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Lots of good news to report coming out of the North Carolina campaign to defeat Amendment One, which would place a constitutional ban marriage equality, civil unions and any other form or same-sex relationship recognition.

The city of Greenville, NC became just the latest to pass a resolution opposing Amendment One in a 5-1 vote.

The campaign also secured a great dual endorsement, and it's been released on a web video (for now) seen above.

In a video released today, Charlotte’s former Democratic Mayor Harvey Gantt joined former Republican Mayor Richard Vinroot to oppose Amendment One, a constitutional rewrite on the May 8, North Carolina primary ballot that would ban civil unions and domestic partnerships, and threaten protections for the state’s unmarried couples. The multimedia message marks the first time a prominent Republican figure has recorded an advertisement against a public referendum touching gay issues, and the only occasion Gantt and Vinroot have appeared together publicly to speak out against a statewide ballot measure.

In the video, released by Protect All NC Families, the coalition effort to defeat Amendment One, Gantt and Vinroot admit that while the two senior statesmen don’t always agree on everything, they do agree that North Carolinians should vote against Amendment One.

“[Amendment One] is unnecessary and may have serious unintended consequences,” says Vinroot.  Gantt adds, “And some of those consequences may harm women, children and families throughout North Carolina.”

As former mayors of the state’s largest city and national financial hub, the advertisement also features Vinroot and Gantt pointing out the economic impact of Amendment One. “It may hurt our ability to attract business and job opportunities into North Carolina,” says Vinroot. “But we do know this: if you vote against it, it won’t harm anybody.”

Protect All NC Families underscored how this joint statement against Amendment One from representatives on both sides of the political spectrum represents a trend emerging throughout the state. “This powerful new web ad illustrates the growing consensus among North Carolinians against the dangerous harms of Amendment One,” said Jeremy Kennedy, campaign manager for Protect All NC Families. “It’s remarkable how such a divisive referendum has, in turn, brought together so many people from all political stripes, personal backgrounds, and perspectives, for one common purpose: to protect our state’s families by voting against on May 8.”

Some facts for out of staters:
  • Mayor Vinroot would be the first major Republican statewide figure to record an ad against an LGBT amendment directly to our knowledge.
  • Vinroot was a Morehead scholar and a UNC basketball player. He went on to be awarded a Bronze Star for his military service.
  • He was Mayor of Charlotte and the GOP nominee in 2000 — and likely would have defeated Governor Easley had it not been for an Andy Griffith ad cut in the final weeks of the campaign.
  • Mayor Gantt would, likewise, be among the first major African American statewide political figure to record an ad against an LGBT amendment directly.
  • Gantt needs no introduction but he was the first African American student at Clemson, the first African American Mayor of Charlotte and I the first African American nominee for statewide elective office in NC.
  • Gantt is also playing a major role with the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.
This is a great double-get for the campaign.

Poo-poo Politico's reporting on Republican's getting shy on the marriage equality issue if you like, but it appears to be the case in NC. The conservative coalition is breaking down, with many prominent, respected NC conservatives speaking out against this bill's passage.

Even the Republican Speaker of the House has stated Amendment One will be repealed in 20 years. (So? Pass it, why?)

For conservatives the talking points for opposing Amendment One seem to parrot Republican ideas and values, like "getting government out of your lives" or fearing the effect on business' ability to compete in the national talent pool.

This is evidenced in Edwin Peacock, a Republican candidate for his district's Congressional seat. He expressed his opposition to a local NBC affiliate saying:



“I think we need to look at who are we welcoming here. You look at our top five employers, every single one of them has clearly embracing inclusiveness and in general in their behavior as it relates to some of the benefits that they offer, not all of them, but the main thing is they're trying to attract talent from all over the country."
Rick Santorum's dropping out of the race on Tuesday was good news for the campaign. One less reason for homophobes to go to the polls. Even Public Policy Polling made notice of it.

Exit polls from South Carolina primary showed that only 9% of voters were under 30. Typical screening pollsters may use would probably presume similar demographics for North Carolina. But consider that Protect ALL Families has strong network of GOTV operations at the state's many universities and colleges. A strong youth showing could really turn the pre-election polling screen model out the window, particularly when the typical turnout for primaries is often relatively very low.

