NC voters approve amendment to define marriage

North Carolina approves amendment
Signs in support of and against the Constitutional Marriage Amendment greet voters at a polling location at Leesville Road Middle School in Raleigh, N.C., Tuesday, May 8, 2012. A constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage is driving turnout in North Carolina' primary elections on Tuesday, but North Carolina voters are also choosing nominees for governor, 13 congressional districts, nine of the 10 Council of State positions and dozens of General Assembly seats.
AP Photo/Gerry Broome

By EMERY P. DALESIO and MARTHA WAGGONER
Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina voters approved a constitutional amendment on Tuesday defining marriage solely as a union between a man and a woman, making it the 30th state to adopt such a ban.

With 35 percent of precincts reporting Tuesday, unofficial returns showed the amendment passing with about 58 percent of the vote to 42 percent against.

In the final days before the vote, members of President Barack Obama's cabinet expressed support for gay marriage and former President Bill Clinton recorded phone messages urging voters to oppose the amendment.

Meanwhile, supporters had run their own ad campaigns and church leaders urged Sunday congregations to vote for the amendment. The Rev. Billy Graham, who at 93 remains influential even though his last crusade was in 2005, was featured in full-page newspaper ads supporting the amendment.

Both sides spent a combined $3 million on their campaigns.

North Carolina law already bans gay marriage, like nine other states, but an amendment would effectively slam the door shut on same-sex marriages. The amendment also goes beyond state law by voiding other types of domestic unions from carrying legal status, which opponents warn could disrupt protection orders for unmarried couples.

Six states - all in the Northeast except Iowa - and the District of Columbia allow sb, said even if the amendment is passed, it will be reversed as today's young adults age.

"It's a generational issue," Tillis told a student group at North Carolina State University in March about the amendment he supports. "If it passes, I think it will be repealed within 20 years."

The amendment also goes beyond state law by voiding other types of domestic unions from carrying legal status, which opponents warn could disrupt protection orders for unmarried couples.

"Also, that amendment is against women, I believe, because also underneath the amendment, other laws are saying that people who aren't married at all, they can't file for domestic abuse cases, if they're living with their significant other. Which is wrong," Toanone said.

In North Carolina, more than 500,000 voters had cast their ballot before Tuesday, which was more than the 2008 primary when Obama and Hillary Clinton were fighting for the Democratic presidential nomination. Both sides said that bodes well for them.

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Associated Press writers Allen G. Breed, Emery P. Dalesio and Gary D. Robertson contributed to this report.

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