Despite what seems to me like a lackluster political season in North Carolina heading into Tuesday's primary, voter participation is expected to be high. If early voting turnout is any indicator, this will hold true. No candidate for any race whether national, state, or local has sparked much enthusiasm in this election.
At this point, it is pretty clear that Romney will be the Republican Presidential nominee (has already been declared the NC winner as I write this), Pat McCrory will be the Republican Gubernatorial nominee, and the Democrats primary to replace Gov. Purdue has been pretty uneventful with no candidate truly standing out (as I write this Walter Dalton has a sizeable lead).
The one thing that sparked this entire voter turnout is Amendment One or the marriage amendment. The actual language on the ballot is "Constitutional amendment to provide that marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state."The danger is that this language makes this about more than just gay marriage. It means the only legal union in this state would be marriage between one man and one woman. Domestic partnerships and civil unions are out the window. Straight couples who don’t believe in marriage but are in committed relationships with families would not be recognized. This could lead to weaker protections for victims of domestic violence for non married couples and could impact health care for children of unmarried couples.
The debate over the past months has not really been about those other issues. It has focused solely on the gay marriage component. Passions have been strong from both sides. Opponents of the amendment have said this is about hate and stripping the rights of members of our communities because of their lifestyle. Supporters have said this isn’t about hate, but instead protecting the sanctity of marriage. The lines have been drawn heading into today’s vote and tonight we will see whether love or hate wins out.
For full disclosure, I oppose the amendment and voted no on my ballot.