CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Voters in North Carolina approved a constitutional amendment defining marriage as union between a man and woman in Tuesday's statewide primary, the Associated Press reported.
Experts predict that discrimination lawsuits will be filed to stop Amendment One from taking effect in North Carolina. 1.3 million people voted on Tuesday to pass the amendment, legally defining marriage in the state as between a man and a woman. 830,000 people voted against the amendment.
The only two counties where the amendment was voted down in the Charlotte area were Mecklenburg and Watauga counties.
People on both sides of the issue spoke out after the votes were counted.
The focus now turns to what is next and that likely means a heated court battle.
Channel 9 spoke to a legal expert who said expect lawsuits to filed against Mecklenburg County.
“There's going to be a 14th Amendment federal lawsuit that tries to determine whether the amendment discriminated based on sexual orientation,” said UNC Charlotte professor John Szmer.
Last year, county commissioners approved benefits for same-sex marriage, but now there is the question of whether this amendment could take that away. Other suits might also argue it threatens protections for domestic violence victims who are not married.
Some suits might argue whether the 1st and 14th Amendments would come into play. The argument is about the 1st Amendment questioning whether religion played a role in creating the ban and the 14th, which looks at ensuring the same privileges to all U.S. citizens.
Channel 9 spoke to people on both sides of the issue last night.
“Once this passes, we will be placing it in the safety of our Constitution and where it will be safe in the whims of the judges and state legislature who might seek to redefine marriage,” said Rachel Lee.
“I was hoping the gap would be more close together. It is disheartening to me. I feel like other civil rights came along and progressed, this issue will as well,” said Laura Cox.