Poll: Lack of understanding gives Marriage Amendment a double-digit lead

The latest PPP poll numbers released Tuesday signal the possible passage of Amendment One. According to Public Policy Polling, 55% of those questioned plan to vote yes next week, while 41% say they will vote against.

How could that be? Well, a lack of voter understanding about how far reaching the amendment is continues to be the biggest obstacle for those hoping to defeat it.  Here’s more from PPP:

“The problem for opponents is that only 40% of voters actually know that the amendment bans both gay marriage and civil unions. With those voters the amendment is failing by a 60-38 margin. But with voters who think all the amendment does is ban gay marriage, 27% of the electorate, it’s passing by a 72-27 margin. And with voters who admit they don’t actually know what the amendment does, 26% of the electorate, it leads by a 64-28 margin. The more voters understand the full implications of the amendment the less likely they are to support it, but the clock is ticking.

When we informed poll respondents the amendment banned both gay marriage and civil unions and then asked how they would vote, only 38% continued to support it with 46% opposed.”

The recent efforts by the NC NAACP and other black leaders has had an impact. Public Policy notes support for Amendment One is narrowing more among African Americans (53/43).

“Voters who understand what the amendment does are opposed to it,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “But there’s a lot of education left to be done in this final week of the campaign.”

Republicans (76/21) are also considerably more united in their support for the marriage amendment than Democrats (42/54) are in their opposition. As for Independent voters, they are split (48/46) in favor of the amendment.

For a complete look at the numbers, click here.

Early voting on Amendment One (and the other primary contests) runs through 1:00pm Saturday afternoon.



  1. Bob Skelton

    May 1, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Is this really about same sex marriage or same sex partners having the same benefits as marriage between a man and a woman. I don’t understand poloticians and their inability to address the problems, fix the problems and concerns correctly, without creating more problems. Is there something wrong with the thought of having a legal term called “partners in union” which would have the same medical and tax benefits as a typical married couple. They (“partners in union”) must adhere to the same rules and regulations and licensed as a traditonal married couple. Something like this solution seems so simple to address and adheres to the needs of everyone without affending anyone.

  2. JeffS

    May 1, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    While I understand that it may be an effective argument, I continue to have a problem with the people who voice disapproval over the amendment by discussing anything but same-sex partnerships. Kids losing insurance, common law marriage, domestic abuse, and potentially discouraging businesses from locating in the area.

    When I hear them, I always have to wonder… are they condoning the bigotry that spawned this amendment? If it were to fail and come back next year with a better focused message, would people abandon it?

    The bigotry, the hypocrisy and the religiously justified hatred needs to be called out for what it is.

    Protection of marriage is a joke. Do they mean the marriage that officially transferred ownership of a woman from her father to her husband? That marriage? Nobody buys it. they’re publicizing their hatred and hiding behind their book of fairy tales for justification.

  3. Mari

    May 1, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    I wish the scare tactics regarding protecting women and children would stop. Do you even know what NC General Statutes are? Do you really think this Amendment can stop or change 50B’s, you need to google and read the Statutes for 50B and see who all it encompasses.

    Vote however you wish, but do not let ads and hearsay and other folks Facebook ‘WHAT IF’s’ convince you to vote against or for this. NC Statutes ARE STILL in place. So many many myths arnd scare tactics are being thrown out and folks are not willing to verify these myths. They want to throw 50B at you and scare you into thinking your rights are being taken away, as well as Healt…hcare benefits, and custodial visitation rights being taken away. READ the NC STATUTES yourself, don’t just ignorantly take a side without checking things out for yourself.

    Here is a HUGE MYTH: Amendment One would eliminate or diminish domestic violence protections for unmarried persons even persons of the opposite sex.

    FACT: Under current law, same sex couples already have no standing to seek a restraining order under N.C.G.S. § 50B-1(b)(1) and (2) because with regard to couples in a romantic relationship, the law only applies to married persons or persons of the opposite sex. Amendment One does nothing to change that. However, this really doesn’t mean anything because under N.C.G.S. § 50B-1(b)(5), anyone who is a “current or former household member” same-sex or not, may seek a 50B restraining order. The nature of the relationship between the parties beyond being current or former household members is irrelevant. A brother can seek a restraining order against his other brother the same way as one gay man could seek one against his gay partner with the only criteria being that they currently reside or have resided in the same household. Amendment One does nothing to change that. It is this provision more than any other that highlights the folly of the claims about Amendment One weakening domestic violence laws.

    Further, Amendment One would not prohibit the legislature from extending additional protections to same-sex couples in the future because current law already does not require a person to be married nor does it require a LEGALLY recognized or established “union” for enforcement. It simply requires that the parties prove that they have a “personal relationship” that falls within the definitions in the statute whether legally established or recognized or not. N.C.G.S. 50B-1(b). This definition extends beyond just married persons and dating relationships to roommates and even children. The latter three are not legally established or recognized “unions” either, yet they are protected.

