Voters passed the North Carolina gay marriage amendment by a 22-point margin, 61% to 39% yesterday. Known as NC Amendment 1, the provision makes North Carolina the 30th state to add a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Amendment One defines in North Carolina that ′marriage′ can only be between a man and a woman. The Tar Heel state already had laws on the books banning same-sex unions since 1996. But supporters of the amendment claim that the law was vulnerable, as a judge or a simple majority vote in the state legislature could have overturned it. Now, with the passage of the amendment to the state constitution, only a three-fifths majority of the legislature could reverse the amendment.
The vote has national implications as North Carolina is a swing state for the November election. Barack Obama won the state in 2008. But can he do so again in 2012? Much ado has been made since a Sunday talkshow appearance of Joe Biden, who claims that Obama supports same-sex unions. In 2008, Obama drew a distinction between same-sex ′civil unions′ and marriage itself. Part of the reason Obama did as well as he did with Christian Evangelicals and Catholics in 2008 was his position that marriage was a religious sacrament, which takes the issue to a different level as opposed to a civil union ceremony.
Even among his strongest base of support, African-Americans, the issue is split nearly 50-50, as it is with most Americans across the political spectrum. So Obama′s reluctance to throw his full weight and support is a cause of concern for Liberal Democrats. Officially, Obama expressed disappointment with the results of yesterday′s vote in North Carolina. But it seems very clear that Obama will do all he can to avoid the subject during the campaign, especially with the state in play. Winning there′ along with other states like Virginia, will give Obama an edge in the electoral college, even such where winning states like Ohio or Florida are less important.
The ramifications of the North Carolina gay marriage amendment on the 2012 presidential election could be significant. Especially with voters passing NC Amendment 1 by such a wide margin, this could be a signal that Obama will have a difficult time winning the state again this year. Voters passed North Carolina Amendment One 61% to 39%. Barack Obama will trend softly on the issue of same-sex unions in order to have a chance to repeat his success of 2008.