It says something about the public's interest in voting in North Carolina that yesterday's primary only attracted 34.38% of the state's voters but that number was the largest primary turnout in decades.
The marquee event on the ballot, of course, was the Republican Party's 31st episode of gay-bashing for fun and votes. Amendment 1 denies all persons in any form of unmarried relationship any legal protections as a couple whatsoever. It passed with nearly LBJ beats Goldwater numbers: 61-39.
The man in this photo is a minister.
He wants counties and cities that offer domestic partner benefits to have to stop giving them to employees. He wants men and women alike to have no more legal protection from domestic violence. He wants couples to be split asunder after decades together if one falls ill and has to be hospitalized, or has to go into a nursing home; it please him to know that the ailing individual's partner would have no more visitation rights than a stranger off the street.
He find it God's will that an unmarried couple not be allowed to purchase a home together, or leave their estates to each other by will. He is content that what he helped unleash will hurt North Carolina's business image all over the world and cause jobs that could have come there to go elsewhere, to states- and countries- where what employees contribute to their work is more important than that their co-workers feel morally superior.
All of this, he knows directly, is the will of God.
I looked at the county-by-county returns. Most of my family voted for Amendment 1. I have a cousin who, with her husband, has boycotted those house hunting shows on TV for years because it offended them to see happy same-gender couples buying houses. Of the six counties I consider my home ground in North Carolina, all passed the amendment, by margins ranging from 65% to 80%. The voter turnout in the six ranged from 24% to37%.
The pinheads who drafted Amendment 1 said they made it so expansive that it would double-dog dare-ya-protect-the-law-already-on-the-books-banning-marriage-equality. That would protect North Carolinians from the meddlesome grasp of judges.
But their drafting- which aimed more at waving the bloody shirt for a new generation of people who need something to fear, guarantees litigation. Expensive, lengthy litigation. Litigation that could have been avoided by drafting an amendment carefully.
Doing that, however, might not have guaranteed its passage. Polls showed a majority of North Carolinians favor civil unions but just aren't willing to share marriage with the guys down the street who mow the grass on Saturday just like everyone else.
Now those voters will find they have done just the opposite. And a lot more neighbors' relations are going to be strained by looking out and finding out the couple across the street have a yard full of signs exhorting voters to make you a second-class citizen.
All of this has been let slip by the Republican Party of North Carolina with the full knowledge that it will be overturned, and sooner, rather than later. So said the Republican Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives.
Let us not forget the Majority Leader of the Republican-controlled North Carolina House of Representatives, who said on balance he expected his party to pick up more Democratic and independent voters that they lost on the venture.
Nor should we, as credit is apportioned all around, forget North Carolina State Senator Pete Brunstetter, who said her husband sponsored the Amendment 1 legislation "to protect the Caucasian race" (in fairness, she did add, when pressed to explain how white people are uniquely threatened by same-sex marriage, "Right now I have some heat stroke going on. Um there has been lots of confusion").
So today North Carolinians have a statute and a constitutional clause protecting them from marriage equality. The unemployment rate has not changed. There are no guarantees of bumper crops or a decline in mosquitoes this summer as signs of divine favor. No large corporations have announced they will move to North Carolina because of the citizen's decisive stand.
Do people feel better? Or just morally hung over?
If there is one good thing in all of this, it's this chart (h/t Joe.My.God);