N.C. Evangelicals Form Coalition to Pass Marriage Amendment

A coalition of civic and evangelical religious individuals and groups have formed a campaign committee to urge North Carolina voters to support and pass an amendment to the state’s Constitution defining marriage as between one man and one woman.

North Carolina and Minnesota will both have marriage amendments on their 2012 ballots and supporters of traditional marriage are expecting tough opposition from groups who support same-sex marriage and gay rights.

“We very much look forward to a dialogue with North Carolina voters about the importance of preserving marriage as the union of one man and one woman,” Executive Director of the NC Values Coalition Tami Fitzgerald told The Christian Post.

“The marriage amendment ensures that voters and not activist judges will decide the definition of marriage in our state,” added Fitzgerald. “Marriage as the union of one man and one woman has served North Carolina well since before we were a state, and it’s time we respected the institution of marriage enough to protect it in our state constitution.”

Vote For Marriage NC is comprised of representatives of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, the Christian Action League, the NC Values Coalition, a coalition of African American pastors, and the National Organization for Marriage. A number of high profile individuals from across the state and other organizations and civic groups are also supporting the effort.

Notably, a group calling themselves the Coalition to Protect North Carolina Families is encouraging voters to vote against the amendment. The Human Rights Campaign, an organization known for their support of homosexual rights, is providing paid staffers to the coalition to defeat the amendment.

The group’s website says the amendment would bar the state from passing a law that would recognize civil unions and would take away domestic partner insurance benefits currently being offered by a number of local governments. The group also reminds voters that North Carolina is the only state in the southeastern U.S. that does not define marriage as between one man and one woman.

North Carolina state law already limits marriage to a man and a woman, and the amendment would make such a marriage the only domestic legal union recognized in the state. Data from a number of recent polls shows that anywhere between 61 and 68 percent of the state’s voters favor the amendment.

“God is the author of marriage, but we aren’t running a campaign to appeal solely to believers in God,” said the Rev. Mark Harris, state president of the Baptist Convention of North Carolina, in a written statement.

“Our campaign will appeal to voters of every faith, or no faith, because it will focus on the unique common good that marriage provides to society,” Harris added. “Marriage is the glue that holds civilization together, because it helps hold families together.”

So far, 32 states have successfully passed constitution amendments defining marriage as between a man and a woman – some with over 80 percent of the voters casting their ballot in support of traditional marriage.

“Informing people and getting them to the polls during a primary election will be our greatest challenge,” said Fitzgerald. “The amendment is already polling at a two-to-one margin so we must need to educated and mobilize everyone.”

The initiative will be on the ballot in May of 2012.

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