Could North Carolina Reject Ban on Marriage Equality?

Could North Carolina Reject Ban on Marriage Equality? September 5, 2011

North Carolina lawmakers are trying to put a referendum on the ballot next year to amend the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage, but recent polls suggest that it could actually lose at the polls.

Fifty-six percent (56%) of North Carolina voters oppose or strongly oppose an amendment to the state constitution that would ban same-sex marriage, a five-point jump in the last two years, according to a February 2011

Elon University Poll, a non-partisan polling service.

The poll also showed a strong majority (57%) of North Carolinians support marriage or civil unions for same-sex couples, revealing a dramatic 9% increase in public support for marriage equality in only two years. This result mirrors two separate polls conducted by Public Policy Polling in March and July that also reveal majority support of legal recognitions for same-sex couples.

If that state rejected such an amendment by a vote of the people, that could be a huge turning point in the whole battle.

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  • abb3w

    This would be remarkable, especially considering where NC sits on Nate Silver’s projections from three months ago.

  • cholten99

    Curse you Abb3w – that’s 2 mins of googling for Mr Silver that I’ll never get back again ;-).

    Yes, you can say many things about modern communication networks but they have radically speeded up the ability to influence people (for good as well as ill, natch).

  • quiddity42

    I’m pretty sure the majority has opposed the ban for a while. A friend in NC says that’s OK though because the elected officials know who votes and they have acted correctly in supporting the ban. Majority be damned.

  • Modusoperandi

    If that state rejected such an amendment by a vote of the people, that could be a huge turning point in the whole battle.

    Exactly. Typical Liberal, advocating Tyranny of the Majority. Just like Hitler!

    That’s why, to protect Marriage™, America and Freedom and America needs a Constitutional amendment banning homomarriage.

  • slc1

    I hate to rain on Mr. Brayton’s parade but I would remind folks that polls taken in California showed Prop. 8 going down to defeat. How did that work out?

  • donkensler

    Unfortunately, I wouldn’t want to start a campaign on same-sex marriage with less than 60-65% of people polled opposing the prohibition. Just look at what happened in California. At the start of the campaign, something like 58 or 59% opposed Prop 8, and it passed. There will be millions of dollars in TV ads aimed at convincing people that not making same-sex marriage illegal will lead to kindergarten teachers instructing their students on gay sex techniques, and the ban will pass. 56% just isn’t enough to withstand that onslaught.

  • Michael Heath

    donkensler’s fine point should be considered. However, it should also be noted that a new variable exists for least part of the ’12 electoral season, if not the entire season right through to election day on the first Tuesday – Nov-2012. That variable is the fact we have two Mormon presidential candidates, including one whose a favorite to win the GOP nomination and therefore be present for the entire season. That’s important because it was the Mormon Church who was the most effective financier of getting Prop. 8 passed in CA.

    Would the Mormon Church put relatively comparable money and resources into NC in the ’12 season if it compromised their ability to get one of their own nominated to run as the GOP candidate and elected as President? If this were 2004 I would argue it would be to their advantage to lead for an anti-gay amendment in one or several of the states. They’d be demonstrating their fealty to the Christianist movement and its goals. However the 2012 challenge appears to not revolve around getting out the conservative vote like it did in 2004, but instead suppressing the young, poor, black, and Hispanic vote and getting a fair share of the independent vote. In that environment the latter factor might cause them to avoid getting involved in the NC campaign, especially since NC is one of the few key swing-states the GOP presidential candidate has to take if it were to beat Obama.

    I think donkensler’s point, whether consciously or not, also assumes the pro-gay marriage camp has learned nothing about politics since 2008 that would help them better compete against the anti-gay bigots. I think that’s a safe assumption, which is depressingly ironic given the resulting federal trial revealed the anti-gay bigots have no valid arguments defending their bigotry.

  • bodie425

    As a life-long Tarheel, I’m not too hopeful that reason will win the day. North Carolinians do trend more liberal that the deeper south states but we also (me included–once) voted Jesse Helms into office for 36 years. But, when I look back over my 48 years, I see distinct, undeniable progress. We may loose this battle but the war rages on. The GLBT community is no longer cowering in closets and congregating only in bars.

    As for the inexorable progress of GLBTs and Atheists in NC, I AM hopeful!

  • marymallone

    I wonder if some of the people who are opposed to an amendment are actually against gay marriage, but are even more opposed to an amendment of the state constitution.

  • If you’re in the area, make sure you vote. I’d rather not see optimistic news like this get shot down because some fundies managed to squeeze out a higher percentage of their block.

  • Taz

    I’m still embarrassed that Michigan passed an anti-SSM amendment. I wonder when that will be corrected?

  • fsamuels

    I’m encourage by the poll numbers, but I don’t see how voting the amendment down is much of a turning point. I see it more as a setback averted. SSM is already banned in NC so it is nothing more than politics by the recently elected Republicans. Hopefully we can get rid of them in 2012 for this and all the other social issues they have been legislating on instead of economic issues that brought them to office.

  • bananacat

    The cynic in me thinks that rich groups of bigots from other states will toss tons of money into advertising to skew the actual election, just like they did in CA. Hopefully NC is a small enough state to escape their notice.

  • donkensler

    Michael Heath:

    I’m not sure whether our (I’m gay, so I can call it “our”) side has learned anything about politics since ’08, but it seems to me there’s a limited amount we can do to counteract the lies, because some of the accusations put us in a “when did you stop beating your wife?” trap. And there’s only so much advertising mileage we can get out of the sweet older lesbian couples, with or without children.


    I’m a Michiganian too, and it goes way beyond embarrassment. I doubt there will ever be a day when two-thirds of each house of the Michigan legislature will vote to repeal the infamous section of the constitution (ironically placed in the first Article, headed “Rights of the People”), so that leaves a petition drive, and that depends on someone pulling together the money to fund it. So I think the answer is it will take a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court at some time in the future. Remember Michigan still has a sodomy law on the books; it took the Lawrence decision to make that one unenforceable.


    Unfortunately, I don’t think any state is so small as to be beneath their notice. I fully expect the airwaves in both NC and MN (remember there’s an amendment on the ballot there nexxt year) to be chock full of anti-gay ads next fall.

  • Chris from Europe

    I doubt that a state with more than 9 million people is beneath their notice.

  • Michael Heath

    The 2012 Democratic National Convention is being held in Charlotte, NC: