North Carolina's Amendment One, which bans same-sex marriages, civil unions and domestic partnerships, has passed handily, a sober wake-up call to advocates bolstered by nationwide shifts in public opinion toward favoring gay nuptials.
And in a week where renewed pressure has been placed on President Obama — in the media, from donors and from show biz figures — to come out in favor to same-sex marriage, it is also somewhat of a reality check of the risks that he faces in doing so in a state his campaign is spending heavily to win.
Gay rights leaders had expected a loss, and were setting their sights on battles later this year in Maine and Minnesota. The Democratic National Convention will take place in Charlotte, and there could be a contentious intra-party dispute over whether to include support of same-sex marriage in the party platform.
Although North Carolina joins many other states in passing such constitutional bans, its amendment goes farther than California's Proposition 8 in that it restricts any legal recognition of same-sex relationships.
The American Foundation for Equal Rights released this statement from executive director Adam Umhoefer following the vote: “The passage of Amendment One is a profound injustice. Singling out a class of citizens for discriminatory treatment is unfair, unlawful and violates basic American values. Gay and lesbian Americans, like their fellow citizens, want nothing more than to marry the person they love. Committed, loving couples and their families should not be denied this most fundamental freedom.”
"Hollywood, withdraw your productions from NC!" tweeted Roseanne Barr, who is running for the Green party presidential nomination.
Jimmy LaSalvia, executive director of GOP Proud, a conservative gay rights org, tweeted, "Wow. The last week has been pretty rough…..it feels like I've been in a time warp back to 2004."
Jesse Tyler Ferguson: "This is an interesing fact I just learned: First cousins can marry in North Carolina. (Unless they are of the same sex, I assume)."
Damon Lindelof: "If Travolta goes on a despondent masseur handjob rampage tonight, it"s YOUR FAULT, NORTH CAROLINA!"