    Thus, if such a “legal union” is a requirement to enforce the domestic violence laws, then they are already invalid as applied to everyone except married persons. Conversely, if a legal union is not a requirement for enforcement (which it is not) then an Amendment that prohibits certain legal unions would have NO EFFECT on the domestic violence laws.

    Myth 2: Amendment One will affect custodial and visitation rights of unmarried parents.

    Fact. The right to custody of a child is protected under the United States Constitution and North Carolina Constitution. An amendment to the North Carolina Constitution does not veto federal Constitutional protections.

    But most importantly the right to custody and visitation is NOT BASED ON THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE PARENTS, but instead is based on the relationship between parent and child. Amendment One has no effect on that relationship.

    In fact, our Court of Appeals has awarded custodial rights to a non-biological parent in a same-sex relationship recently in the case of Mason v. Dwinnell.2 That case did not hinge on the relationship between the same-sex couple, but instead on the relationship of each party to the child. The rule in Mason was followed by the North Carolina Supreme Court in Boseman v. Jarrell. The rationale behind the decision in Mason would not be affected by Amendment One because the parties’ relationship was not marital nor was it a legally established or recognized “union.”

    Custodial rights can also be obtained through adoption, but the Amendment doesn’t change the status quo which already does not allow for non-married couples, same-sex or not, to jointly adopt a child and thus being able to establish legal rights for BOTH parties as non-biological parents by virtue of the adoption alone. Amendment One would not prohibit legislation in the future that would permit adoption by same-sex couples. The legislature could do this by simply eliminating the marriage requirement for adoptions by more than one person. But again, Amendment One does not change the law in this area either way.

    Myth 3: Same-sex couples will be denied benefits that they currently have if Amendment One passes.

    This would only be true if those benefits were based on marriage or a legally established “domestic union”. Since North Carolina currently has no same-sex marriage or legally established “domestic union” other than marriage between persons of the opposite sex, then any current benefits cannot be based on either of those relationships. Thus, even if those relationships are prohibited from legal recognition, there would be no effect on these benefits because the legal relationship was never required in the first place to obtain them.

    Further, the Amendment plainly states that private individuals, including companies, can contract for to extend benefits to whomever they wish.

  4. gregflynn

    May 1, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    Oh “Mari”, the biggest scare tactic is the activist judge bogeyman. That and the fallacy that any two people in a committed relationship are going to diminish your marriage, unless of course you happen to be married to one of them at the time. Heterosexuals, divorce, money, abuse are the biggest threat to “marriage”.

    The private contracts issue is a red herring. Private contracts have a solid foundation in law that will not yield to a “marriage amendment”. The issue is having third parties recognize that contract as binding on them as marriage does.

  5. Kemosabee

    May 1, 2012 at 10:16 pm

    The saying that “if you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything” is better restated like this. ” If you don’t stand with God, you will fall for anything”. The Bible says marriage is for one man and one woman. Any lowly person who presumes to correct God is a fool. They may as well believe elephants fly around on little butterfly wings to go along with their gay marriage beliefs. Their minds are simply corrupted. The Bible says God may give a sinner up to their corruption and let them go on to their demise via their folly. Anyone who mocks the Bible is a full blown fool. That is not hate speech but words to the wise. Christians do not hate. Christians are here to give God’s Word to us straight and unaltered. If Christians were to keep silent and keep the truth to themselves, THAT would be hate.

  6. Stacey

    May 2, 2012 at 12:30 am

    Kemosabee, I respect that you believe in -your- religion, but fortunately, the United States is a secular country. It really saddens me that there are people who use their religion to warp the definition of hate. I truly hope you open your eyes one day. If there is a god who is decent, he respects everyone.

  7. Jane

    May 2, 2012 at 1:03 am

    Kemosabee, you are forgetting, it seems, that your religious beliefs do not, and should not, control the lives of other people. What the Bible does or doesn’t say is 100% irrelevant to the LEGALITY of homosexual marriage. Marriage is NOT a religious institution. If you want to get married, you have to get the proper documentation from the government – but you do NOT have to have any specific religious belief or affiliation. You do NOT have to be married in a church or other religious establishment. You do NOT have to be married by a religious figure. You do NOT have to have any mention of any god in your ceremony. A marriage is religious in nature only when the people getting married are religious.

    There is NO valid legal reason to prohibit same sex marriages.

    As a religious person, how do you feel about TRUE traditional marriage, as illustrated in your Bible? I am referring to the existence of polygamy, incest, men purchasing women from their fathers, concubines, & sexual slavery (several wives give their bondswomen to their husbands as additional wives to bear them more children – the bondswomen , already slaves, are then nothing more than sex slaves) found in many of the marriages in Genesis?

