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Today's Top News
North Carolina Voters to Decide on Same-Sex Marriage
Civil rights groups urge voters to oppose gay marriage ban
Today, voters in North Carolina will decide whether or not to ban same-sex marriage. Voters go to the polls as surveys estimate a heavy support for the ban statewide.
A vote against gay marriage today would approve a state constitutional amendment officially banning gay marriage. North Carolina is that last of the southeastern states to pass such an amendment.
A survey of 1,026 voters showed that voters are likely to pass the discriminatory amendment.
Gay marriage advocates are, however, staying optimistic. Jeremy Kennedy, of the anti-amendment group Coalition to Protect All NC Families, stated: "The name of the game is getting people out to vote. We've done TV commercials, we've done the mailings, we've been paving the way for this for months. Now it's about making sure we talk to the people who are against the amendment and getting them to the polls...anything could happen."
Voting closes at 7.30pm today.
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North Carolina voters could deal a blow to efforts across the country to expand gay marriage rights if they approve a state constitutional amendment on Tuesday to ban same-sex marriage and civil unions.
The state is the only one in the Southeast without such a constitutional prohibition, though same-sex marriage is already outlawed by statute.
The amendment is being decided amid heightened rhetoric about gay marriage from officials in the Obama administration. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said on Sunday he was "absolutely comfortable" with allowing same-sex couples to wed, and Education Secretary Arne Duncan said gay marriage should be legal.
President Barack Obama has said he favors civil unions but has stopped short of supporting gay marriage.
Supporters of the proposed amendment in North Carolina, a swing state in the November 6 presidential election, say it would preserve the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman and make laws forbidding gay marriage harder to repeal.
Opponents say a ban would jeopardize health insurance benefits for unmarried gay and heterosexual couples and signal that the state is unfriendly to a diverse workforce.
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Opponents of a controversial amendment to ban gay marriage, civil unions and domestic partnerships in North Carolina were engaged in last-ditch attempts to get their supporters out on Tuesday, as the latest polls show it is likely to pass.
Fiercely-fought campaigns, with television adverts from both sides of the debate, ensured a record turnout during the state's early voting period. High-profile backers have been deployed on opposing sides in recent days.
Former president Bill Clinton has urged people to vote against Amendment 1 in recorded telephone calls, while evangelist Billy Graham, who has a stretch of road named after him in the North Carolina's largest city, Charlotte, has endorsed the amendment in full-page newspaper ads. The latest polls have put support for the amendment at 55%, against 39% for those who oppose it.
All that's left is a few hours of last-minute phone and door-to-door calls by volunteers. [...]
Same-sex marriage is already illegal in socially conservative North Carolina, the last of the former confederate states not to have a state constitutional ban. The main group in favour, Vote for Marriage NC, has enlisted massive support via the clergy in a state with a strong evangelical vote.
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