downright untruthful ads which *were never effectively countered*. Every time one of their ads tells a lie, you should run an ad that calls it *exactly* that, and then states the truth, as strongly and harshly as you can. If they say things like "schools will teach children about icky gay sex", call them on it, and provide the facts. When they say it will force churches to perform gay weddings, call them liars and state the truth.

  • 13. Steve  |  April 24, 2012 at 10:13 pm


    You are never going to win these voter referenda by playing nice-nice with them. The right wing has shown themselves these past few years to be mean, selfish, authoritarian, theocratic bastards who will do whatever it takes to win.

    OK…I've finally said how I feel about these ad campaigns. Now blast away at me :).

  • 14. mark  |  April 24, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    I TOTALLY agree with Steve.The ads that were run here by NOM scared the hell out of people and what did we come up with?? Weak ads.."everyone deserves to get married " If your going to win this in NC you better get out some hard hitting ads and call them out on the lies.You need someone with a forceful articulate voice to call them out on it..Something thats going to grab the attention of the viewer.

  • 15. Jamie  |  April 24, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    Thanks Steve. I agree 100%

  • 16. Jamie  |  April 24, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    Like the senator that sponsored the bill, who now says it is bad for NC.

  • 17. Mormon Mother  |  April 24, 2012 at 11:49 pm

    I like the way they always bring the Bible into it and yet the Bible is full of men having more than one wife or a wife and concubines (and these are the men of God not the heathens). Maybe that should be highlighted in one of our ads. And, let's not forget that in Biblical times, a wife was the property of her husband. ing Another thing to emphasize about those Biblical marriages they are so fond of.

  • 18. Wood Burning Fireplace Tips  |  April 25, 2012 at 6:57 am

    Thanks a lot for the article. Great.

  • 19. AnonyGrl  |  April 25, 2012 at 7:00 am

    Part 1

    I agree our ads could be stronger…. here is my quick shot at a re-write.

    WOMAN – (showing graphic pics of herself bloody and beaten) He beat me. He kicked me with steel toed boots. He strangled me, choked me till I was unconscious, tried to kill me! If Amendment One passes, the CITIZENS of North Carolina will be telling me that I should have MARRIED this animal, but because I did not, because my daughter and I ESCAPED him, I am not worthy of domestic violence protections.

    VOICEOVER – That is what Amendment One does. If you vote for it, YOU remove protections from innocent victims of domestic violence.

  • 20. AnonyGrl  |  April 25, 2012 at 7:00 am

    Part 2

    UNMARRIED COUPLE– (showing pics of child in hospital) Our daughter needs her health insurance. Without it, she will die. We can’t afford the medications and care needed to keep her alive. If Amendment One passes, the CITIZENS of North Carolina will be telling us that our child DESERVES to die simply because we are not married.

    VOICEOVER – THAT is what Amendment One does. If you vote for it, YOU rip health insurance away from sick children.


    VOICEOVER – The politicians who sponsored this legislation are against it, the President is against it, the majority of your fellow citizens are against it. (cut to face of WOMAN and DAUGHTER) Do YOU want to be the person telling her she DESERVES to be beaten? (cut to shot of UNMARRIED COUPLE and CHILD in hospital) Do you want to be the one who decides she SHOULD be sentenced to death? Vote NO on AMENDMENT ONE. It is up to YOU.

  • 21. AnonyGrl  |  April 25, 2012 at 7:03 am

    You are right, Steve, and we know it. It is difficult though, because scary sells better than truth. It is an uphill battle all the way.

  • 22. Kate  |  April 25, 2012 at 7:25 am

    AnonyGrl, I am definitely glad you are on OUR side! Now, how to get your ads running????

  • 23. Stefan in CA  |  April 25, 2012 at 8:09 am

    As a marriage equality supporter, frequent reader of P8TT and one time poster, I couldn't agree more with Steve, Supporter and Marks posts. With time running out in North Carolina, the ads supporting Amendmant 1 will probably increase in the next few days and hit even harder. The same will happen in Maine, MD and WA. The marriage equality side needs to be smart, and in my opinion, should not even pay much attention to the polls, not matter how favorable they may appear. Believe me, the closer it gets to this years election, NOM and their affiliates are going to come out swinging, very hard, and the marriage equality side needs to be both ready, and proactive in hitting back. Something must have been learned from Prop 8.

  • 24. MightyAcorn  |  April 25, 2012 at 8:13 am

    The California campaign was also slow to react, allowing a tsunami of melodramatic, vitriolic ads to run uncountered for almost two weeks, during which poll numbers reversed themselves in the haters' favor. Then, as you say, the countermessages were nambypamby, ineffective and studiedly polite but ultimately ignorable. It was heartbreaking seeing this weak response during the run-up to the vote, knowing we were losing ground because of these tepid ads.

