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NC Same-Sex Marriage: Examining The Possible Political Fallout

Betty Mack and Carol Taylor of Asheville, partners of 41 years, show their marriage certificate
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. 

Gurnal Scott joined North Carolina Public Radio in March 2012 after several stops in radio and television. After graduating from the College of Charleston in his South Carolina hometown, he began his career in radio there. He started as a sports reporter at News/Talk Radio WTMA and won five Sportscaster of the Year awards. In 1997, Gurnal moved on to television as general assignment reporter and weekend anchor for WCSC-TV in Charleston. He anchored the market's top-rated weekend newscasts until leaving Charleston for Memphis, TN in 2002. Gurnal worked at WPTY-TV for two years before returning to his roots in radio. He joined the staff of Memphis' NewsRadio 600 WREC in 2004 eventually rising to News Director. In 2006, Raleigh news radio station WPTF came calling and he became the station's chief correspondent. Gurnal’s reporting has been honored by the South Carolina Broadcasters Association, the North Carolina Associated Press, and the Radio Television Digital News Association of the Carolinas.
Fed up with the frigid winters of her native state, Catherine was lured to North Carolina in 2006. She grew up in Wisconsin where she spent much of her time making music and telling stories. Prior to joining WUNC, Catherine hosted All Things Considered and classical music at Wisconsin Public Radio. She got her start hosting late-nights and producing current events talk shows for the station's Ideas Network. She later became a fill-in talk show host and recorded books for WPR's popular daily program, Chapter A Day.
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