The enthusiasm and momentum is palpable. What pop culture phrase fits the mood, Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing”? Perhaps the poster in Fox Mulder’s office —  ”I want to believe”? Many in the progressive and, sadly, the LGBT community wrote North Carolina off — the last state falling to a marriage discrimination amendment was just a given.

As a native of the state and someone who lived in NY for many years and chose to come back to my home state for the quality of life here — and to work for change, I am well aware of the political changes over the years here. Time has given us a growing progressive population that delivered the state for Barack Obama in 2008, and held back a marriage amendment seven years in a row before the 2010 election debacle that put the GOP in charge of the legislature for the first time since Reconstruction. That’s what finally put an amendment on the ballot — a crappy economy, and the empty promises of Teabaggers and good old boys whose idea of small government was to put civil rights up for a vote as almost the first order of business.

But as the polls started showing that the major obstacle was not that voters were simply bigots, but that when informed about the overreach of this amendment — which would prevent civil unions as well as do away with existing domestic partnerships granted by municipalities and counties here — they said they would vote against it. And so this battle has become about education, getting commercials on the air — and Get Out the Vote.

The California Democratic party believes we can win this, and is all-in to make this victory happen in 2012. Karen Ocamb at LGBTPOV quotes the statement of California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton:

California Democrats proudly support President Obama for taking a stand against a divisive ballot amendment that seeks to codify discrimination against same-sex couples into North Carolina’s constitution.

As Democrats across the nation make plans to gather in Charlotte, North Carolina for the 2012 Democratic National Convention, it’s imperative that we send a clear and united message against all such efforts that seek to divide Americans and enshrine discrimination. California Democrats stand ready to help and we will soon be in touch with ways that Democrats here can start getting the word out to voters in North Carolina about the need to defeat Amendment One.

We saw money pour in from all over the country to help California in its Prop 8 battle, but it wasn’t ever clear that there would be the same level of commitment to help battles in smaller states with a smaller political footprint; Karen pointed out that this stand by California Dems could be unprecedented:

I’m not sure I recall another time when a state political party has offered to reach out to another state – let alone across the country – to help defeat an antigay measure such as the proposed constitutional amendment to ban same sex marriage and eliminate domestic partnerships in North Carolina.

From the bottom of my heart, I thank you, Cal Dems. I look forward to seeing you here.

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So, NOM, are you going to come out and oppose Amendment One now?

In related news, as you saw in Laurel’s post, “NOM and New Hampshire’s Catholic Bishops Suddenly Support Civil Unions,” the bigot brigade senses this issue is getting away from them and has now taken the fall-back position that, at least in New Hampshire, NOM has done an about face. Its March 13th press release says:

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) today urged the New Hampshire legislature to pass HB 437, compromise legislation to restore civil unions for same-sex couples, and repeal same-sex marriage while protecting couples who have already been “married.”

Well, let’s see. If NOM now thinks that civil unions for same-sex couples in NH are A-OK, then Brian Brown and Company really have no choice but to oppose Amendment One, since it bans civil unions, no? Unless, of course, North Carolina same-sex couples are some strange entity that bears no resemblance to New Hampshire same-sex couples. Let them try to explain their way out of this paper bag.

I think Tami Fitzgerald, head of the peas-in-a-pod with NOM org here, the North Carolina Values Coalition and VoteFORMarriageNC.com, will have to explain why her bedmates are suddenly for civil unions — and have to defend her amendment’s extreme nature. It’s not about “protecting marriage” at all, but punishing gay and lesbian couples for merely existing and wanting the same legal recognition that heterosexual married couples take for granted.

What do you have to say about NOM’s position on civil unions, Tami?

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