North Carolina voters passed a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage, making it the 29th state to define marriage as between a man and a woman.
The Associated Press declared Amendment 1 passed. With 39 percent of precincts reporting, the measure has 58 percent support.
The vote came as President Obama has been facing criticism from his base for not coming out in favor of gay marriage, even as several of his Cabinet officials have expressed support. The most recent Gallup poll shows a plurality of voters support gay marriage – with the number backing it growing over the last several years. But the results in North Carolina, a major presidential battleground, could temper some of that momentum.
While an existing statute outlawed gay marriage, North Carolina was the only Southern state without a constitutional ban. Former President Bill Clinton recorded a robo-call against the measure, and Obama spoke out against it last month. Social conservatives also mobilized, with the Rev. Billy Graham featured in a full-page newspaper advertisement backing the amendment.
Same-sex marriage is currently legal in six states (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York) and the District of Columbia.