N.C. Marriage Amendment

North Carolina will vote on an amendment to the state constitution on May 8, 2012.  A sample ballot is shown below.

The amendment has engendered a great deal of confusion, from what it is called (Amendment one, the marriage amendment, constitutional amendment) to what it will do (some favor the amendment because they think it will legalize gay marriage, when in fact it is designed to do the opposite). Further, it is quite broad, and even some who might favor a narrow limiting of same sex marriage are worried about what else this may do to contracts in North Carolina.

PPP polling’s latest has the amendment passing while an Elon poll suggests it will be defeated. A key issue is the sample frame used for fielding a poll: likely primary voters seem more likely to support the amendment, while broader swaths of the state are more likely to be opposed, so turnout will obviously be key. The Republican-controlled General Assembly passed the amendment with the support of enough Democrats to ensure that a veto by Governor Perdue (D) could be overridden, with the Democrats insisting the measure be placed on the ballot during the May primary and not the 2012 general election in return for their support. At that time it was assumed that Governor Perdue would be running for re-election, but she has since decided not to run, and a contested Democratic Governors race and the increased turnout that will bring may help to tip the balance against passage. A further unintended consequence from the perspective of the supporters of the amendment is that it has rallied liberal and progressive groups to be more focused on primary turnout than they otherwise would have been, in what amounts to a practice turnout opportunity for the November general election.

At Christmas, it seemed passage of Amendment One was inevitable. However,  it now seems an open question, and the outcome of the Amendment could provide some clues about the political climate in a crucial swing state won by President Obama by only 14,000 votes (out of 4.2 Million cast!) in 2008.

About Don Taylor
Professor of Public Policy at Duke University (with appointments in Business, Nursing, Community and Family Medicine, and the Duke Clinical Research Institute). I am one of the founding faculty of the Margolis Center for Health Policy, and currently serve as Chair of Duke's University Priorities Committee (UPC). My research focuses on improving care for persons who are dying, and I am co-PI of a CMMI award in Community Based Palliative Care. I teach both undergrads and grad students at Duke. On twitter @donaldhtaylorjr

4 Responses to N.C. Marriage Amendment

  1. Pingback: Why I voted against N.C. Amendment One « freeforall

  2. Pingback: Why I Voted Against North Carolina Amendment One « The Reality-Based Community

  3. Pingback: I Love North Carolina « freeforall

  4. Pingback: North Carolina Passes Amendment One « The Reality-Based Community

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