Religious Groups, Dioceses, Churches Fund Anti-Gay Initiative in North Carolina

Voters in North Carolina will cast ballots May 8 on an anti-gay initiative that would put into the state constitution a ban on same-sex couples getting married. The broadly worded initiative would also threaten any kind of legal recognition of same-sex couples, including benefits for domestic partners. WRAL’s reporters have dug through the recent campaign finance filings and concluded that the anti-gay initiative is being pushed overwhelmingly by churches and religious nonprofits, while the opposition to the amendment is drawing most of its funds from individuals.

The biggest contributor to the anti-gay effort is the state-level Christian Action League, which has given $309,652.70, followed closely by the National Organization for Marriage at $302,589.52. Also notable are big contributions, $50,000 each, from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte and Diocese of Raleigh. Also kicking in major contributions are the American Family Association $20,000, Bayleaf Baptist Church $19,130, and First Baptist Church (Charlotte) $15,000.

But religious voices are also weighing in opposition to the anti-gay amendment. Pastors Against Amendment One has filmed testimonials from a number of clergy. One of the religious leaders urging voters to oppose the amendment is Rev. William Barber, President of the state’s NAACP chapter, who has recorded a radio spot urging voters to vote against the “deceptive” Amendment One, which he says would codify hatred and discrimination into law.