NC Same-Sex Marriage: Examining The Possible Political Fallout

Oct 14, 2014

Betty Mack and Carol Taylor of Asheville, partners of 41 years, show their marriage certificate
Credit Casey Blake via Twitter

A judge's decision last week to legalize same-sex marriage in North Carolina has brought out many polarizing opinions.  Political candidates and office-holders have come down on either side of the debate.  Among them are the two men who may face off for governor in 2016. 

Andy Taylor is a political science professor at N.C. State University.  He says Roy Cooper and Gov. Pat McCrory could see the fallout from this legal issue spill into their potential campaigns.

"Same-sex marriage has never been an issue that either as candidate or governor McCrory has really spoken out a lot about," Taylor said. 

"But he obviously has some personal positions about it... and it's his job to execute the law of the state.  And sometimes those things are difficult.  Attorney General Cooper was in the same position as well."

In fact, Cooper said his office would not defend challenges to same-sex marriage once the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Virginia's ban.  

Taylor says same-sex marriage could be a talking point in the contentious U.S. Senate race between Democrat Kay Hagan and Republican Thom Tillis, but he doesn't see it as a major issue there.

"I think that's really at the margins.  This is a very interesting issue,very important to certain people.  But if you look at the issues that voters say are most important to them in this election campaign... It's things such as jobs, the economy and economic growth, foreign policy and education," he said.

Taylor does say if the issue were to benefit one side over the other, it would be the Republicans that could have an advantage.  He points to the conservative push that passed Amendment One in 2012.