North Carolina voters passed a constitutional amendment that recognizes only marriages between one man and one woman, showing the state’s socially conservative strength and potential challenge for President Barack Obama’s swing state efforts in November.
While the state already has a ban against same-sex marriage, the amendment means North Carolina will no longer recognize civil unions or domestic partnerships for any couples, and will have an impact on benefits and protections those couples recieve.
With votes still being tallied, the AP called the amendment as passing when it led by about 60/40 at 9:15 p.m.
While the amendment easily passed among socially conservative voters in the state, the vote divide between rural and urban counties was striking. Orange County, where UNC is located, voted against the amendment, 79/21 percent.
Here’s the breakdown of votes on the amendment by county.
Pollsters had predicted that the amendment would pass by a wide margin, but few expected the margin of passage to be so high.
The amendment earned opposition from urban metro counties, such as Orange (21/79), Wake (43/57), Mecklenburg (45/55), New Hanover (48/52) and Durham (29/71) counties.
However, many rural counties had very few votes in opposition, showing a conservative strength that will prove difficult for Obama to overcome in November.
Obama, who has not come out in support of gay marriage and said his views on the topic are “evolving,” gained criticism this week for refusing to take a stance on the issue. Reporters also expressed suspicion that his refusal to take a strong stance is closely tied to his November re-election efforts.
Pro-amendment supporters were ecstatic by the results, calling it an important step toward preserving marriage, and Tweeting photos of a celebratory wedding cake:
Meanwhile, opponents of the ban are decrying North Carolina’s vote, calling it a backwards step more in line with the South’s past of racism than a move forward: