[5.9.12 Raleigh, North Carolina]---On Tuesday, North Carolina voted an overwhelming "yes" to a Constitutional amendment that bans gay marriage.
Same-sex marriage was already illegal in the state, but this vote now closes the door tightly shut by constitutionally defining marriage as solely between a man and a woman. This is the 31st state to vote yes on such an amendment.
Only six states have legalized same-sex marriage. New York was the latest state to join Iowa, Vermont, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Connecticut to give equal rights for legal nuptials. Same-sex marriage also is legal in the District of Colombia. Vice President Joe Biden surprisingly stepped into the Gay marriage rights fight, saying on television last week that he supports gays and lesbians right to legally marry. This has put the Obama administration on blast--namely shining a glaring spotlight on President Obama's stance on the subject. Many same-sex voters who supported him in 2008 say he has reneged on promises made and is strandling the fence on marriage rights. The president has said openly that he supports civil unions but stops short of supporting marriage.
Nonetheless, Gay and lesbian advocacy groups say they are not shrinking from a fight and are reportedly gearing up for battle on Wednesday. Campaigns are planned to be held across the state in protest. Director for Campaign for Southern Equality, Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, reportedly said that although they cannot change the results of the recent vote, "they can determine what comes next."
However, of the other 30 states to pass such a referandum, none have been overturned. Critics of the Amendment say North Carolina gave the majority a chance to vote against the minority which is a clear civil rights violation. According to a CNN report, one young resident, 23-year-old Tori Taylor who voted against the Amendment, said that it was "a very sad day in North Carolina." Adding that a lot of his friends were young college professionals who "are integrated to that culture" and felt that his friends should have the same rights as everyone else.
Another resident who voted against the marriage ban, 33-year-old Anne Fawcett of Greensboro, reportedly said that North Carolina had just written descrimination into the Constitution, while giving "the majority a chance to vote against the minority."
Supporters of the Amendment don't see it that way, saying they are not anti-gay and lesbian, just "pro-traditional marriage." President of the Family Research Council Tony Perkins who backed the amendment, thinks the yes vote showed that the most North Carolina residents supported traditional marriage, adding that the majority of Americans wanted to see it, "strengthened and preserved for future generations."
Experts are worried that the wording of this law is too vague and may affect hetereosexual couples as well. Kathryn Bradley, a professor at Duke University reportedly said that unmarried couples living together might be more inclined to have child custody and domestic violence issues under this new amendment.
Bradley added that it can also undermine same-sex civil unions in that state, for they could potentially lose benefits now provided by some municipalities.
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