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Opponents of North Carolina marriage equality ban kick off outreach at colleges

Marriage equality

By Jacob Combs

North Carolina’s marriage equality vote will be the first electoral challenge for gay marriage this year, with the question set to go to voters on May 8.  This week, the fight began: proponents of the ban kicked off their campaign on Monday, and its opponents will respond in kind this weekend, stumping at colleges across the state to register voters and build support for a coalition to defeat the ballot amendment in May.  Opponents of the measure were in Cullowhee today, home of Western Carolina University, and will head to Ashville tomorrow and Sunday.

As Seth from Maryland pointed out in the comments yesterday, the recent announcement by North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue, a Democrat, that she would not be seeking reelection has changed the calculus for the May election.  Perdue has been a vocal opponent of the amendment, arguing that it should not be up to the voters to decide.  Democrats in the state worried that that having the ballot on the November election could help Republicans in the presidential and gubernatorial races, so the date was moved up to May.  Many observers believed the ban would pass, since the May election would most likely see a high Republican turnout for the presidential primaries and a lower one for Democrats faced with uncontested candidates for president and governor.

Now, the race for the Democratic gubernatorial candidate is wide open, and the May election will be a competitive one for Democrats as well as Republicans.  This could bring out more voters in support of marriage equality, causing the ban to fail.

The North Carolina amendment holds symbolic as well as political significance–the state is the last in the South without an explicit ban on same-sex marriage.  A win for one side means the South would have a clean sweep against marriage equality; a win for the other would be a marked pronouncement by the electorate rejecting such a ban.


  • 1. Sagesse  |  January 27, 2012 at 3:27 pm


  • 2. 415kathleenk  |  January 27, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    anybody taken a look at Nate Silver's website to see if he has a statistical analysis?

  • 3. Jamie  |  January 27, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    2012 marriage amendment has 53% -66% chance of passing in North Carolina according to Nate's analysis. Anyone who thinks that this can be defeated, I think, is deluding themselves. The one bright spot is that this amendment is likely to negatively impact straight couples because it is so broad. Making that point clear is the only way to defeat it.

  • 4. be4marriage  |  January 29, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    Agreed. I also think that kicking off their outreach at college campuses shows just how naive the campaign is. Pinning all your hopes on the notoriously fickle (at least when it comes to them actually showing up to vote) college crowd probably won't work. This campaign should stress the devastating affects that this amendment will have of straight residents, from affecting retired straight couples to the fact the Bank of America has all but said that they intend to move operations to from North Carolina to New York if it passes.

  • 5. reddecatur  |  January 27, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    *crosses fingers* We certainly need a shot in the arm like that.

  • 6. Fred  |  January 27, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    I just heard last night that Bev Purdue wasn't going to run. This came as a surprise to everyone, and left Democrats scrambling to come up with an alternative that has organization and money behind them. Many were bewildered. But the realization that this could have a very positive impact on the amendment to ban marriage equality by forcing Democrats to the polls makes me wonder if this was part of her intent. I like to think so. FYI – I live in Charlotte, NC.

  • 7. _BK_  |  January 27, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    Please be sure to talk to as many people possible. (:

  • 8. thark  |  January 27, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    NoM "Preyed" to "protect marriage"…and it looks like God thought "swell: I wll protect marriage now…"


    (for ALL of us!)

    then…IT GOT BETTER!

    (funny how that all works out…)

  • 9. thark  |  January 27, 2012 at 9:21 pm


    (the Antigays will have conniption fits…ALL THE WAY TO NOVEMBER!)

  • 10. _BK  |  January 28, 2012 at 2:20 am

    Can posts be deleted here? Because I've posted something twice… and there was nothing uncivil about my posts…?

  • 11. _BK_  |  January 28, 2012 at 5:20 am

    Ok, seriously. What's going on? I reposted my message and it was removed after a few minutes! All the post included was a link to NOMblog's article on marriage equality being repealed in New Hampshire on February first. Is that a no-no for discussion? Please explain.

  • 12. bythesea  |  January 29, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    I don't think there would be a problem for the discussion. Perhaps linking directly to NOMblog is disallowed for some reason?

  • 13. _BK_  |  January 29, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    That must have something to do with it, because my three other posts that included a link were completely erased within a few minutes of their posting. They weren't even in the "most recent comments" bar on the right hand side of the page. The most disconcerting thing is that there has been no information given by those who moderate the comments. :

  • 14. Marta  |  January 29, 2012 at 10:16 pm

    I'm pretty sure that I've clicked on direct links to nomblog from comments here in the past… but I don't have any better ideas either.

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