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Close look at the numbers on N.C. marriage amendment vote results

The outcome of the vote on the Gay Marriage Amendment is worth studying. Democrats take a de facto stance on being for gay marriage—marriage in every sense of the word. Vice President Joe Biden recently reinforced that position clearly.

Biden said:

“I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women and heterosexual men marrying women are entitled to the same exact rights…All the civil rights, all the civil liberties. And quite frankly I don’t see much of a distinction beyond that.”

President Barack Obama, on the other hand, sends a conflicted message. He opposed the amendment but has not moved aggressively on the issue at the federal level even during the years Democrats had total control of two branches of the federal government.

Obama did see to it that DADT was repealed for the military, but same-sex-couples don’t share benefits in the manner that heterosexual couples do.

The ballot text and state constitutional changes are as follows—I added boldface:

  • 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.
  • 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. [Sec. 6. Marriage. Article 14]

Preliminary figures are in on Tuesday’s vote in N.C. and that’s where the mystery arises.

First let’s look at N.C. voters by party affiliation—these are based on state voter registrations:

  • Democrats—2,735,467
  • Republicans—1,975,943
  • Unaffiliated—1,571,632
  • Libertarian—13,829

Then look at the turnout, at least as far as the presidential primaries for the two largest parties go:

  • Democrats—958,909 with 759,483 voting for President Barack Obama
  • Republicans—966,609 with 634,842 voting for former Gov. Mitt Romney (Mass.)

On the ballot Democrats used, there were two choices: Obama or No Preference.

On the Republican ballot, there were 5 candidates listed with Congressman Dr. Ron Paul (Texas) coming in second with 107,103 votes. Dr. Paul’s supporters lean Libertarian on most issues although the Texas congressman is a Republican party member.

So less than one-half of Democrats and Republicans turned out although Republicans had an edge on turnout with about 13 percent more. That’s not surprising because the Republican field is still a bit divided while the Democrat field had only one clear candidate to choose from.

The vote on the amendment is as follows:

  • For the amendment defining marriage as noted above: 1,303,893
  • Against the amendment restricting marriage: 832,283

In political messaging and rhetoric, Democrats adopt a pro-gay marriage position. Democrats routinely depict Republicans as “homophobic” as did celebrity Cher in a vitriolic series of messages on Twitter recently.

The conflict, however, is obvious. A maximum of 2,735,467 Democrats could have turned out in an effort to keep the amendment from passing. As a matter of fact, if even half of the registered Dem voters had turned out, the amendment may not have passed. I’m certain the votes were actually mixed, with some from each party for or against.

Personally, although I don’t, never have and never will live in N.C., I would have voted against the amendment. I believe the amendment is too far-reaching.

The Log Cabin Republicans group had this to say:

“Disappointed by the result in North Carolina, but proud of everyone who stood up to fight and vote against Amendment 1. Freedom means freedom for everyone.”

The bottom line on this vote, however, is that Democrats basically failed to live up to what they routinely preach. The state has a sizable plurality of Democrats, voted for Obama in 2008 and currently has a governor who is a Democrat.

Worth pondering: 958,909 voters selected a Democrat for president while only 832,283 voters total took a pro-gay-marriage position. We certainly can’t assume every pro vote was cast by a Democrat just as we can’t assume members of other parties cast all the votes in support of the amendment.

Perhaps Cher might Tweet about that conundrum—or hypocrisy.

Total voter turnout, according to state elections officials, was only 34.38 percent.

I might have written the headline of my article as follows: Democrats tank gay marriage in N.C. (Commentary by Kay B. Day/May 9, 2012)

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