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 House Speaker Thom Tillis said he expected the amendment to pass…and then be repealed within 20 years.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