  8. Gigi

    May 2, 2012 at 7:57 am

    Kemosabee, I am also a Christian and believe what the Scriptures teach about marriage. However, Christians and the Church at large are full of hypocrites. We want to impose our moral and religious beliefs on the world and government but refuse to deal with some of the same issues within the Church. Jesus said get the plank out of your own eye before trying to remove the speck from your brothers. Matthew 7:5. Then and only then will Christians and the Church be the agent of change that God intended for them to be.

  9. Ashley Sue Bullers (@AshleySue)

    May 2, 2012 at 8:47 am


    Your argument that *our* religion defines marriage by using examples from Genesis is highly faulty. In fact, if you study the Bible and understand it at all, you know everything of the old testament is to show what is to come, why many things from the Old Law do not work, and why the Way is defined throughout life after Christ. Look up marriage in the New Testament and what Paul and the other apostles share over and over and over again. Not saying you won’t have a problem with some of those facets either (Biblical marriage certainly goes in the face of everything our modern society seems to value, as Biblical marriage truly is an institution and not something disposable), but at least reference it right if you are going to try to make a religious person rethink their values and beliefs.

    And, for the record, I am saying this to you as someone who is voting against the amendment, so please do not bother to write me off as yet another religious zealot. I’m just someone who is passionate about my Faith and am constantly disheartened by people criticizing it without a full and working knowledge of it.

    Thank you!

  10. Gringa

    May 2, 2012 at 10:40 am

    what a waste of time and resources. the bible is full of polygamy, by the way.

  11. Raymoo

    May 2, 2012 at 11:39 am

    All this talk about Biblical marriage. I seem to recall that this law affects the state. It’s not going to go around affecting Christian marriages. And saying we’re criticizing your religion – I’m here to criticize you as an individual for not allowing the same protections and rights to those who aren’t the exact same as you. You seem to forget that Christianity isn’t the only (and number one) religion. It’s just the dominant here. And I seem to recall that majority has to respect minority rights and a lot of Christians are fine with gays-in this case it’s just you and other individuals that don’t seem to quite get it. (Perhaps you could start understanding others by asking these people who are more openminded?)

  12. Anthony J Fuchs

    May 3, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    What you chose to ignore, Mari, is that several of North Carolina’s existing statutes, including 50B, will be rendered UNCONSTITUTIONAL if the Constitution is amended. Statue 50B would become unenforceable in court, because statute 50B recognizes many personal relationships other than heterosexual marriage, which Amendment One expressly forbids. “Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union” means that only couples which are married may be acknowledge by the court. And if 50B becomes unconstitutional, then not even married couples are protected anymore, because the statute itself is unconstitutional.

    Not only same-sex couples will be denied benefits; the partner in any unmarried heterosexual couple will also be denied benefits. Any government employer that had previously offered benefits to the partners of their employees would be prohibited from doing so, because doing so would constitute recognition by the government of a “domestic legal union” other than marriage. Even private employers will be prevented from offering benefits to the partners of their employees, because health-care providers that receive public money will be prevented from accepting those benefits for the same reason.

    These are not myths. These things actually happened in Ohio when they rammed this kind of ignorant garbage into their constitution. Read the report by the law professors at UNC: http://www.acluofnc.org/files/Final%20Marriage%20Amendment%20Report%202.pdf If you can blithely cast a vote to deny your fellow North Carolinians their basic civil rights, then you can damn well take the time to acquaint yourself with the consequences of your actions.

    And Kemosabee: nowhere in the Bible is marriage defined. Nowhere. There are, however, many references to “good” and “righteous” men with multiple wives and concubines. And, come to think of it, Jesus did specifically state that “anyone who divorces his wife…and marries another woman commits adultery.” Know any remarried Christians?

  13. Termite68

    May 4, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    What this amendment means to me is that marriage is protected from becoming any old kind of union of which man’s mind can conceive. Marriage (which is a legal commitment) between a man and woman is the highest standard. Homosexual, polygamous and a plethora of other types of relationships do not measure up to the standard that’s existed for thousands of years.

  14. rq

    May 7, 2012 at 11:53 pm


    You are very extensive, but you aren’t defining terms accurately, which makes me suspect your whole argument. There are NC government employers who extend benefits to same sex couples now, and, as shown by other states that have passed marriage amendment laws, those benefits are found to be in violation, and the courts wind up being quite tied up in the matter. This is a constitutional amendment, which means it becomes a defining document that other rules, regulations, and practices must bend to accomodate. This amendment would make it unconstituional for institutions here to recognize a marriage performed somewhere else, to recognize other forms of legal union. Yes it tacks on a couple of sentences that say “private parties may enter into their own contracts, but courts may or may not uphold those,” but that’s pretty cold comfort when citizens here want to know what to expect from this new “definition,” It is being pushed as a personal values statement, as if it were like buying flowers for your wife on mothers day, to show how special you think marriage is, but it is a definiting political statement and is based on denying a whole group of people the right to live a full, ordinary life without harrassment, and if that isn’t enought, it is done in such shoddy terms that it will also risk wiping out the rights of all the other folks who don’t fit into a “traditonal” marriage pattern.

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