“The against side has an advantage in terms of tv air time and grassroots momentum and for the first time this week I really believe there’s a chance the amendment could fail,” Tom Jensen, director of PPP, told TPM in an email. “I never would have thought that until now.”
He added: “I think opponents of the amendment should be very encouraged and if they do every little thing they can in the final days to make sure voters are informed the potential for a seismic upset is there.”
The “against side” Jensen alluded to is the Coalition to Protect NC Families, the organization powering the opposition campaign. On Monday, the coalition debuted its first two television ads with the intention of purchasing more air time before the May 8 vote. One ad features a mother who expresses fear over her daughter potentially losing health insurance benefits if Amendment One passes, while the other spot centers around a victim of domestic violence who explains how passage of the amendment could preclude her from legal protections against her former significant other. Both ads encapsulate the opposition campaign’s central message: the amendment would yield sweeping implications. Jeremy Kennedy, campaign manager for the Coalition to Protect NC Families, told TPM that he has tirelessly stressed that point to voters.
“We have found that our message moves people, that they are concerned about the far-reaching consequences of this amendment,” Kennedy said. “These messages get us within striking distance of victory here.”
Misconceptions have frustrated opponents ever since the measure was approved by the Republican-controlled general assembly last fall. PPP has consistently found that large percentages of North Carolinians are unaware of what ultimate passage of the amendment would actually mean. Many believe that it would simply outlaw same-sex marriage, unaware that it would also deny legal recognition to all civil unions and domestic partnerships. Kennedy said the campaign has emphasized that gay marriage — already illegal under North Carolina law — will be unaffected by either outcome.
“What the other side says is that it’s just about marriage and protecting marriage, but what we’ve been saying all along is that it’s about much more than marriage,” Kennedy said. “Why would we be so irresponsible to amend our constitution in a way that would strip families of benefits and domestic violence protections?”