    Seems to be a mistake the equality leadership is doomed to repeat. I get wanting to run a positive campaign and winning hearts/minds and all that by appearing approachable and reasonable, but producing slick, lavish ads with weak messages won't actually help our cause. Frustrating to hear it's happening again.

  • 25. Stefan in CA  |  April 25, 2012 at 8:14 am

    PS: Based on previous posts, a good start would be to listen to AnonyGrl. She clearly gets it.

  • 26. MightyAcorn  |  April 25, 2012 at 8:16 am

    Marriage is a *function* of society….it didn't exist before societies created it and made up rules about it. As I've said here before, most people who repeat the " redefining marriage" meme have no idea what the actual definition is in the first place.

  • 27. MLR  |  April 25, 2012 at 8:17 am

    The Bible actually does mention homosexuality. Sodom and Gomorrah….Genesis 19. Just FYI Scottie Thomaston, before you write an article, you should probably do your research.

  • 28. AnonyGrl  |  April 25, 2012 at 9:03 am

    Actually, it does not. Sodom and Gomorrah speaks of the sin of being inhospitable to strangers. The homosexual overtones were added significantly later during biblical re-writes. Perhaps YOU should read your own book before getting on others about it.

  • 29. AnonyGrl  |  April 25, 2012 at 9:14 am

    And, in fact, since what Scottie said was there is no mention of banning gay people from getting married in the Bible, he was entirely correct from the start.

  • 30. Kate  |  April 25, 2012 at 10:11 am

    To say nothing of not all people blindly following the presumed dictates of a Bronze Age book of fairy tales…………

  • 31. Ray in Sacramento  |  April 25, 2012 at 10:48 am

    The ad mentioned that both gay and straight have the right to live their life as they choose. Well me and my husband decided to live our life as married. Too bad we can't use that as a rebuttal to their ad.

  • 32. Danny  |  April 25, 2012 at 10:59 am

    One of my favorite 'bible stories' to get quoted to me since EVERY sin was forgivable except being inhospitable. Being inhospitable to strangers was the unforgivable sin. Also, rape and consentual intercourse are completely different acts; regardless of wether the participants are all male, all female, or a combination. At best the bible story condemns rape, and I don't even see that.

  • 33. Carpool Cookie  |  April 25, 2012 at 11:27 am

    "And which of Eve's son's made incestuous heterosexual intercourse with her in order to get some females into the gene pool?"

    Hey, let's lay off Eve. She got an unfair rap to begin with.

    Adam and Eve might have had a son AND a daughter, and THEIR kids did the rest of the necessary. Perhaps they were the first recorded Kissing Cousins? (Though unrecorded, as luck would have it.) (I'd have liked to be at one of THEIR family reunions. I bet there were fireworks.)

  • 34. Carpool Cookie  |  April 25, 2012 at 11:32 am

    Or wait…that doesn't really work out , either…because the Adam and Eve son/daughter would have had to wed (or had sex with each other outside of marriage), and that's kind of off.

    (Maybe Lilith from the Apocrypha was lurking around somewhere, and conveniently dropped by??)

  • 35. Carpool Cookie  |  April 25, 2012 at 11:36 am

    Also…sometimes their lies are aired close to the voting date, and it's hard to whip up and buy air time for a counter commercial at the last minute? (Which is where Internet advertising/videos/youtube could come in?)

    Maybe an option is to invest in booking a commercial cast and crew and taping speace for the entire last month before a vote, so countering ads can be shot quickly? (I bet everyone would work really cheap, considering the cause, and they could have a contract that agrees they'll be available for 6 days out of the given month, or whatever.)

    Just thinking out loud, here. In my own little ownty-donty way….

  • 36. Carpool Cookie  |  April 25, 2012 at 11:42 am

    I know it's hard to come up with good, hard ads, for any situation. Bluugghh.

    We need an ad that has the cast of Mad Men sitting around a conference table, speeding through potential ad mock-ups and concepts for our side (the side of LOGIC) and hitting the highlights. I bet they'd do it.

    Where's Don Draper when you need him?

  • 37. AnonyGrl  |  April 25, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    Sodom and Gamorrah doesn't actually condemn rape. In fact, Lot offers up his virgin daughters to the neighbors to use as they want (rape, that is) if only they will stop beating on his door. THIS is the fellow that God finds virtuous.

