A North Carolina reader adds some local context:
Your post was right on, but I think you are missing a couple of key elements in the maneuverings here.
The Amendment ballot was taken during a primary (a primary that was thought, at the time they scheduled it, to be a hotly contested GOP presidential contest – many thought NC would be a decisive state in the GOP primary). Thus, the NC GOP was stacking the vote for the amendment. Now, look at the 2008 totals in the General for NC: 70% turnout. If you put this issue on the general ballot in NC even this year, facing a 70% turnout (or better as projected), it would be defeated.
We know this because Speaker Tillis and Rep. Stam basically admitted as much when they called the schedule to vote. Please don't go around saying a majority of North Carolinians support this. A majority of about 1/3 of the registered electorate supported it.
The other element, is that this amendment was written by Rep. Stam (R-Apex, NC). Stam has been the American Legislative Exchange Council's state legislator of the year, and has participated in their conferences for several years. His signature achievements to date have all been ALEC inspired legislation, much of it transcribed chapter and verse from ALEC's "model" legislation. It is not a stretch to think that Stam's role in pushing Amendment 1 was a direct result of his participation with ALEC. Everything he does has ALEC's fingerprints on it.
So ask yourself these questions, why does (or why did) ALEC want Amendment 1 in NC? Which sponsors of ALEC are popping champagne corks today? Why was the amendment written in such broad language, affecting even un-married heterosexual health insurance benefits? In short, which pecuniary interests are served by this legislation? I respectfully suggest this has less to do with politics, and more to do with the bottom lines of insurance companies.
(Photo: Dr. Patrick Wooden, senior pastor of the Upper Room Church of God In Christ and his wife, Pamela Wooden, celebrate early returns that show strong support for Amendment One during an election night party at the North Raleigh Hilton on Tuesday, May 8, 2012. By Robert Willett/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT via Getty Images)