North Carolina could become the next state in the U.S. to pass a marriage amendment, also known as Amendment 1, when voters go to the polls on May 8.
Tami Fitzgerald, chairwoman of Vote FOR Marriage NC, a pro-marriage amendment organization, said passing Amendment 1 is important because there is a "national battle raging over marriage."
She spoke about the importance of fighting for marriage at the Concerned Women for America's "Stand Strong Together" conference this past weekend in Charlotte, N.C.
Marriage is "profoundly in the public good; it brings men and women together and helps ensure that children will be known and cared for by the people responsible for bringing them into the world. It is the only institution that guarantees the future of our society," Fitzgerald said.
While North Carolina does have a state law that defines marriage as being between a man and a woman, Fitzgerald noted that "without a constitutional amendment this law is vulnerable to political activism."
Also, without an amendment, same-sex couples married in other states where gay marriage is legal could move to N.C. and sue the state to have their marriage recognized.
Based on polling by Vote FOR Marriage NC, 52 percent of North Carolina voters support the proposed marriage amendment, while 33 percent strongly oppose it.
A separate poll, Civitas Poll, also found that 61 percent of North Carolinians support it, while 32 percent oppose it.
But Fitzgerald and pro-family organizations say the fight isn't over yet. "The other campaign has deceptively portrayed itself as the protectors of family values," she said.
When marriage is redefined to be genderless it changes everything, Fitzgerald contended. "Legal scholars predict 'a sea change in American law' and an 'immense' volume of litigation against individuals, small business and religious organizations."
Allowing gay marriage changes the paradigm of marriage, and "anything from property rights to inheritance laws will change," she said. Already in states where marriage is defined as genderless, businesses are forced to provide same-sex benefits.
Fitzgerald explained that a redefinition of marriage also has consequences in public schools where homosexual behavior can be taught as normal, and where Christian groups, like Catholic Charities, have to choose between their religious beliefs and mission and obeying the law.
She also noted that doctors, lawyers, and accountants risk their state licensure if they act on their belief that a same-sex couple cannot be legally married, and taxpayers, consumers, and businesses are forced to subsidize homosexual relationships.
Often those on the other side of the issue say that the marriage amendment will have a harmful economic impact. But according to Vote FOR Marriage NC, "states that have protected marriage have better business rankings," she argued.
Eight out of the top 10 states ranked by Forbes Magazine as best states for business have a constitutional marriage amendment, she cited.
Chief Executive Magazine also found that in a survey with 556 CEOs, eight of their top 10 "best states for business" have a state marriage amendment in their constitution. The other two states – North Carolina and Indiana – have statutes protecting marriage as a union between a man and woman.
The magazine also found that of the 10 worst states for business, seven have legalized same-sex marriages or civil unions.
Fitzgerald said that ultimately this amendment is about protecting marriage and is not an "anti-gay marriage amendment," nor is it "a vote on gay marriage. It's a vote to protect the current definition of marriage."