RALEIGH, N.C. — A referendum committee formed by several anti-gay religious groups is among the latest official campaign organizations set up for an impending ballot initiative on an anti-LGBT state constitutional amendment banning marriage, civil unions and domestic partnerships for same-sex couples.
The committee, Vote for Marriage NC, was formed last week by a coalition of groups including the N.C. Baptist State Convention, Christian Action League, NC Values Coalition, a coalition of African American pastors and the National Organization for Marriage.
Organizers announced the committee’s formation Thursday.
“We very much look forward to a dialogue with North Carolina voters about the importance of preserving marriage as the union of one man and one woman,” Tami Fitzgerald, executive director of NC Values Coalition, said in a release. “The marriage amendment ensures that voters and not activist judges will decide the definition of marriage in our state. Marriage as the union of one man and one woman has served North Carolina well since before we were a state, and it’s time we respected the institution of marriage enough to protect it in our state constitution.”
Fitzgerald is a former lobbyist for the Christian Action League and N.C. Family Policy Council, groups affiliated with national organizations named as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Fitzgerald’s NC Values Coalition led the fight for legislative approval of the amendment, which came in September. The group has provided the new committee’s first $1,000 in funding.
Fitzgerald declined to name Vote for Marriage NC’s campaign manager when asked by Raleigh’s News & Observer, but did say the committee would focus on how marriage “generates the next generation of workers and the next generation of healthy children.”
“We are going to keep it on a positive note: keeping marriage as marriage and keeping it from being redefined,” she told the paper.
An anti-amendment campaign, the Coalition to Protect NC Families, was formed by a coalition of groups including Equality North Carolina last month. Its initial financial disclosure included just $150 in contributions. Additionally, the national Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBT civil rights organization in the country, this week formed its own committee, the Human Rights Campaign NC Families PAC. The national group has yet to report any contributions.
Referendum committees are allowed to accept unlimited contributions from individuals, organizations and businesses.
“In other words, folks in North Carolina are about to get a front row seat to what a emotionally charged campaign with virtually no spending limits looks like,” Greensboro News & Record Capitol Reporter Mark Binker noted Thursday.
The first pro-equality ads for the impending amendment campaigns were announced Thursday. The national Freedom to Marry and Equality North Carolina have partnered with In The Life Media to place online ads and web videos with The Charlotte Observer, among other outlets.
Stay tuned to qnotescarolinas.com for the latest news and updates on the anti-LGBT amendment. Plus, check back on Monday for a special in-depth analysis of the new Vote for Marriage NC committee’s coalition partners and their past anti-gay marriage activities.