Most North Carolinians oppose Amendment One

Slightly more than a month before North Carolinians vote on a same-sex marriage ban, it is clear that most residents think that gay couples should be accorded some sort of legal recognition. And that position is gaining ground.

The Elon University Poll results released today show that 61% of North Carolinians say they oppose an amendment that would prevent any same sex marriages, domestic partnerships or civil unions.

On the May ballot is a constitutional amendment that reads, ““Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State.”

In fact, support for full marriage rights for same sex couples (38%) or support for civil unions or partnerships for same-sex couples (29%) among the state’s residents continues to increase over the four cycles since September 2011 that we have asked the question. Opposition to any legal recognition for same-sex couples continues to decrease and is now at 29%.

The results confirm a recent Politico article that suggests this isn’t the best issue for Republicans these days.

It’s not like the GOP has become a bastion of progressiveness on gay rights, but there has been an evolution in the political approach — and an acknowledgment of a cultural shift in the country. Same-sex relationships are more prominent and accepted. There are more gay public figures — including politicians — and it’s likely that many Washington Republicans have gay friends and coworkers. Just as important — there’s also a libertarian streak of acceptance on people’s sexuality coursing through the House Republican Conference….

But there’s also a political strategy at work: The economy has displaced moral issues in today’s politics. Ask most House Republicans today if they have deep convictions about gay relationships, and it hardly registers.

In North Carolina, conservatives have not shown uniform support for the amendment. House Speaker Thom Tillis said he expected the amendment to pass…and then be repealed within 20 years. Richard Vinroot, former Republican candidate for governor, said he opposed the amendment. John Hood, president of the conservative John Locke Foundation,  called the amendment “unwise and unfair.”

It is worth noting, however, that the Elon University Poll is not a poll of North Carolina residents, not of likely voters.

– John Robinson

25 responses to “Most North Carolinians oppose Amendment One

  1. Rhonda Moore

    How much more biased can your poll possibly be? Why are you so afraid of using the actual ballot language? Won’t you be embarrassed when this passes on May 8 overwhelmingly?

    Interesting how you conveniently forgot to mention the section which states “this section does not prevent a private party from entering into contracts with another private party.” All you say is that it “prevents” something. If you know anything about polling, which you clearly do not, then you know that asking leading questions is going to get you the answer that you obviously want.

    The Elon poll has proven itself to be a joke and I’ll be sure to let people know why. These results are meaningless if they can’t actually predict what the outcome will be. It is going to pass with at least 60%. Wise up.

    • Thanks, Rhonda.

      Other polls use the actual ballot language, which is fine. We welcome that because it helps all of us understand what North Carolinians are thinking. We are contributing a different piece of the discussion. We are trying to determine what North Carolina residents think about the issues involved.

      The Elon University Poll does not predict electoral outcomes.

      • Colby Brenton

        With all due respect, the posting says “Most North Carolinians Oppose Amendment One,” which would be misleading by your own admission and according to the facts. Polling across the board shows strong support for Amendment One, and since you didn’t use the ballot language, you didn’t actually even poll residents on it.

        The question you poised to voters is akin to asking something like: “Would you vote for a presidential candidate who supports big corporations over the middle class and wants to take contraception away from women?” Of course when framed that way, instead of “Would you support Mitt Romney for president?,” voters will say no, even if they intend to vote for Mitt Romney in the end.

        The question framed in the paragraph above was clearly biased and based on personal opinion, just like the way you asked the marriage amendment question. See the problem?

        I understand the perspective of doing things differently than some other pollsters, but with this issue, what is even the point? People want to know if the amendment will pass; they don’t care about hypotheticals. Your poll results will be viewed as a predictor of the actual results, right or wrong.

        I may be mistaken but it does seem like you guys have taken a side on this issue and are trying to push it via false polling…

  2. George Dukes III

    Um, not a poll of NC residents or likely voters? Who is this a poll of?

  3. Elon’s poll results will be blown out of the water come May 9 when Amendment One passes overwhelmingly. Most people in NC still understand that the only normal, healthy relationship that should be enshrined in law as MARRIAGE, is the only relationship that has EVER been called marriage. Those that would redefine marriage to include sub-optimal and abnormal relationships, are lying to promote legislation of an endorsement of their lifestyle choice.

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  5. Why is that the people who express support for NC Amendment 1 always come appear to be so filled with hate? They must not understand this amendment will affect more than marriage. Same-sex marriage is already prohibited by law in NC. The amendment could ban legal recognition of all committed but unmarried couples.

    This amendment would take away benefits from committed couples. The amendment would ban all civil unions and domestic partnerships throughout NC. It would take away the ability of committed couples to take care of one another when making medical, financial, and other important life decisions.

