Amendment One Passes by Wide Margin
Moore County voters joined the rest of the state in overwhelmingly approving a change to the state constitution to make marriage between a man and a woman the only state-recognized legal union.
The constitution of North Carolina now says that "marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state" - a change opponents say uses vague untested language like "domestic legal union" not found anywhere else in law.
Unofficial returns had more than two-thirds of county voters supporting the amendment - voting 828 to 385 to add its language to the state constitution. Across North Carolina it passed by a somewhat slimmer margin of 1,229,403 to 776,090 according to returns with 62 counties reporting.
A local Republican businessman, Michael Edwards, led the opposition to Amendment One in Moore County. Despite its passage here and across the state, Edwards said he was not discouraged.
"We are proud that we in Moore County changed a lot of hearts and minds, not only here but in the state," Edwards said. "I am extremely proud of the different kinds of people from all walks of life that took a united and dedicated stand against discrimination."
Edwards is convinced that the tides of time are with those who fought this change.
"I believe we stood on the side of love," he said. "I believe we are on the right side of history. That's why we haven't really lost. It is only a matter of time until we win, even as the other side desperately flails to turn back the clock to a dark time of bullying and intimidation. We made a presence in Moore County. There is no question that we are part of this community."
Amendment One opponents gathered in Pinehurst at the Magnolia Inn to wait for election returns. Edwards is certain most who voted for it did not fully realize what it does.
"At The Magnolia there were a hundred people here; we had representation from every precinct - every single one of the 26 precincts in Moore County," Edwards said. "Our focus was Moore County. The one thing I saw in 17 precincts I visited today was tremendous confusion, and that most did not understand that this will outlaw domestic partnerships which most people support. If language making that clear had been in the amendment, we would have defeated it by a landslide."
Moore County Register of Deeds Judy Martin said earlier in the day that state law already does not recognize any marriage other than between one man and one woman even if legal in another state. Her office issues marriage licenses and she could not legally issue one to a same sex couple whether this amendment had passed or failed.
"I don't think it is going to change anything," Martin said.
In other races on the primary ballot, Moore County Republican voters overwhelmingly nominated Mitt Romney for president and Pat McCrory for governor; so did the rest of the state. Democratic primary voters statewide voted to nominate President Barack Obama for a second term and sided with Bob Etheridge over Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton as their party's nominee for governor, while Moore County voters preferred Dalton by about the same margin.
Richard Morgan, another prominent local Republican, was leading in the race for insurance commissioner both here and across the state. He is likely headed for a runoff with Mike Cause.
Amendment One may not have been the sole reason for voters to come out, but it certainly was an important issue to many who voted today.
"It is something that I felt very strongly about," said Jean McAfee, who voted at Pinehurst's Village Hall. "I know our vote matters."
When asked if she would have voted today if Amendment One wasn't on the ballot she said, "probably not."
Said Eleanor Levitsky: "As a rule I don't vote in primaries. I voted today because I felt strongly about the amendent."
Matt Lanier wore a black T-shirt with "No." in white on the front. He said he came out to vote on the amendment. When asked if one could read into how he voted by his shirt, he smiled and said, "Of course you can."
Evan Lyne passed out anti-Amendment One literature at the Village Hall polling place for about eight hours Tuesday. Openly gay, Lyne said the issue has "become his life" in recent months. "I feel they are trying to write bigotry into the constitution."
Lyne, who lives in Moore County, said many who came by were civil to him and either accepted the information, or politely declined.
When he offered material to Irene Graham she told him, "My mind's made up, God helped me do that."
After she exited the polls, Graham said: "We regularly vote, but Amendment One definitely brought us out here today."
In Southern Pines, Henry Tellez and his wife, Jackie, both said voting on Amendment One was important to them, and had it not been on the ballot they likely would have waited until November to vote.
"It is important because of the preservation of family," Henry Tellez said.
Southern Pines residents Jimmy and Doris Hunsucker said Amendment One was a big issue for them too.
"It was an easy decision," Jimmy Hunsucker said. "We're Christians and we think it is wrong to be the other way."
Judy added: "We just don't approve of that."
Exiting the Douglass Center in Southern Pines, Kay Wilkerson said she always comes out to vote to do her civic duty, but she also wanted to make sure she voted on Amendment One.
"I wanted to vote on it, but it wasn't my reason for voting."
Senior Writer Tom Embrey contributed to this report.
Contact John Chappell at ( 910) 783-5841 or email@example.com.
More like this story