Gay Marriage Referendum Drives High Turnout In North Carolina

A referendum that would outlaw same-sex marriage and civil unions is driving a high turnout in North Carolina.

As Liz reported earlier, nationally the vote is symbolic, even if former President Bill Clinton and the Rev. Billy Graham jumped in on opposite sides of the debate. Still it’s a contentious issue in the state and a mirror of the kind of debate happening nationwide.

Coincidentally, the presidential campaign was drawn into the conversation this week. On Meet the Press, Vice President Joe Biden expressed his support for gay marriage. President Obama has not gone that far, and his position was further highlighted when his education secretary, Arne Duncan, also expressed his support.

The Charlotte Observer reports that the referendum is likely to pass and that the controversial measure might push turnout to record levels. The paper reports:

“Gary Bartlett, the state elections supervisor, told NewsChannel 36, the Observer’s news partner, late Tuesday morning that the state-wide turnout could exceed 37 percent. That would make 2012′s turnout the biggest for a primary in a quarter-century, Bartlett said.

“Several people questioned by The Observer at precinct places said they were voting for a variety of reasons, but each mentioned Amendment One.”

Polls in the state have now closed. We’ll update this post as the votes are tallied.

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