North Carolina voters on Tuesday overwhelming approved a measure to add an amendment to the state constitution defining marriage as the union of between one man and one woman.
That means that of the 32 states that have allowed voters to define marriage, all 32 have chosen to retain the traditional meaning. North Carolina’s Marriage Protection Amendment passed 61 to 39 percent, with approval from 93 of 100 counties.
President Obama called the results “disappointing,” just hours before declaring — for the first time since ascending to the White House — his support for same-sex marriage. He is the first sitting U.S. president to do so.
“I’ve been going through an evolution on this issue. I’ve always been adamant that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally,” he told ABC. “At a certain point, I just concluded that for me, personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think that same-sex couples should be able to get married.”
Vice President Joe Biden and Education Secretary Arne Duncan may have forced the president’s admission when they said in separate interviews released this week they support same-sex marriage.
Princeton University Prof. Robbie George said Obama’s announcement immediately alters the 2012 presidential race.
“The effect is profoundly important nationally,” said George. “The issue could have remained closeted at the state level. But once the president made the shift, a clear distinction between (Republican Mitt) Romney and Obama engaged at the national level.”
Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee, opposes same-sex marriage.
CitizenLink President Jim Daly said Obama’s fully-evolved position ignores the will of the people, as North Carolina’s vote shows.
“President Obama’s announcement that he has changed his position and now personally supports same-sex marriage is disappointing,” Daly said. “This is obviously a hot-button political issue on which there is much disagreement nationwide, and people of good faith will come to different conclusions. But the presidency comes with a bully pulpit that ought to be used with respect for the will of the people — and the will of the people on this issue is crystal clear.”
Several other states are scheduled to let voters define marriage this fall. In Maine, they will vote on a ballot measure creating same-sex marriage; in 2009, residents voted to repeal a same-sex marriage law passed by the legislature.
Meanwhile, in Washington, voters will have an opportunity to repeal a law creating same-sex marriage signed by the governor earlier this year. An effort to put a similar referendum on the ballot is under way in Maryland.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Learn more about the North Carolina Family Policy Council.
For more information about why marriage is important, read the CitizenLink analysis titled “30 Years of Research That Tell Us, ‘A Child Deserves a Mother and a Father’ ”