Yes, the gay-marriage amendment has “revealed generational and urban-rural divisions,” as The News & Observer reported Sunday. But, as is so often true in North Carolina politics, the fundamental divide is over religion.
Note how often supporters of the amendment say or write something along the lines of one bumper sticker: “It’s in the Bible. God said it. That ends it.”
Not a lot of room for debate there.
That’s why, as The N&O noted: “The campaign supporting the amendment, Vote for Marriage, has its foundation of support in churches throughout the state.”
Public Policy Polling predicts the amendment will pass with 57-59 percent of the vote. That will not surprise anyone who tracks the religious beliefs of voters.
Back in the days when I was following polls for candidates, we would ask whether people considered themselves “fundamentalist Christians” and “evangelicals.” I can’t recall exact numbers; I just remember our out-of-state consultants being stunned.
The numbers were especially high among African-American voters. And PPP’s last poll shows them favoring the amendment by 55-35.
If you live in a city, you might miss this. And it’s not that opponents of the amendment aren’t religious. Some surely, aren’t “churched,” but those who go to church tend toward a belief system that emphasizes fairness and tolerance. “Fundamentalists” care more about order, tradition and morality.
This moral conservatism runs deep in North Carolina’s political DNA. You have to understand that to understand what’s apparently about to happen.