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North Carolina Amendment 1: Newt Gingrich Encourages Anti-Gay Ballot Measure

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WASHINGTON -- GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is out with a new video encouraging North Carolina voters to approve Amendment 1, a ballot measure that would constitutionally ban marriage equality.

State residents will go to the polls on May 8 to vote on both the same-sex marriage measure and to pick a Republican presidential candidate.

Same-sex marriages are already banned under North Carolina law. Amendment 1 would ban them under the state constitution as well. It passed the state legislature in September to qualify for the ballot.

The language that voters will see on the ballot reads, "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." It would bar unions between gay and lesbian couples, as well as heterosexual domestic partnerships and civil unions.

In his video message posted on Monday evening, Gingrich argued that marriage is under attack, and voters need to pass Amendment 1:

Marriage between a man and a woman is at the heart of our civilization. It's a belief that is now under attack, yet it's at the very core of defining who we are. That's why I urge you to vote for the initiative right here in North Carolina. The chance to vote for a referendum to declare clearly that marriage is between a man and a woman.

This is part of the same great process this year that's involved with President Obama, and that's involved with the whole danger of what's happening to our basic beliefs. There's an effort by radicals at every level to change who we are, to change what America is and to change for our children into a future that I think will be much worse.

This is your chance to turn out and vote and vote for preserving America, and to vote for preserving a very basic institution.

A recent poll by Elon University found that 60 percent of North Carolina voters oppose Amendment 1. But as ThinkProgress has pointed out, polling on the issue has often been contradictory, as voters in the state are still figuring out what the issue is about.

Amendment 1 has drawn high-profile opposition from both Democratic and Republican political leaders in the state. Gov. Bev Perdue (D) warned that passage would be "dangerous for women" because "some laws we have on the books now to protect the victims of domestic violence may no longer apply to many women in the state." Republicans against the measure include Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.), former Charlotte mayor Richard Vinroot -- who was once the GOP nominee for governor -- and John Hood, president of the conservative John Locke Foundation.

Many businesses have also spoken out against Amendment 1.

President Barack Obama also recently came out against the referendum.

"While the president does not weigh in on every single ballot measure in every state, the record is clear that the president has long opposed divisive and discriminatory efforts to deny rights and benefits to same-sex couples," said Obama's North Carolina campaign spokesman Cameron French. "That's what the North Carolina ballot initiative would do -- it would single out and discriminate against committed gay and lesbian couples -- and that's why the president does not support it."

The pro-LGBT group Coalition to Protect North Carolina Families launched two new ads opposing Amendment 1 on Monday. Promotion of Amendment 1 is being led by the coalition Vote for Marriage NC, which includes the conservative National Organization for Marriage and Christian Action League.

CORRECTION: This article has been updated with the correct name of the group that launched two new ads Monday opposing Amendment 1. The group is the Coalition to Protect North Carolina Families.

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