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Tar Heel voters still opposed to same-sex marriages

North Carolina voters still strongly oppose same-sex marriages, according to a new poll.

Fifty-four percent of Tar Heel voters oppose gay marriage, with only 38 percent supporting it, and 9 percent not sure, according to a new survey by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic leaning firm based in Raleigh.

Voters last May approved a constitutional amendment defining marriage as being between a man and a woman by a 61-39 percent margin.

When asked in the poll to describe their opinion on gay marriage, 33 percent said gay couples should be allowed to marry, 30 percent thought gay couples should be allowed to form civil unions and 37 percent thought there should be no legal recognition a gay couple's relationship.

The survey of 600 North Carolina voters was conducted Feb. 7-10 and had a margin of error of 4 percent.

Anti-marriage amendment team releases candidates' videos

Dueling for advantages in the run-up to the May 8 marriage amendment vote continues apace.

The pro-amendment side, Vote for Marriage NC, tweeted today that it has talked with more than 4,000 pastors and has more than 600 “church captains” across the state. From the beginning, the pro side has planned to win the fight in churches. Looks like they’ve been busy.

On the flip side, the Coalition to Protect All NC Families, today released five videos with candidates for the state’s highest offices taking a stand against the amendment. They are all Democrats: gubernatorial hopefuls Walter Dalton, Bob Etheridge and Bill Faison, and lieutenant governor candidates Linda Coleman and Eric Mansfield.

Earlier in the week, “Clergy for Equality,” a group of 30 leaders representing 12 faith traditions, announced they plan to oppose the amendment through sermons, liturgy and prayer, The Charlotte Observer reported. The state’s two Catholic bishops have announced their support for the amendment.

Hagan comes out against same-sex marriage ban

Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan has come out against the constitutional amendment banning same sex marriages, saying it would harm North Carolina's business climate.

In a statement released Wednesday to the gay press and groups, Hagan voiced her opposition to the amendment that will be on the May 8th ballot and urged all North Carolinians to vote against it..

“In today's hyper partisan political environment,” Hagan said in a statement, “I view any attempt to alter our state constitution with a critical eye.

“Amendment One has far-reaching negative consequences for our families, our children and our communities,” she said. “North Carolina is one of the most business-friendly states in the nation, and this amendment would harm our state's ability to recruit the innovators and businesses that are driving our economic recovery. Jobs are my number one priority, and we cannot afford to take our eye of the ball and give businesses a reason to grow and expand elsewhere.''

Perdue to announce decision on marriage amendment

Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue said she will announce later this week her position on a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriages and civil unions.

“I am going to do something later this week,” Perdue told reporters after a speech at the Marbles Big Idea Forum.

“I'm working with the constituency groups as you would expect me to do,” the governor said. “I am making a lot of calls. My team is talking. I've known all along where I stand. I've tried to go back and talk to people about my position and you will hear it very quickly.”

Asked if the recent announcement by conservative Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers that she planned to vote against the amendment would make it easier for her, Perdue responded: “No, why would it make it easier? When I make decisions I do it because of who I am and what I believe.”

According to legislative Republicans, Perdue played a role in changing the date of the referendum from the November 2012 ballot to the May primary ballot, so it would be less likely to hurt Democratic candidates.

GOP leaders push for same-sex marriage ban

Republican leaders in the state House of Representatives held a news conference today to push for the passage of legislation that will put before voters a state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. The issue is one of several constitutional amendments the legislature will take up when it returns for a week beginning Sept. 12.

House Speaker Pro Tem Dale Folwell, a Republican from Winston-Salem, said there has long been support in the General Assembly for such an amendment, and that the time has come to let people decide.

“It’s time we settled this issue,” Folwell said at the news conference in the Legislative Building. “People in favor of this will live or die by how the people of North Carolina feel about it. … Power needs to be pushed away from this building and back to the people.”

North Carolina already has a law on the books defining marriage as between a man and a woman. Backers of amending the constitution say doing so would help protect the law from being changed by future legislatures, and from court rulings such as those that have occurred recently in other states. House Majority Leader Paul “Skip”  Stam, an Apex Republican, said Gov. Bev Perdue as a legislator supported North Carolina's law. But, he said, she has recently been calling Democratic members of the General Assembly asking them to vote against it.

Stam and Folwell said the amendment wouldn’t have any effect on whether private companies choose to recognize same-sex unions.  Stam said the amendment “protects the children of the next generation.

“In countries around the world where they have legitimized same-sex marriage, marriage itself is de-legitimized,” Stam said. “… About a fourth of the world allows polygamy. Polygamy would be next.”

In response to a question, Stam said the issue is different from laws that once banned interracial marriage. “Misegenation laws never had a basis in morality,” he said. “… People can’t change their race. They can’t choose their race. There was no biological basis to begin with.”

Update: N.C.Democratic Party Chairman David Parker weighed in with this response:

 “The reality is that this amendment will not put one person back to work, it will not help one small business keep its doors open and it will not assist one single citizen now trying to recover from the devastation inflicted by Hurricane Irene. The Republicans in the General Assembly have made it clear that their intention is to turn back the clock on our economy by pushing divisive social issues—talk about misplaced priorities. This amendment will only stifle job creation and hinder our economic recovery.”

Update: House Minority Leader Joe Hackney released this statement:

"This proposed constitutional amendment runs against the tide of history, and has become a form of hate speech. Modern corporations do not tolerate this kind of discrimination and neither should our state. But many of us recognize this unneeded amendment is not about rights or morality. It is part of the Republican political strategy to drive Republicans to the polls in 2012 while suppressing Democratic voting through voter ID legislation and cutbacks in early voting."

Poll: Most North Carolinians support recognition of same-sex couples

As some GOP legislators are considering renewing their effort to pass a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, a new poll suggests a majority of North Carolinians now support at least some legal recognition of same-sex couples.

More than one-quarter believe gay people should have full marriage rights, according to a new Elon University survey released Monday.

The poll found an erosion of support since March 2009 among those opposed to all legal recognition of same-sex partnerships, down from 44 percent to 35 percent.

About 29 percent supported civil unions or partnerships for same-sex couples but not full marriage rights. About 28 percent of people support marriage rights.

The poll was conducted last week and surveyed 467 North Carolina residents. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.6 percentage points.

The voters are not happy

North Carolina voters remain in a sour mood as they head into the new year, worried about a troubled economy, according to a new survey.

Only a third of the voters think the state is heading in the right direction, while 57 percent think it is headed in the wrong direction, according to a new survey conducted for The Civitas Institute, a Raleigh-based think tank with Republican leanings. Ten percent were not sure of the state's direction.

The largest group of voters (36 percent) thought the economy was the biggest issue facing the state. Other issues on people's minds were education (17 percent), the state budget and government spending (16 percent) illegal immigration (9 percent) health care (8 percent) taxes (4 percent) crime and drugs(4 percent), government corruption (4 percent) and the environment (4 percent.

The survey found that voters are divided on the job that president Barack Obama is doing with 46 approving of his job performance and 52 percent disapproving.

A strong majority(65 percent) said they favored a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman.
Seventy-seven percent said they would back cutting taxes even if it required additional cuts in government spending if it encouraged job creation.

The survey of 600 voters was conducted Dec. 15-16 by Public Opinion Strategies of Alexandria Va. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

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