By Julie Bolcer
Originally published on Advocate.com April 30 2012 3:43 PM ET
Protect NC Families, the coalition working to defeat Amendment One in North Carolina, debuted two new ads on Monday to educate voters about the unintended consequences of the proposal to ban same-sex marriage. Voters will decide the issue during the primary election on May 8, which will determine whether North Carolina remains the only Southern state without such a constitutional ban.
The new ads, which will run through next Tuesday, focus on the potential impact of the measure for domestic violence victims, who legal experts say could lose protections under the broadly and vaguely worded amendment. Amendment One states that, “Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State.”
In the first ad for TV, Wake County Assistant District Attorney Amily McCool sorts through photographs of domestic violence victims aided by her office. The prosecutor, who estimates that her office receives at least 150 cases per week, says that “Amendment One could take away protections for domestic violence victims” who are unmarried to their attackers.
The second ad, which is running online, features Andrea McConnell, a New Bern resident whose younger sister was murdered by her boyfriend in 2009. McConnell urges voters to oppose Amendment One because it will deny domestic violence protections to unmarried couples. Watch the new ads below.
Last week, the coalition released its first two ads, which highlighted the far-reaching potential effects of the amendment for domestic violence victims and on health insurance for the children of domestic partners. Research by the coalition indicates that messages about the “unintended consequences” of Amendment One hold the most potential to move voters.
The latest survey from Public Policy Polling last Tuesday found support for Amendment One at an all-time low and opposition at its highest yet, with 54% of voters in favor and 40% opposed. According to the poll, voters reported confusion about what the amendment does, but when informed that it would prevent same-sex marriage and civil unions, support decreased to 38% and opposition increased to 46%. Opponents of Amendment One believe they can win the campaign if they reach enough voters with messages about the real consequences of the amendment.
Money has been flowing from North Carolina to help defeat the amendment, but the coalition is seeking more contributions from national donors. The coalition has asked for financial assistance from the Democratic National Committee, which will hold its convention in Charlotte this September. DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz spoke against the amendment on Saturday, saying that it “would single out and discriminate against committed gay and lesbian couples.” President Barack Obama issued a statement against the measure last month, but he did not mention it last week during an appearance in Chapel Hill.
Supporters of Amendment One, meanwhile, have their own ad campaign. One released last week claimed that opponents of the measure are trying to “scare voters with false claims.” The ad claims that “unmarried couples and single women would remain protected.”