Why North Carolina banned gay marriage (+video)
Republicans and African Americans in North Carolina were united in supporting a constitutional ban on gay marriage. The North Carolina is a key swing state in the 2012 presidential election.
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Opponents said a ban would jeopardize health insurance benefits for unmarried gay and heterosexual couples and signal that the state is unfriendly to a diverse workforce.Skip to next paragraph
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"We will not allow marriage to be redefined in this state. The nation is watching North Carolina, and we have given them a high standard to follow," Tami Fitzgerald, chairwoman of the pro-amendment group Vote for Marriage NC, told supporters at a celebration party.
OTHER BALLOT ISSUES
North Carolina voters on Tuesday also picked nominees in gubernatorial and congressional races.
Walter Dalton, the state's lieutenant governor, clinched the Democratic nomination for governor after using his fundraising advantage to mount a television ad blitz in the closing weeks of the campaign.
Dalton received about 46 percent of the vote, according to incomplete returns. Bob Etheridge, a former congressman, trailed with 38 percent.
Dalton will face Republican Pat McCrory, a former seven-term Charlotte mayor who had token primary opposition, in the November general election. The winner will succeed Democratic Governor Bev Perdue, who surprised supporters by announcing she would not seek a second term.
Redistricting in the state created heightened interest in its congressional primaries, with Republicans sensing they could pick up as many as four seats currently held by Democrats.
Two Democratic congressmen, Brad Miller and Heath Shuler, chose to retire rather than run in redrawn districts that favor Republicans.
In the state's strongly Republican 13th Congressional District where Miller serves, former U.S. Attorney George Holding won the Republican nomination with 44 percent of the vote to 34 percent for Paul Coble, a county commissioner and former Raleigh mayor.
Holding helped build the criminal case against former U.S. Senator John Edwards, who is standing trial on accusations that he accepted illegal campaign contributions to shield his pregnant mistress from the media during his 2008 presidential bid.
In the 11th Congressional District in western North Carolina, the seat Shuler is vacating, a crowded eight-candidate Republican primary appeared headed for a runoff. The winner will face Democrat Hayden Rogers, Shuler's longtime chief of staff, in the November election.
(Writing By Colleen Jenkins; editing by Greg McCune and Mohammad Zargham)