By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
RALEIGH — Marriage is between one man and one woman — a definition that Tar Heel voters have now inserted into the State Constitution thanks to Tuesday’s historic referendum. As of 11:45 p.m., as unofficial results from all 100 counties were reported, the Marriage Protection Amendment had garnered more than 61 percent of the vote.
“Today is a great day for marriage — a great day for North Carolina — and a great day for America!” the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League proclaimed Tuesday night at the Vote FOR Marriage celebration at the North Raleigh Hilton.
Some half a million people cast ballots before the May 8 election, breaking state records for early voting in a primary. And more than $3 million was spent by promoters and opponents to get out their messages during the eight-month campaign. Ultimately the question would be decided by more than a third (34.33 percent) of qualified voters. The amendment was most popular in rural counties such as Graham, where 89 percent of voters approved it, and opposed in more urban areas like Wake and Mecklenburg counties, where it lost by roughly 5 percent. Orange County represented a pocket of opposition at 79 percent opposed; followed closely by Durham County, where only 30 percent of voters said yes to marriage protection.
“The campaign to protect marriage in this state as one man and one woman has traveled a long, long journey to victory,” the Rev. Creech said.
He reminded celebrants that for more than eight years legislation was introduced to allow North Carolinians to vote on this critical question and it was only in September of 2011 that new leadership at the Legislature put the measure on the ballot so that the Tar Heel state could join 30 others that protect marriage in their state constitutions.
He said the push to protect marriage faced many obstacles, not the least of which were detractors at the White House and the Governor’s mansion, outspoken and big-spending Hollywood celebrities and even some misguided ministers who opposed the measure.
“The opposition outraised pro-amendment forces in funds by a 2 to 1 margin and spent twice as much money on TV ads — ads that were false and egregiously misleading — ads based on fear and not facts,” Dr. Creech said.
“But tonight, what we have seen is that despite this incredible mountain of opposition, now we know what the people of this state believe,” he added. “They believe that the definition of marriage comes from God – that there are no substitutes for marriage. They believe that marriage is foundational to our culture and that it is an institution of such profound significance, its fate should not be left to the unbelieving or uninformed notions of activist judges or legislators. Marriage and how we define it should be something left to ‘We the people.’”
While the statewide margin for the Marriage Protection Amendment was 61 to 39 percent, a closer look at county-by-county results showed that 90 of 100 Tar Heel counties passed the amendment with a higher than 61 percent margin. In fact, in 17 counties it passed with more than 80 percent of the vote and won 70 percent or more in 64 counties. The Amendment was strongest in Graham, Alexander, Columbus and Robeson counties where it topped the 85 percent mark. Only in seven counties was it rejected: Orange, Durham, Wake, Chatham, Buncombe, Mecklenburg and Watauga. The vote was closest in New Hanover and Guilford counties where the Amendment barely passed.
Representatives of Vote FOR Marriage NC, a coalition of organizations working together for the amendment, had explained to voters across the state that although North Carolina already had strong marriage statutes, without the one man/one woman definition in the Constitution, the Tar Heel state (the only one in the Southeast without a marriage protection amendment) remained a target for same-sex marriage activism.
While opponents accused amendment supporters of being intolerant and insisted that altering the Constitution would scare away businesses and void domestic violence laws, among other “unintended consequences,” many Tar Heel pastors led their churches to stand firmly on God’s definition for marriage. A number of county and municipal boards and non-profit organizations adopted resolutions in support of marriage. And ministry leaders, including the Rev. Billy Graham took a strong stand for the Biblical view of marriage.
Dr. Creech said the victory does not simply belong to the people of the campaign of Vote for Marriage NC, “but it belongs more to the people of North Carolina. More importantly, glory and praise for this triumph belongs to God, the One to whom marriage belongs.”