    Our constitution should defend people’s rights and freedoms – not diminish them. Passage of the amendment would send a signal both within and outside the state that North Carolina is an intolerant, unwelcoming place. Our Constitution should be used to protect the rights and interests of all North Carolinians, not just the majority.

    This is not how North Carolina should treat its people. We should send a message that North Carolina supports committed couples and does not want to limit their ability to take care of one another.

    I’m married, straight and have two children and will vote AGAINST on May 8th.

    • Blah blah blah, here we go again with the liberal talking points, none of which are really rooted in fact.

      Hey, I’m gay, so I sympathize. But let’s at least be honest, here. 30 other states have passed similar amendments, some of which are broader than this one (Virginia comes to mind). And do you know how many times the opponents’ predictions came true? Zero. Life is still continuing in those 30 states and nothing much has changed. Domestic abusers aren’t being let out of prison.

      I would have preferred that the amendment only dealt with marriage specifically, but the language appears as though it would also would prohibit its legal equivalent from being recognized. This does not necessarily extend to domestic partnerships, though. There is also a sentence in the amendment that states it does not prohibit parties from entering into contracts with one another.

      Civil unions are not legal in NC anyway and probably never will be. It is doubtful that any rights will be taken away because they don’t exist in the first place. That being said, I tepidly oppose this amendment for obvious reasons, although I honestly don’t care if it passes. Nothing will change either way, people.

    • What was hateful about his comment? You are the one labeling its supporters as discriminatory. You are free to have your opinion but the prevailing facts indicate that the consequences you mentioned will not happen, so don’t attack other people for having a different opinion than you when it is based on true facts. Your opinion is based off of what? MSNBC?

      Every law discriminates in some fashion. That’s the nature of having a free society. Feel free to vote against, but do not attack the good people of NC when they pass it.

  6. i think someone else said this, but the last sentence of the article is confusing: “It is worth noting, however, that the Elon University Poll is not a poll of North Carolina residents, not of likely voters.” I think you meant “..is a poll of NC residents, not of likely voters.”
    Jim: being gay is not a lifestyle choice. If you’ve ever met anyone who is gay, you’d know how hard the struggle was to admit it and come out. I’ve known people who it took years to finally come out. They were born that way.

  7. Jim, there are an astonishing array of relationships that have been defined as marriage historically: arranged marriages for political expediency, marriages between many women and one man, rare marriages between many men and one woman, marriages between two children, marriages between an adult and a child, marriages between a living person and a dead person, even ceremonial marriages between a person and an animal or terrain feature, intended to placate an angry deity. And yes, there have been marriages between same-sex people historically that have been called marriage.

    My (straight, FWIW) marriage is all about the fact that I and my wife decided that we love one another and are committed to one another and want to create a new family that blends both of our families. That’s what’s central to our marriage, not the particulars of our plumbing. And that’s something that can only be strengthened by extending the same word to cover others who are just as committed to one another, regardless of their sex.

    • As someone who is gay, its nice that you think you are looking out for us and our rights, but I agree with very little of what you said.

      Frankly, your comment makes no sense. If marriage is only about love, then should the other relationships you mentioned above be called marriages too? Can I marry my Hamster because I love it? These are exactly the reasons why so many people will never support gay marriage, because of what you just admitted – once the door is opened a crack, it gets ripped off the hinges. Anything is permissible and marriage as an institution is destroyed.

      I’m glad that you are happily married, but its kinda sad that you would equate your marriage to your wife with that of an individual to their dishwasher. If you really have such little respect for marriage, then surely you shouldn’t be lecturing others on how to properly define it.

      I am gay but have respect for traditional marriage and what it represents. Many gay people agree with me and we don’t need to be patronized by people who have no idea what they’re talking about. You are correct that a relationship isn’t defined by the “plumbing” of those involved, but let’s not kid ourselves – a male/female relationship is biologically unique in many ways, and so is marriage. That’s the whole point.

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  10. Colby,
    really “Nothing will change either way”? We can all be thankful Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Thurgood Marshall, Susan B. Anthony, Elisabeth Stanton and so many others didn’t share your mindset. I am grateful to each of them for the black female physician who saved my daughter’s life. Don’t fool yourself into thinking this is not a critically important issue. This is the civil rights and women’s suffrage movement of our day. Don’t sit idly by and wish you had been the man who stood up and offered your seat on the bus to a person in need.

    For the record I’m not a liberal and I have mailed in my Republican absentee ballot with my enthusiastic vote against Amendment One. I have owned two businesses in NC and believe Amendment One will hurt our economy. I openly choose not to discriminate against my friends, neighbors, church family, employees and fellow North Carolinians because of their sexual orientation and I can’t understand why anyone would. Here’s a fact Colby. An amendment similar to Amendment One caused Ohio courts to overturn 27 cases against attackers of unmarried women because the amendment meant that the state could only recognize married couples as a legal relationship with protected status. Could it happen here? You bet!

