by Max Brantley
A strong campaign in opposition has produced some encouragement that North Carolina voters might defeat an anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment.
As happened in Arkansas, the amendment is about far more than "marriage," but about ending any sort of permissible civil domestic arrangement, with potentially harmful consequences including for some unmarried heterosexual couples. Same-sex marriage is already prohibited by North Carolina law and will remain so, pass or fail.
The key word is "marriage." Though growing majorities in the U.S. express support for civil unions, the word marriage remains a powerful vote mover. Opponents of equal rights for sexual minorities understand this perfectly and use the word as a wedge to further discriminate against sexual minorities. Surveying shows people in North Carolina haven't fully understood what the pending proposal is about. There's some evidence an opposition campaign is beginning to break through. Can North Carolina break the string of successes for constitutional discrimination? Seems unlikely, but at least there are some encouraging signs.
The “against side” [pollster Tom] Jensen alluded to is the Coalition to Protect NC Families, the organization powering the opposition campaign. On Monday, the coalition debuted its first two television ads with the intention of purchasing more air time before the May 8 vote. One ad features a mother who expresses fear over her daughter potentially losing health insurance benefits if Amendment One passes, while the other spot centers around a victim of domestic violence who explains how passage of the amendment could preclude her from legal protections against her former significant other. Both ads encapsulate the opposition campaign’s central message: the amendment would yield sweeping implications. Jeremy Kennedy, campaign manager for the Coalition to Protect NC Families, told TPM that he has tirelessly stressed that point to voters.