Protect ALL NC Families definitely still have their work cut out for them in terms of getting their message out, and making sure the voters that show on May 8 are young and progressive. But it can be done, as their pollster Celinda Lake explained on Huffington Post. And there is good reason to believe, if the message gets out there, it will connect.

Tom Jensen at PPP's take on it recently was, "North Carolinians support, but don't understand marriage amendment." Essentially, voters of North Carolina don't support the amendment, but they don't yet know it yet. PPP's findings:

  • Only 31% of voters correctly identify that Amendment 1 bans both gay marriage and civil unions.
  • 28% think that it only bans gay marriage.
  • 7% think that it actually legalizes gay marriage.
  • 34% admit that they don't know exactly what the amendment does.

There is a large educable mass of voters out there, and the campaign has assembled the message and the coalition to deliver it. The one component that is still missing, is that final push of money to take their message to the airways and command the local conversation.

The good news is the Netroots Money Bomb of last week was a big success: "the highest one week total for online fundraising in NC political history."

Goal ThermometerProtect ALL NC Families director of engagement Nation Hahn relays this message:

First off, I just wanted to say thank you for all of your efforts. You were incredible last week!

The totals are in... we raised $173,342 including the matching donation and donations through our website. Yesterday a young lady called in who said she was so inspired that she was going to donate $12,000 (included in the total).

We have a reason to believe that this is the highest one week total for online fundraising in NC political history.

The opposition have purchased around $400,000 in air time beginning on April 23 indicating that they expect to have $1,000,000 to air on television, when combined with their faith outreach program we estimate that we are $750,000-$1,000,000 away from the money that we need to win. Hopefully our results will be an eye opener to everyone nationally.

If people continue to tune in, then we can absolutely win BUT we need the resources to do so. Anything that you all can do to promote this campaign and spread the word to major donors and supporting organizations is critical. The Elon poll shows that if people are informed then we win.

But still more is needed, to assure they have the money to buy necessary TV and radio spots in these next few weeks, so you can still give them a boost if you are moved to help the little campaign that could.

Today Mainers United for Marriage sent out a plea to their own base, saying:

Mainers United for Marriage asks that you stand with them today. A win in North Carolina will give our campaign in Maine further momentum!

Will you contribute to the Coalition to Protect ALL North Carolina Families today? Your contribution will go a long way toward their success.

The efforts of opponents of the freedom to marry in North Carolina are crumbling. Our friends there have shared with us – just as we’ve seen in Maine – that folks are changing their minds about loving, committed same-sex couples and families of all types. In fact, a former Republican Supreme Court Justice has now spoken out against this amendment.

Stand with our friends in North Carolina now, and keep their commercials on the air - giving them the added boost to win in May!

The marriage equality campaigns in Minnesota and Washington also assisted North Carolina in their money bomb efforts, pushing out the fundraising ask to their own followers.

These campaigns recognize if National Organization for Marriage and their allies are defeated in North Carolina in May, it will really knock them back on their tuckus heading into the fights in Washington, Minnesota, Maine, and Maryland in November.

Update: Even more breaking news from Pam's House Blend, that David Blankenhorn who testisfied in support of California's Proposition 8 in Federal court has come out against Amendment One. A joint statement from Blankenhorn and Elizabeth Marquardt, respectively president and vice president for family studies at the Institute for American Values, reads:

The proposed amendment states that “marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state.” That’s a big mouthful, and it goes well beyond the issue of same-sex marriage.

For one thing, it means that North Carolina could not, now or ever, take any step or devise any policy to extend legal recognition and protection to same-sex couples. No domestic partnership laws. No civil unions. Nothing.

That’s mighty cold. If you disdain gay and lesbian persons, and don’t care whether they and their families remain permanently outside of the protection of our laws, such a policy might be your cup of tea. But it’s not our view, and we doubt that it’s the view of most North Carolinians.

Anti-gay forces overreached before and sought an equally draconian measure in Arizona in 2006, banning all legal equity for LGBT people, at the expense of others, and that effort was voted down. Hopefully history will repeat itself in North Carolina.

Originally posted to Milk Men And Women on Wed Apr 11, 2012 at 08:55 AM PDT.

Also republished by Angry Gays and LGBT Kos Community.

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