    Are you aware that tax incentives in the State of North Carolina make it one of the most favorable climates for motion picture production in the United States? Iron Man III alone is expected to pour $80 million into our economy. The Hunger Games which was filmed in NC made over $155 million opening weekend. Don’t we want them to come back to NC to film Mockingjay, the next film in the series? Oh sure it’s an industry filled with liberals but I’m glad to have every single one of those folks spending their dollars here instead of relocating to a state that doesn’t have this backward amendment. And I’m not alone.

    The Chair of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce economic development and public policy committee recently wrote that many observers fear passage of Amendment One will create negative ripples extending from the ballot box to the boardrooms and back offices of businesses large and small all over The Old North State, and local chambers of commerce have joined many business owners, scholars and government officials in decrying the proposal. One factor driving business opposition is the significant consequences the amendment has for employers’ abilities to provide benefits like health insurance to same- and opposite-sex domestic partners and their children.

    A 2005 study from Hewitt Associates noted that the number-one reason for offering benefits to same and opposite-sex domestic partners is employee recruitment and retention. That means the amendment could also hurt employers’ abilities to attract and keep the best and brightest talent.

    It’s also a problem for large employers. Eighty-nine percent of Fortune 500 companies prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. Among them are homegrown corporations like BB&T, Bank of America, Duke Energy and Lowe’s. It’s unclear if Amendment One would put these employers – or their peers relocating here – in violation of their own corporate policies.

    Beyond legal challenges to the amendment itself, many legal experts believe its broad language will open employers to potential legal action by employees. That’s a turn-off to businesses looking to relocate or expand to North Carolina.

    “Passage of Amendment One would introduce uncertainly, controversy and unknowns that are not currently present [for] prospective businesses considering North Carolina as a location for operations,” warns Steve Brantley, director of Orange County Economic Development. “Some firms could forecast such a significant and worrisome impact to their employee-recruitment effort that they might elect to move elsewhere, and not have the added challenges imposed by Amendment One.”

    Others, like entrepreneurship expert Monica Doss, worry that the amendment would stifle the economic recovery by hurting entrepreneurial development.

    “We’ve worked hard over the past three decades to emphasize North Carolina’s strengths as a forward-thinking community that values creativity, intellectual prowess and diversity,” says Doss, former leader of the Council for Entrepreneurial Development and now a principal with Entrepreneurial Collaborations. “North Carolina has prospered from its ability to attract the best and the brightest. That’s the foundation of our entrepreneurial success. Sending the message that the state is constitutionally opposed to any group of people will have a chilling effect. We will take a giant step backwards if Amendment One is passed.”

    Dave Neal, managing director of Triangle Startup Factory, a business incubator/accelerator in Durham, concurs.

    “We are attempting to market the Triangle as a not only a great place to start a business but as a great place to live,” he says. “If Amendment One passes, it would be interpreted by some as a negative sign about living in North Carolina. In this way, the passage of Amendment One could make it more difficult for us to recruit entrepreneurs to the area.”

    Tar Heel entrepreneurs also could find it hard to recruit talent and financing.

    “California dominates the venture-backed job market. If we aim to pull tech talent to RTP – talent that tends to be young, hip and gay-friendly – it’ll be tough if we are perceived as a backwater,” says Patrick Vernon, clinical assistant professor of entrepreneurship at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. “Similarly, venture capitalists may write off North Carolina as undesirable and/or lacking an innovative spirit – quelling the creative class.”

    North Carolina is the last Southern state without a marriage amendment, something Brantley says gives it an edge in the marketplace.

    “One of this state’s leading advantages in this very competitive, multi-state approach to economic development is the well-established view that North Carolina is usually more progressive and visionary,” says Brantley, who worked more than 20 years for the state Department of Commerce. “Compared to other states, and especially here in the South, North Carolina generally takes the lead on issues benefiting all of its citizens. North Carolina set the example, while our neighboring Southern states watched and eventually tried to copy.

    “Passage of Amendment One would dilute the progressive nature of our state’s character and its direction, and therefore risk eliminating one of our strongest and most appealing business advantages.”

    Many business owners say Amendment One is bad for business because it violates both the profit and the people elements of the bottom line.

    “If this passes, it may dissuade people from moving to North Carolina and becoming future clients,” notes entrepreneur Diane Koistinen, owner/stylist at The Beehive in Carrboro. “I would think twice about moving to a state where they are taking away rights. I would think twice about moving somewhere that endorses discrimination. If people don’t move here – or if they move away – because North Carolina discriminates against certain people, you have fewer people to buy your products or use your services.”

