Larger Turnout Expected for Primary Election
Explanation on Amendment One
The 2011 General Assembly approved a measure that would put language into the N.C. Constitution related to legally recognized marriages in the state.
The proposed amendment to Article 14 of the state constitution would add a new section, to be called Section 6. It would read as follows:
“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.”
The General Assembly also approved the language that voters will see on the ballot this spring as they consider this constitutional amendment: for or against.
“Constitutional amendment to provide that marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State.”
The Constitutional Amendments Publication Commission has approved language for an official explanation of the proposed amendment that can be provided to voters to assist them in understanding the amendment. The Commission has three members: Secretary of State Marshall, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper and George Hall, the General Assembly’s legislative services officer.
Here is the official explanation adopted by the commission:
“A current North Carolina law enacted in 1996 says that marriage between individuals of the same sex is not valid in North Carolina. This amendment would make that concept part of the North Carolina Constitution. If this amendment is passed by the voters, then under state law it can only be changed by another vote of the people.”
“The term ‘domestic legal union’ used in the amendment is not defined in North Carolina law.
“There is debate among legal experts about how this proposed constitutional amendment may impact North Carolina law as it relates to unmarried couples of same or opposite sex and same sex couples legally married in another state, particularly in regard to employment-related benefits for domestic partners; domestic violence laws; child custody and visitation rights; and end-of-life arrangements. The courts will ultimately make those decisions.
“The amendment also says that private parties may still enter into contracts creating rights enforceable against each other. This means that unmarried persons, businesses and other private parties may be able to enter into agreements establishing personal rights, responsibilities, or benefits as to each other.
“The courts will decide the extent to which such contracts can be enforced.”
Voters are heading to the polls today for the primary election, and a larger turnout is expected.
The polls opened at 6:30 a.m. today and will close at 7:30 p.m.
This year’s primary election has been keeping the county Board of Elections busy. There has been a big turnout for early voting, Elections Board Director Glenda M. Clendenin said.
“This week alone, every day we saw an increase in voters,” Clendenin said Friday morning. “On Monday we had 305, we had 350 on Tuesday — not sure about Wednesday, but yesterday there were 400.”
Early voting ended Saturday at noon, and Clendenin wanted to be sure voters know they will have to go to their precincts to vote in person on Election Day.
A bigger than usual primary turnout is expected. Parties will select their nominees for president and the U.S. House of Representatives.
Perhaps the most contentious issue on all ballots — no matter the political party — appears on the last page: a proposed amendment to the N.C. Constitution. It would “provide that marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state.”
State law already says marriages “between individuals of the same gender” are not valid in North Carolina “whether created by common law, contracted, or performed outside” of the state.
The amendment, if passed, would end legal recognition of domestic partnerships between unmarried opposite-sex couples as well as same-sex partnerships as currently recognized by some cities and counties through domestic partnership registries. 2010 census data shows 223,000 North Carolina couples living in domestic partnerships with 12 percent of those same-sex couples.
Proponents argue putting the prohibition in the state constitution will protect it from invalidation by courts and make it hard to change. Opponents say it will mire the state in federal litigation at great expense and condemn it as an attack on liberty.
Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum appear as presidential candidates on the Republican Party primary ballot. On Democratic Party primary ballots, just one name is in the top slot: President Obama. The Libertarian Party offers their voters a choice between nominating Roger Gary, R. J. Harris, Gary Johnson, Carl Person, Bill Still and Lee Wrights for president — but no candidates are offered for any other office on the Libertarian ballot.
On all the ballots, voters also have the option of selecting “no preference” as their presidential choice.
There is tough competition in both parties for nomination to the District 2 seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Democratic Party primary voters will choose between Toni Morris, Steve Wilkins and Jim Bibbs. Incumbent Renee Ellmers is facing Sonya Holmes, Clement F. Munno and Richard Speer for the GOP nomination.
Seeking Republican nomination for the state Senate — in the new District 29 Moore County is now in — are Tommy Davis, of Aberdeen, and John Marcum, of Pinehurst, who are challenging incumbent Sen. Jerry W. Tillman, of Randolph County.
No Democrat filed for that seat.
For governor, the Democratic Party will nominate Lt. Gov. Walter H. Dalton, Gary M. Dunn, Bob Etheridge, Bill Faison, Gardenia M. Henley or Bruce Blackmon. Six candidates are seeking the Republican nomination: Jim Harney, Scott A. Jones, Jim Mahan, Pat McCrory, Charles Kenneth Moss and Paul Wright.
Gov. Bev Perdue is not seeking another term in office.
Democrats will nominate either Eric L. Mansfield or Linda D. Coleman for lieutenant governor. Five Republicans are seeking their party’s nomination for that office: Dale Folwell, Dan Forest, Tony Gurley, Grey Mills, and Arthur Jason Rich.
In other Democratic Party races, primary voters will choose Walter Smith or Scott Bryant as nominee for N.C. commissioner of agriculture. Their candidates for nomination as N.C. commissioner of labor are Marlowe Foster, Ty Richardson and John C. Brooks. Ron Elmer and Janet Cowell are seeking nomination for state treasurer on the Democratic ticket.
On Republican primary ballots there are five seeking the state auditor slot: Joseph Hank DeBragga, Greg Dority, Debra Goldman, Fern Shubert, and Rudy Wright. For state commissioner of agriculture, Republican primary voters will pick Bill McManus or Steve Troxler. Moore County’s Richard Morgan is facing James McCall and Mike Causey for the GOP nomination as commissioner of insurance.
Also on the Republican ballot:
- The choice as nominee for N.C. secretary of state is between A. J. Daoud, Kenn Gardner, Ed Goodwin, and Michael (Mike) Beitler.
- Contestants for state superintendent of public instruction are Ray Ernest Martin, David Scholl, John Tedesco, Richard Alexander, and Mark Crawford.
- Contestants for state treasurer are Frank Roche and Steve Royal.
Contact John Chappell at (910) 783-5841 or email@example.com.
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