Historian calls Amendment One civil rights issue - FOX Carolina 21

Historian calls Amendment One civil rights issue

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A couple holds hands at a park. (File/FOX Carolina) A couple holds hands at a park. (File/FOX Carolina)
GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

In South Carolina, marriage is defined as between a man and a woman.

Now, North Carolina has joined the other 28 states by adding this definition to its constitution. Amendment 1 passed by a 22 percent margin on Tuesday. Only eight counties in North Carolina voted against the law.

Political consultant Chip Felkel called the defeat for those in favor of gay marriage "significant." He expects the vote, and President Barack Obama's newly announced support for same-sex marriage, will play a part in the upcoming presidential election.

He said the vote wasn't too surprising because areas outside of the larger metropolitans are largely conservative.

"I wonder if this had gone differently if it had been a civil union discussion as opposed to marriage," said Felkel.

The last time North Carolina changed its marriage laws was in the late 1960s when the Supreme Court's Loving v. Virginia case deemed the ban on interracial marriage unconstitutional.

Dr. Carmen Harris, history professor at the University of South Carolina Upstate, said the vote is less about marriage and more about "the concept of American liberty, and whether a majority of people in America have aright to make decisions for others.

She said Amendment 1 fits along well with America's past, connecting all the way back to the American Revolution and the Bill of Rights

"The history of America has been a history of a civil rights struggle," said Harris, "for what are our natural and unalienable rights."

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