    Adds Adam Abram, CEO of James River Group in Raleigh: “We’re in a worldwide competition in which we want to have as many talented people in our state as is possible. I want to make the most hospitable, safe and welcoming environment here for everybody who’s able and interested in contributing to the state’s well-being. Making a constitutional amendment and carving in stone a ‘not welcome here’ sign is contrary to the ethic of our state.

    “Don’t tell talented people to go away. Amendment One’s not right. It’s not moral. It’s not us at our best.”

    I hope you will rethink your position and work to get the word out. Put a bumper sticker on your car. Post a sign in your yard. Tell 10 people why a vote against amendment one is the right thing for NC.

    • You are whipping yourself into a frenzy over something that just does not matter. What happened in Ohio was that people who were guilty of certain crimes tried to use the law to get their cases thrown out, and the Ohio Supreme Court slapped them down. Is that really the best you can do?

      So I will repeat my question. Of all the fears the opposition is throwing around, which ones have actually come true? The only state with identical amendment language as ours is Idaho, and there has not been a single issue of concern out of that state.

      ALSO: THIS IS ALREADY THE LAW IN NC. Has the sky fallen yet? Our state already only recognizes marriage between a man and a woman and nothing else, and so do most other states.

      Your response may have been lengthy, but it is all the same stuff you can google and read about on the opposition’s website. All of it is hypothetical and based off the opinions of people who already oppose the amendment because they support same-sex marriage. NONE of it is rooted in fact. None. And they know it.

      Secondly, I have many black friends who would take offense to you lumping them in with gays. 100%, completely different issue. As a gay person myself, I have never been hosed down in the street, forced to sit in the back of the bus, tied up in chains and beaten, or had to fight for my basic human right to survive. I ALREADY have the same rights as everyone else does. Don’t tell me what rights I do and don’t have; I have lived this way for years and am keenly aware.

      I am lucky and privileged to live in North Carolina and don’t appreciate you berating me into feeling like a victim, when I am not. I am grateful for all of the opportunities my state has given me and frankly, I respect the majority that believes in man/woman marriage. I don’t really care that much either way. What I do care about is people like you spreading misinformation to make us gays feel crappy so that we will spend time and emotional effort fighting something that isn’t even a threat.

      If you are white, you have no right to comment on the similarities between the civil rights movement and this, because you have no clue. And if you are black, then most blacks disagree with you. Are you seriously comparing an initiative that defines marriage as a man and a woman to the inhuman treatment of blacks in America for over 300 years? Absurd! Flat out, plain crazy. Nobody has suffered as much as African Americans. Don’t even go there. Most Blacks disagree with you and that is why 70% of them voted for Prop 8, and a similar number will vote for Amendment One.

      Of all the states that have marriage amendments, the ones that do have them actually tend to be doing better economically than those that don’t. Texas passed a similar amendment in 2005, and has “talent been fleeing the state?” No! In fact, companies are flooding into the state due to its bright economic climate and incentives for businesses. THAT is what people care about, not whether a state has a marriage amendment. The fastest growing states in the country ALL have marriage amendments.

      All of the states that have legalized gay marriage are in the toilet economically. There is probably no link, but I’m just following your own logic that everyone researches a state’s marriage laws before deciding to move there and that these laws affect the economic climate. LOL, that assertion is laughable.

      So where is your proof that this would harm our state? I want actual evidence. If you can’t point to even one case out of 30 states where this has passed to prove what you are saying, then I think that should be proof enough that the opposition is lying. It really pains me, as someone who should be on their side, but I believe in honesty and truth over any kind of political agenda.

      Amendment One will have NO noticeable impact on our state whatsoever because all that it does is take current law and enshrine it in the constitution. The evidence for that statement is everywhere. The evidence for the opposition’s statement is…well, nowhere. When this passes on May 8, I look forward to you coming back on here in a year or so after nothing has happened and apologizing for spreading false information. Will you do that?

      You have actually inspired me to support Amendment One, since clearly the good people supporting it are more honest than its opponents…so thank you! I predict it passes with at least 60%.

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  14. Honesty? Wow, did you really go there? Sure Colby, anyone who reads your messages knows you are “gay” because you say so in every single response you post. And isn’t interesting that you appear to be the one “gay” person in NC who not only defends but actually supports Amendment One. I suspect that if you were truly gay you would be, like my gay friends and family members, opposed to Amendment One. Even if none of the negative repercussions predicted ever occur we still will have amended our constitution to sanctify the discrimination of gay people.

    No matter how you choose to spin it Amendment One has one clear goal – to prevent gay marriage. The Speaker of the House said he thought Amendment One will pass, but it will be overturned within 20 years because the next generation will be more tolerant of gay marriage. Granted the chances of Amendment One failing in NC are slim but that doesn’t make it right or not worth the fight.

    Vote Against Amendment One

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