Amendment 1 Vote Today
A referendum in North Carolina that would constitutionally ban same-sex marriage -- even though the state currently does not permit such unions -- is in the spotlight in today's primary. Amendment One would alter North Carolina's constitution to say that "marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state." Supporters argue that the amendment is needed to stop those trying to redefine marriage, while also strengthening the state's position against same-sex civil unions, often considered a precursor to the marriage issue. Opponents say the measure is redundant and could result in jeopardizing domestic violence protections for women and affect health benefits for same-sex couples. Several municipalities in North Carolina currently provide benefits to same-sex couples that could be lost if the bill passes. The amendment's reference to "domestic legal unions," could also have unintended consequences for unmarried heterosexual couples. Only a simple majority is needed for the amendment to pass, and some 500,000 people have already cast ballots on the measure through early voting or absentee ballots. Evangelist Billy Graham endorsed the ballot initiative, a rare move for a preacher who has typically avoided political fights. Graham took out full-page ads in 14 North Carolina newspapers touting his support for the measure, saying "the Bible is clear -- God's definition of marriage is between a man and a woman." Graham's website encourages churches to download a poster that bears his image and the message "Vote for Marriage May 8th."