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N.C. gay marriage views are changing

A new Public Policy Polling survey looks like another harbinger of the end to North Carolina’s ban on same-sex marriage. The survey released last week shows North Carolinians are quickly dropping their opposition to gay unions. In the two years since voters approved a constitutional ban – needlessly since there was already a state statute banning such unions – the percent of residents opposed to gay marriage has dropped by 8 points. Where 61 percent voted for the constitutional ban in 2012, just 53 percent said they support such a ban today, according to a poll of 740 N.C. voters. Only 33 percent of young voters support such a ban.

And 62 percent of all polled support either marriage or civil unions for same-sex couples to only 34 percent who think they should have no legal recognition at all.

The state’s misguided embrace of discrimination might be on its last legal legs this year. Next month, a federal appeals court will review a February decision by a Virginia judge finding that state’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional. The appeals court decision, which legal experts say likely would apply to the Carolinas and West Virginia, could come by fall.

The toppling of North Carolina’s bad law can’t come soon enough.

Law Day Essay contest

The April 22 deadline for the Observer editorial board’s Law Day essay contest is fast approaching. Each year, the editorial board co-sponsors the contest with the Mecklenburg County Bar Association. It is held in conjunction with the Bar’s annual Law Day Luncheon, which will be at the Hilton Charlotte Center City on May 8. The keynote speaker is Mary C. Curtis, award-winning multimedia journalist and a former columnist and editor at the Observer. She appears weekly on TV’s WCCB News Rising Charlotte and contributes to The Washington Post’s “She the People” blog and NPR.

This year’s Law Day theme is “American Democracy and the Rule of Law: Why Every Vote Matters.” The American Bar Association calls the right to vote the “very foundation of government by the people.”

For the contest, students should explore the principle of government by the people and how voting realizes this goal. They should also explore the struggle for voting rights in this country. Prizes of $300 and $100 will be given for the top two essays. To enter, students should send typewritten essays of up to 700 words examining the issue to: Fannie Flono, Associate Editor, The Charlotte Observer, P.O. Box 30308 Charlotte, NC 28230-0308. Essays may also be e-mailed to fflono@charlotteobserver.com.

Essays must include the writer’s name, age, address, phone number, the school the student attends and the names of his or her parents or guardians. No essays will be accepted after April 22. Only high school students in the Observer’s circulation area are eligible.

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The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

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