On Tuesday, voters in North Carolina approved Amendment One, amending that state's constitution to clearly define marriage as the legal union between one man and one woman. As the LA Times notes, the amendment not only outlaws same-sex marriages (those were already illegal in the Tar Heel state), but it also eliminates civil unions and domestic partnerships — as well as the benefits and rights that come along with them — for every couple, gay or straight.
Yesterday's vote makes North Carolina the 29th state to pass such an amendment, and the last state in the South to completely shut out same-sex marriages. Aside from the loss of benefits, North Carolina's attack on marriage equality and rights for couples is one of the most restrictive marriage amendments passed to date. According to family law experts, it could also deny unmarried women basic protections against domestic abuse. The amendment was passed with 61% approval, with pro-Amendment One groups saying it was necessary to prevent activists from overturning the State's earlier law preventing gay marriages.
As many of your sensible Facebook friends have probably noted, the effort to repeal North Carolina's Amendment One is already underway. This Change.org petition, 1 Million Against Amendment 1 had just under 70,000 signatures in about 12 hours since the polls closed in Carolina. As we've seen with Prop 8 in California and similar amendments in other states, we can expect a lengthy legal battle to play out in the courts as well.
Meanwhile back in the White House, even Joe Biden, the one straight guy who can still pull off aviators without being a member of a law enforcement agency, thinks banning same sex marriages is quickly going out of style. As he told David Gregory on Meet the Press, the Vice President is "absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual men and women marrying another are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties."
President Obama, on the other hand, has publicly been quiet on issue. He has said his position on the matter is still "evolving," and his campaign called the results of Tuesday's vote "disappointing". In light of Biden's outpouring of support for marriage equality, the President is expected to publicly clarify his position today in an afternoon interview with ABC's Robin Roberts.