CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA, May 9, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) –  The movement to protect marriage as a union of one man and one woman marched forward yesterday as an emphatic majority of North Carolina voters approved a constitutional amendment forbidding activist judges from redefining the family.

Amendment One, the Defense of Marriage Act, passed on Tuesday by 61 percent to 39 percent.

On his daily podcast Wednesday morning, Dr. Albert Mohler referred to the vote as a “landslide.”

Peter LaBarbera, president of the family values group Americans for Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH) told LifeSiteNews.com the vote’s impact is “huge.”

“The thrust of the message from the other side is that the homosexual issue is over. How dare you still disagree us?” LaBarbera said. “Now we’ve got 61 percent of the people in a lopsided campaign with” enormous “media bias and all the advantages that the gay side had, and we won.”

“The debate is not over,” he said.

National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown sounded a similar theme. “So much for the idea being promulgated by the media and the elite that same-sex marriage is inevitable,” he said.

NOM contributed $425,000 to the statewide effort; media sources report the two sides were equally well-funded.

Obama campaign spokesman Cameron French said Tuesday the president was “disappointed” with the outcome. The president had publicly opposed the measure.

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For those who defend marriage, the vote was long overdue. “North Carolinians have been waiting for nearly a decade to protect marriage,” Tami Fitzgerald, chairwoman of Vote FOR Marriage NC, said. North Carolina became the 31st state, and the last state in the Southeast, to pass such a measure. “From a regional perspective, North Carolina is late to the game,” stated Lara Brown, a political scientist at Villanova University.

Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington will vote on the definition of marriage this year. Brown is predicting victory in all four remaining states. 

“At every opportunity, the American people have demonstrated a deep appreciation for the unique benefits that marriage between a man and a woman brings to families and society,” said Family Research Council President Tony Perkins. “They recognize that marriage is the only kind of union that results in natural procreation and keeps a mother and father together to raise the children produced by their union.”

“Once again we see that Americans are married to marriage, the fundamental building block of a healthy, thriving society,”  said Alliance Defense Fund Senior Counsel Brian Raum. “ADF applauds the people of North Carolina who’ve followed in the footsteps of diverse cultures and faiths, throughout history and across the globe, in upholding marriage as the ideal.”
   
The amendment passed in 93 of the state’s 100 counties. 

The amendment stated, “Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State.”

Although 93-year-old North Carolina native Billy Graham supported the amendment, it was opposed by the son of Jim and Tammy Bakker.

The measure drew heavy opposition from around the country, as well. Former President Bill Clinton, who signed the Defense of Marriage Act, voiced a number of robo-calls saying the amendment would diminish “North Carolina’s ability to keep good businesses, attract new jobs, and attract and keep talented entrepreneurs.”

The governor of North Carolina, Bev Perdue told MSNBC’s Chuck Todd Tuesday morning the amendment would be “bad for business” and “hurt our brand.” She labeled its supporters “extremists” and the measure “an amendment that pushes North Carolina backwards.” 

Half-a-million people voted early by absentee ballot, and at least an additional million voted on Tuesday. Turnout was higher than for the 2008 Democratic primary, which pitted Barack Obama against Hillary Clinton.

The amendment also strikes down unmarried heterosexual unions. The estimated number of such couples ranged from 150,000 to 200,000 in North Carolina. “We are not anti-gay – we are pro-marriage,” said Fitzgerald.

Obama narrowly carried North Carolina in 2008 and is assiduously courting the state this election season, hosting the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte this summer.

Although Newt Gingrich endorsed Amendment One shortly before exiting the presidential race, Mitt Romney – who campaigned on his support for the traditional family as governor of Massachusetts – did not take a stand on the issue, a move that befuddled some, particularly with the lack of enthusiasm many in his base have for his candidacy.

American Family Radio host Bryan Fischer said, “If you are looking to gain political support, there are a lot of worse places you can stand than next to Billy Graham.”