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N.C. bishops 'pleased' with marriage vote, pray for unity and renewal - Information about the amendment

Information about the amendment

The statewide campaign for the marriage amendment is closing in on the Tuesday, May 8, vote.

The amendment would enshrine traditional marriage in the North Carolina constitution – taking what is already state law and shielding it from being redefined by judges or politicians, proponents say.

The for/against ballot states: "Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State."

Polls on May 8, Election Day, will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

050712-marriage-amendment-press-conferencePictured: Deacons Art Kingsley (left), Peter Shaw and his father John Shaw, and Father James Ebright all listen as the Rev. Mark Harris of First Baptist Church in Charlotte speaks at a marriage amendment campaign press conference May 7, one day before the May 8 vote on the statewide constitutional amendment to protect traditional marriage. More than 200 ministers each spoke in favor of the amendment at the Charlotte event. (David Hains for the Catholic News Herald) 

Republican and Democratic party primaries are also being held on May 8, but any registered voter in North Carolina can take part in the marriage amendment ballot.

041312-marriage-amendment-signSigns like this one in Bishop Peter Jugis' front yard in Charlotte are being distributed to every parish for display in their communities as the May 8 vote to protect traditional marriage approaches. To get your own sign, go online to www.voteformarriagenc.com. (SueAnn Howell, Catholic News Herald) Supporters of the amendment, led by the nonpartisan coalition Vote for Marriage NC, and opponents are meeting with voters, airing television campaign ads and disseminating information to North Carolina residents in person and online through websites and social media.

North Carolina's two bishops, Bishop Peter Jugis of Charlotte and Bishop Michael Burbidge of Raleigh, are urging Catholics to vote for the constitutional amendment, and they are using the upcoming vote as an opportunity to catechize the faithful about Church teaching on the sacrament of marriage.

marriageamendment-ballotAbove is the portion of the ballot featuring the marriage amendment that voters will see when they go to the polls. This constitutional amendment ballot is non-partisan, meaning that independent voters may participate even if they do not wish to cast ballots in the Republican or Democratic primaries also happening on May 8.

The remaining days of the campaign are seeing a flurry of activity in churches of many denominations across the state as the message to support the amendment goes from the pulpits to the pews.

Vote for Marriage NC, the coalition of churches and public policy groups that have banded together to promote passage of the amendment, made a push over the weekend of April 28-29. Sermons, handouts and a video featuring many prominent local pastors urged supporters to go to the polls on May 8.

A high-profile endorsement from famed evangelist Billy Graham, along with similar endorsements from his son Franklin Graham and daughter Anne Graham Lotz, has also boosted the supporters' message out to North Carolina voters.

Catholic parishes in the dioceses of Charlotte and Raleigh will make their push for the amendment this weekend, May 5-6. A letter from Bishop Jugis and Bishop Burbidge urging voters to turn out to the polls on May 8 will be read at all Masses.

Registered Catholic families throughout the state have also received postcard reminders from the bishops during the final days of the campaign.

As the May 8 vote approached, Bishop Peter Jugis reflected on what all of the discussion about marriage has meant to Catholics in the diocese.

"The marriage amendment issue has required Catholics to think about the sanctity of the sacrament of matrimony. I pray that this reflection will strengthen their commitment to marriage as created by God, and that they will vote for the amendment on May 8," he said.

— David Hains, diocesan Director of Communication

Where and when to vote?

www.ncvoterguide.org: Find your polling place, check your registration status.

www.ncvotered.com: The website for the nonpartisan, nonprofit North Carolina Center for Voter Education. You can also call them at 1-877-25-VOTER.

More about marriage

Explore facts about the marriage amendment and read answers to marriage questions. 

North Carolina Bishops Peter Jugis and Michael Burbidge weigh in on the marriage amendment. 

Pope Benedict XVI weighs in on marriage laws in the U.S. 

Features about local couples: 

Carolina couples grow in faith through 'Teams of Our Lady'

A high-flying love that has lasted for six decades

Asheville couple shows lasting love despite war, separation

Opposites attract for Mount Airy couple

More online

North Carolina's Catholic bishops have produced a series of videos explaining Church teaching about the sacrament of marriage. View the videos.

For details about the ballot initiative, go to www.catholicvoicenc.org.

To learn more about Church teaching on the sacrament of marriage and resources for your marriage, check out the following websites: ForYourMarriage.orgMarriage-Unique For a Reason, and Why Marriage Matters.

Citizenship and voting resources for Catholics: www.catholicvote.org

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FROM THE PASTORS

Read and listen to homilies posted regularly by pastors at  parishes within the Diocese of Charlotte: