Minnesota isn’t the only state facing a push to write marriage discrimination into its state constitution this year. The same battle is playing out in the state of North Carolina, and now, as Karen Ocamb reports, a marriage equality heavyweight has announced plans to campaign on behalf of amendment opponents:
Renowned conservative Republican attorney and marriage equality hero Ted Olson is going to Greensboro, North Carolina on April 1 for a rally to help defeat the antigay initiative Amendment One. The proposed antigay constitutional amendment on the ballot for the May 8 Republican Primary would not only ban marriage rights for same sex couples but would prohibit recognition of all same sex unions.
Yup, you read that correctly. North Carolina Republicans want this victory so badly they’ve placed it on the ballot on the same day as the state’s Republican primary, juuuuust to ensure that voters from the virulently anti-gay right-wing GOP base — whom I’ve lately taken to calling “Stone Age conservatives” — turn out in droves to pass the amendment. As Ocamb points out, Olson’s appearance is intended to send a message to southern conservatives that support for marriage equality can and should be a bipartisan issue, and to counter the presence of several high-profile bigots:
The coalition campaign opposing Amendment One hope Olson’s appearance will move Republicans, considering the expected large turnout for the Republican Primary, and counter the National Organization for Marriage and Religious Right heavyweight Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, which has launched a “Values” bus tour that NC resident and blogger Pam Spaulding notes lures kids with candy to get attention for their antigay message.
While it’s looking like an uphill battle for marriage equality in North Carolina (hardly unusual for marriage discrimination amendments), opponents are buoyed by the results of a recent poll, which shows that 54% of North Carolinians don’t want to amend their state constitution to exclude same-sex couples from marriage or any other type of relationship recognition. Of course, there’s always that pesky social desirability bias, but it’s hard to deny that those numbers are a good sign and send a powerful message.