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Lessons from the defeat of "gay marriage" in North Carolina
POSTED: May 15, 2012
The stunning 61-39 percent victory for real marriage in North Carolina -- making it the 32nd state to ban "gay marriage" at the polls -- sent a clear message: Every time Americans vote on "gay marriage" it gets defeated. (Thirty-one states have voted for constitutional amendments on marriage. One state, Maine, voted to reverse a "gay marriage" law passed by their legislature.)
The polls had shown strong support for the amendment. But because Barack Obama won North Carolina in 2008, and the Democrats felt so confident that they scheduled this summer's national convention in Charlotte, the homosexual movement was emboldened to launch an enormous campaign to defeat it. They also got a boost from squishy RINOs who opposed the amendment because of its principled wording.
New strategy of dishonesty by homosexual groups against amendment
The pro-homosexual groups raised nearly 70% more money -- a million dollars -- than the pro-family groups. The mainstream news media was uniformly and aggressively against the amendment. And celebrities like Bill Clinton were doing robo-calls to defeat the measure.
The homosexual lobby took a different approach in North Carolina than we've seen before. Usually they talk tirelessly about "loving gay families," "civil rights," "equal protection," and the like. But this time they took a "scorched earth" approach against the amendment itself by inventing a flood of horrific but patently false reasons why the amendment would be destructive for families in general. They said it will cause suicides by "gay" children, women would be discriminated against, domestic violence victims and senior citizens would be hurt, etc. And they portrayed their side as "pro-family" -- that they were protecting families from a destructive bill.
Homosexual lobby's "pro-family" website against Marriage Amendment
In fact, none of the things they were warning about have happened in any of the states that passed nearly identical marriage amendments.
It was an extremely devious and deceptive strategy, and they went all out pushing it with media advertising saturating the entire state. Even for a largely religious state like North Carolina it was a daunting onslaught.
Squishy pro-gay "conservatives" opposed the strong NC amendment
The wording of the Marriage Amendment is unequivocally "one man and one woman" and does not compromise for political correctness. The amendment bans civil unions, domestic partnerships, or similar phony "marriage" constructs. Here's the wording they voted on:
Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State. This section does not prohibit a private party from entering into contracts with another private party; nor does this section prohibit courts from adjudicating the rights of private parties pursuant to such contracts.
As we've seen across the country, squishy pro-gay RINO "conservatives" insist on marriage-like "rights" for homosexuals and actually opposed this amendment.
For example, two nationally prominent "pro-traditional marriage" spokesmen David Blankenhorn and Elizabeth Marquardt published an article against the amendment in the Raleigh newspaper. Posing as conservatives, they said,
"We are native southerners and we oppose legalizing same-sex marriage. . . But as marriage advocates, we oppose the state marriage amendment now being debated in North Carolina. We hope that when North Carolinians go to the polls on May 8 they will defeat this measure. The proposed amendment states that "marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state." That's a big mouthful, and it goes well beyond the issue of same-sex marriage.
In other words, they are saying that it's fine for the state to force citizens to legally recognize homosexuality and homosexual relationships as legitimate. They just want to protect the word "marriage."
In addition, they'll often claim (without statistical justification) that a "strong" amendment is much harder to pass than a "soft" amendment which allows marriage-like "rights."
Mitt Romney declined to endorse the North Carolina Marriage Amendment, though he didn't give a reason. The media never pressed him on the issue. However, he refused to endorse a nearly identical "strong" Massachusetts amendment in 2002 because, he told the press, it did not allow for homosexual domestic partnerships. In 2004-2005, Gov. Romney lobbied Republican state legislators for a proposed amendment which would have embedded "civil unions" identical to marriage in the state constitution! (That proposal was later voted down.) Then in 2005, Romney endorsed a "soft" marriage amendment in Massachusetts (VoteOnMarriage) which allowed domestic partnerships and civil unions, and would have allowed previous "gay marriages" to stand. (That proposal was also later defeated by the Legislature in 2007.)
Unfortunately, this kind of RINO rhetoric tends to demean conservatives who understand the destructive nature of homosexuality and its related behaviors, and diminish the marriage argument in general. For homosexual activists, civil unions are seen as a sometimes required stepping stone to full-fledged "gay marriage" recognition.
Pro-family grassroots energy not bottled up by political correctnes
Luckily, the pro-family movement put up a strong fight of its own. And it was an interesting dichotomy. Our friend Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans For Truth about Homosexuality, spent a month in North Carolina prior to the election working full time helping mobilize people. He shared some of his observations with us. An important factor was the makeup of the pro-family coalition on the ground. He said that there were two major factions on our side, both of which played important roles.
(1) The mainstream pro-family establishment raised money, gathered political endorsements, promoted the Marriage Amendment, and was generally the public face of the effort. But more important, they produced ads to counter the incredible stream of outrageous lies about the Marriage Amendment that the opposition flooded the airways with.
But like in so many other states, the North Carolina pro-family establishment did not want to talk about homosexuality or homosexual behavior -- only about the word "marriage" and platitudes like "every child needing a mother and father." They insisted on that strategy. But luckily they were completely unable to enforce it among the larger coalition of groups and churches.
(2) The heavy lifting on the ground was done by the churches, both black and white, which played an outstanding role in organizing, energizing, and mobilizing people across the state on this issue. They put an enormous amount of effort into making sure people understood how important this was, and got as many people to the polls as possible.
But in particular, the churches were directly and unapologetically willing to take on the issue of homosexual behavior. The churches refused to be constrained by any "approved talking points" which the mainstream groups tried to impose. The black churches, especially, had no interest in being "politically correct." This helped energize many, many people who might have otherwise not bothered to care about the issue or get involved.
Lessons to remember:
This is a prelude to the other state state marriage battles coming up this fall!