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North Carolina's Ugly Amendment One

Yesterday, voters in North Carolina approved a narrow-minded, mean-spirited, and poorly-written state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. What happens now?

According to a 2011 paper, North Carolina may soon experience a (further) reduction in tolerance for gay people and increased rates of syphilis. Using state-level datasets from 1980 to 2008, the paper’s three authors found that bans “tend to lower tolerance for gays by about 22 percentage points,” and that “having a ban on both same-sex marriage and civil union[s] significantly raises the syphilis rate.” And as for the argument that the ban was needed to “protect” marriage? The authors found “no evidence that bans impacted the marriage rate and little evidence that they lowered the divorce rate.” That may come as news to the amendment’s supporters (who already had state law on their side). According to multiple news reports, they celebrated their erection of an extra legal barrier against someone else’s marriage by eating—yes, this is true—wedding cake.