Unsurprisingly, Carroll Conley is pleased about the outcome of Tuesday's gay-marriage vote in North Carolina, and non-plussed by President Barack Obama's confirmation yesterday that he supports the right of same-sex couples to marry.
Conley, who serves as executive director of the Christian Civic League of Maine (which has teamed up with the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) to create Protect Marriage Maine -- the group that will lead the campaign against same-sex marriage leading up to the referendum vote this November), happened to be in North Carolina this week for his son's college graduation. As a result, he was able to "be part of the celebration" in Raleigh on Tuesday night, and to meet with NOM representatives for a strategy meeting on Wednesday morning.
"We look at [the 61-39 vote] as a continuation of a national trend," Conley said. "There has been a perceived momentum [in favor of gay marriage] but that momentum has always been in the context of judges and legislators making that decision." When citizens are allowed to vote on this issue, "it's gone to the defense of natural or traditional marriage," he said.
Conley also said he believes the campaign in North Carolina showed that this issue can be "a vote on marriage and not a referendum about homosexuality...In Maine our coalition is committed to the exact same principles -- you can be effective without resorting to name-calling." Conley noted that not all gay-marriage opponents are as committed to those ideals (cough, cough, Mike Heath).
As for President Obama's announcement, Conley dismissed it as a "celebrity endorsement."
"I don't think anyone was surprised by the president's remarks," he said. "I just don't see it changing anyone's mind one way or another."
To be fair, even Rachel Maddow said this morning on the Today Show that "symbolic value is hard to see in the moment...we will know more in retrospect."
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