  • 38. Carpool Cookie  |  April 25, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    I thought the lesson from Sodom & Gomorrah was about not refusing hospitality to strangers…who crossed vast deserts etc. in those ancient travels and really relied on the kindness of strangers. It's very much a "Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You" parable.

    From a Conservative point of view, it's probably not the best idea to draw people's attention to the city of Sodom, as that's where Lot lived, who ran up into the mountains and then had intercourse with both his daughters. (Not so "traditional marriage" oriented, to say the least!)

  • 39. Michelle Evans  |  April 25, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    I find it interesting that whenever the subject of the bible comes up and what it says (or doesn't say) about LGBT people, that it always seems to be the marriage equality supports who actually understand what was written in that ancient book (hospitality vs being gay for instance). Those who reject equality always look at the exact same book and read something completely different into the text than was ever there in the first place.

    As a transgender individual, there is one passage in the bible which is used by the haters to show what an abomination I am in their eyes. It talks of how men should not dress in the clothes of women. Yet, what they always neglect to bring up is the context of the passage where it was forbidden for soldiers to dress as women in order to disguise themselves during a sneak attack, which is what had occurred, and thus brought about the passage in the first place.

    Still waiting for the fundies to abide by their own logic and start stoning people for going to Red Lobster for dinner.

  • 40. Carpool Cookie  |  April 25, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    Re: Still waiting for the fundies to abide by their own logic and start stoning people for going to Red Lobster for dinner.

    Well, the crazy thing (IMHO) about the Bible is, supposedly you must follow it perfectly, or it is all for naught. The least transgressor in ONE LITTLE THING (such as a damnable Red Lobster diner) burns in hell alongside Charles Manson, pedophile priests, etc.

    James 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.)
    (Deuteronomy 12:32 What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.

    Personally, that would make me want to not even TRY. Basically, Why the h#ll bother??

  • 41. bayareajohn  |  April 25, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    The BIBLE has been redefined by every generation of the church. What this generation declares tradition from all time, last generation (let alone hundreds before them) would find alien and heretical.
    The Bible was clear on supporting slavery, on preventing marriage between races, on preventing women from voting, and so many other things. Or so said those people who believed those things. If you lie holding up a Bible, Bible people don't question what you say… they've been taught not to question the church, as that's a pretty sure path to hell.

    Perhaps a shocking ad, with clips from history of prominent people claiming. screaming that the Bible says "xxxx" the things that average people today would scoff at… each one more offensive than the last…. finishing with "God hates Fags"… followed by a calm voice saying, "People have often used the Bible to support hate, division, and craziest things. They use it as a license to push their own agenda, because you've been taught not to question them if they say the Bible says it. Well, God gave us a brain and the ability to learn and grow. Learn. Grow."

  • 42. Reformed  |  April 25, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    This so so true. Look for the "sinners prayer" in the bible. Trust me, you won't find it. Find me one instance where are non believer prayed to God for salvation, asking him to come into their hearts. You wont find it, I should know, I spent 10 years in fundy elementary/ and 4 at fundy U. I would have noticed. I would think God would have been more clear about some things. Including how to get to heaven. Oh, wait, he was. It has just been rejected by most of todays "Christians" and replaced with something they made up. Again, thats . . . Where in the Bible to we find an instruction or example of someone praying for Jesus to come into their heart? I bring this up because we usually only challange the religious on the false view of Soddom, when we shold be able to question their beliefs in general when they bring out the Soddom line of thinking.

  • 43. Leo  |  April 25, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    I wouldn't focus on that detail. After all, they aren't claiming that God created the modern wedding ceremony in Genesis. The Bible calls Adam and Eve "man and his wife," so it evidently considers them married. (Not that I accept the Bible as a source of truth, but I think you were making an argument to those who do.)

  • 44. MightyAcorn  |  April 27, 2012 at 9:00 am

    The bible also "mentions" leaving the judging to god, and loving your neighbors as you love yourself. Oh yeah…and in Jesus' Big Five, bearing false witness is a hellfire crime. So watch yourself, MLR….your wobbly "research" on behalf of your worldly agenda is in direct contradiction to the bible's mandates, but you're clearly not a believer anyway or you'd know that already.

  • 45. MightyAcorn  |  April 27, 2012 at 9:03 am

    And that Jesus expressly spoke out against getting married at all. That's the facepalm moment for me.

  • 46. jennifer  |  May 5, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    leviticus 18:22 thou shall not lie with mankind,as with womankind it is abomination.

  • 47. Kate  |  May 6, 2012 at 6:41 am

    You're free to choose to believe in Bronze Age fairy tale books. You can also believe in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. Help yourself. Religion is a choice but that doesn't make reality.

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