WASHINGTON, D.C., September 22, 2011 ( – The Obama administration has denounced last week’s approval by the North Carolina legislature of a ballot initiative to define marriage as between one man and one woman.

“The President has long believed that gay and lesbian couples deserve the same rights and legal protections as straight couples,” White House spokesman Shin Inouye said. “That’s why he has called for repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and determined that his administration would no longer defend the constitutionality of DOMA in the courts.”


The North Carolina legislature, by three-fifths majority votes in both the state Senate and House, approved the ballot measure that says that marriage “between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state.”

The amendment will go on the primary ballot in May 2012, which may make it more likely that the amendment will succeed because Republicans will be drawn to the polls by the GOP presidential primary. A simple majority of primary election votes would be needed to write the marriage amendment into the Constitution.

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While North Carolina already has a 1996 law defining marriage as between a man and a woman, it is the only southeastern state without a constitutional marriage amendment. A majority of states have a similar constitutional amendment.

The Obama administration’s criticism of the North Carolina marriage amendment is not its first time trampling on states’ efforts to defend traditional marriage. In May, the White House condemned a traditional marriage amendment proposal in Minnesota.

At that time, Inouye issued a statement that read: “The President has long opposed divisive and discriminatory efforts to deny rights and benefits to same sex couples or to take such rights away. While he believes this is an issue best addressed by the states, he also believes that committed gay couples should have the same rights and responsibilities afforded to any married couple in this country.”

In 2008, then Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama made clear his position on the issue of California’s marriage amendment.

“I oppose the divisive and discriminatory efforts to amend the California Constitution, and similar efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution or those of other states,” said Obama.

In February of this year, the Obama administration said that it would no longer defend the federal DOMA in court, and in July, it endorsed a bill to recognize homosexual “marriage on the federal level.

A Civitas poll in August found that 49% of North Carolina’s unaffiliated voters support a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman.