Groups against gay marriage ban debut TV ads

The Associated Press

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RALEIGH – Opponents of a proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in North Carolina unveiled a pair of television ads Monday which they say describe how the measure would hurt children and victims of domestic violence.

The Coalition to Protect All NC Families presented the ads, which are airing statewide, at a news conference.

The constitutional amendment would define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Early voting has begun ahead of the May 8 referendum. Same-sex marriage is already illegal by statute in North Carolina.

“As voters head to the polls over the next two weeks, it is our charge to broaden our efforts to educate them on Amendment One’s potential threats to families they know and love,” said Jeremy Kennedy, campaign manager for Protect All NC Families. “And so we’ll be turning up the volume today with television advertising meant to show the very real and personal impact of Amendment One.”

One ad describes the fears of a woman, her partner and their 5-year-old daughter over possibly losing health insurance for the family. The woman works for the city of Durham and receives benefits under that city’s domestic partnership plan.

The other ad features a woman who is described as a domestic violence survivor and who worries the amendment would invalidate the protective order she’s taken out against her former boyfriend.

Kennedy said the language of the proposed amendment would mean provisions such as those in Durham would be stricken.

Beth Froehling, executive director of North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said passage of the amendment could spark an increase in deaths from domestic violence because unmarried victims would no longer be able to seek protective orders.

“Our focus is, of course, on domestic violence, but we’re learning more and more of harmful consequences to all kinds of people, which is not something our state should do,” she said.

Tami Fitzgerald, chairwoman of Vote FOR Marriage NC, said in a written statement that the ads show that the anti-amendment forces have abandoned the idea of same-sex marriage because North Carolinians have rejected it.

“Instead, the opposition has released television advertisements that are false because they are desperate to redefine what the amendment is all about,” Fitzgerald said. “Their claims are invalid and untruthful.”

Fitzgerald said voters “see through these deceptive and false arguments and will vote to protect marriage in our State Constitution — a vote based on the truth that marriage comes from God and should be only between one man and one woman.”