North Carolina voters say 'yes' to gay marriage ban

The big question is, what effect will this have on the upcoming presidential election? How big of a role will gay rights play between now and November? Obama has long stood somewhere between gay rights activists and those opposing same-sex marriage, stating that he supports civil unions and continues to "evolve" on the matter. Just days before North Carolina's Amendment 1 vote, both Vice President Joe Biden and Education Secretary Arne Duncan wholeheartedly endorsed gay marriage. But Obama has remained quiet on the issue following their comments, though it's anticipated he'll discuss the issue in an exclusive interview with ABC news today.

North Carolina would be a pivotal win for either side in the November 6 election, and other key battleground states ? including Florida, Virginia and Ohio ? have similar bans and stances on the issue of gay marriage. If Obama fully embraces equality as he vies for a second term, having a view considered unpopular in such states could unfortunately give an edge to Republican contender Mitt Romney.

The question is, should Obama do what's right and step up in support of marriage equality ? after all, a slight majority of Americans, about 53%, supports same-sex marriage, according to the latest polls ? or remain on middle ground, at least through the election, in order to keep conservatives happy and attempt to retain his post?

Yesterday, North Carolina voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment defining marriage as solely between a man and a woman, effectively banning gay marriage in the state. Of course, the state's law already prohibits same-sex nuptials. But 61% of voters still felt the need to say yes to Amendment 1, which takes the anti-gay bigotry a step further: It also bans civil unions and strips same-sex couples of domestic partner benefits.

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