Opponents Organize in Moore County to Defeat Marriage Amendment
A room full of opponents – gay and straight – gathered this afternoon at the Southern Pines Civic club to organize an effort to defeat a state constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriages.
Amendment One, as it is called, will be on the ballot when North Carolina voters go to the polls May 8 for the primary elections.
Wearing blue “Vote Against One” buttons, they heard volunteers from Moore Against Amendment One explain the use of phone banks and other strategies to have the amendment defeated. They will begin right away calling registered voters to explain the amendment and urge them to vote against it.
“In this referendum, every single vote will count,” said Michael Edwards, who led the meeting. “We are going to be calling people that are most likely to support our position on this amendment.”
It is a short seven-week commitment they are seeking from local residents willing to work put in some time to help defeat it. When Edwards asked how many would be willing to spend one evening of their time, every hand in the room went up.
“This is a really bad thing, people!” Edwards said. “This is why all of you are here. I can call 10 people in the time it takes to talk to neighbors on each side of me. Phone banking is vital if we are going to make a difference in Moore County. Yes, everybody in this room should talk to their neighbors – that’s canvassing.”
Edwards told of phoning neighbors – Roman Catholics – with the expectation they might not know about the amendment. They did, and he said their answer surprised him.
“Michael, let me stop you right there,” the lady said. “We don’t know what the church’s position is, but we will be voting for freedom.”
Edwards fears much support for what he sees as pure discrimination comes from his own Republican Party.
“When people go into that voting booth, I think people know – at the top of the ticket – what they are going to do,” he said. “On an issue like Amendment One, I think it will make a difference to have a presence at the polls. There are key times: opening to around 9 o’clock, from three, when kids get out of school, to closing. If we could have residents of a precinct handing a piece of paper asking them to vote against this, we could make a difference. We have six weeks to get that organization in place.”
Captains and co-captains will organize each precinct across the county.
“We will get volunteers from making phone calls,” he said.
This meeting was intended as a beginning, with one roomful expected to grow to hundreds of local residents fighting against the first change ever proposed to the Constitution of North Carolina that would limit civil rights, Edwards said.
“This is an organizational meeting to fight discrimination in our state and our county,” Edwards said. “We can beat this amendment if everyone here will talk to just five people, we can defeat it.”
Moore Against Amendment One is registered as a political organization and can accept donations from both individuals and companies. There are no limits to the amount that can be contributed, unlike contributions made to candidates for public office or political parties.
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