One important part of the session was decided not at the General Assembly, but at polling places across the state. In May, North Carolinians went to the polls in overwhelming numbers to vote for an amendment to our state’s Constitution that affirms marriage between one man and one woman.
With the passage of the amendment, the state Constitution now states that “Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State. This section does not prohibit a private party from entering into contracts with another private party; nor does this section prohibit courts from adjudicating the rights of private parties pursuant to such contracts.”
Conservatives emerged victorious after a lengthy battle to add such an amendment to the Constitution. For years, a Marriage Protection Amendment (MPA) had been introduced in the General Assembly only to be immediately shot down by Democratic majorities. The tide turned in 2010, however, when Republicans gained control in both the House and Senate. Republican leaders kept their long-established promises to voters and pushed for the amendment’s passage in the chambers and in the subsequent ballot initiative.
The implications of the amendment’s passage are significant. North Carolina voters of all ethnic, religious, racial, and political backgrounds united to vote for the Marriage Amendment, proving that some social issues do actually unite citizens. Out of North Carolina’s 100 counties, only eight failed to secure majority support for the amendment. Overall, 61 percent (1,306,409) of North Carolina voters backed the measure, while 39 percent (833,120) voted against it. It should be noted that supporters of the Marriage Amendment were outspent by a 2-to-1 margin, with those opposing the amendment spending $2.3 million to $1.1 million spent by supporters.
For some time, North Carolina was the sole Southern state without an MPA. Homosexual activists had long targeted North Carolina, seeking to redefine marriage here. With the passage of the Marriage Amendment, their job just got harder. While our state did have an existing law prohibiting gay marriage, the law was theoretically only one lawsuit away from being challenged and overturned by activist judges. That is what has happened in some other states that lacked an MPA.
While traditional marriage remains under fire in our nation, North Carolinians stayed true to their values amidst an onslaught of attacks and opposition from the Left. In so doing, they achieved their long-sought-after goal of preserving marriage as we have always known it by adding an MPA to the state’s Constitution.