The Lookout

Backlash over North Carolina’s marriage vote

The Lookout

The voters in North Carolina have spoken. Now get ready for some backlash.

By the indications of posters to the state's Visit North Carolina Facebook page, the state's tourism business might take a hit this summer.

The state's voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved Amendment One, which defines marriage as a legal union solely between a man and woman.W hile constitutional amendment's supporters were celebrating, critics--many of whom are fond of the state's Blue Ridge mountains and its beloved Outer Banks coastal region--quickly began sounding off.

The Raleigh News & Observer noted that the "normally cheerful" Facebook page has become a sort of profane sounding board for critics of the measure. The page's moderator on Wednesday issued a plea for a more civil tone, reminding those who post that it is intended to be forum about travel, "and not a place for political discussion."

Many posters, though, did not see a distinction. Many said their travels plans to the state have changed because of the vote on Tuesday. Here's a sampling of the less profane posts:

The News & Observer does point out that among people posting to the page this week, there were some positive messages and encouragement to continue coming to the state. However, they were much harder to find among the numerous posts during the past three days.

The newspaper singled-out one celebrity--former "American Idol" runner-up and current "The Celebrity Apprentice" favorite, Clay Aiken--as supporter of his home state. He told the newspaper in an interview, that he still loves his state, but not the new law.

"I don't want people talking bad about North Carolina," Aiken, who is gay, said in a phone interview. "I saw a lot of folks ... on Facebook and Twitter that were embarrassed to be from North Carolina or that people from North Carolina should be ashamed and embarrassed.

"And I think to myself, you know, you can be as mad as you want and think that all you want to, but you have to remember that 30 states did that before we did it and California was one of them. So you can kiss my foot if you want to talk bad about my state."

Tourism is big business in North Carolina. How big? According to the Viriginian-Pilot, visitors spent an estimated $17 billion in North Carolina in 2010. That was a 9% increase from the previous year, the newspaper reported. And the spending increase wasn't just in coastal and mountain hot spots. Of the state's 100 counties, 98 had an uptick in spending from 2009 to 2010.

As pointed out by "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart on Wednesday, one group of people who will most certainly be visiting the state this summer are the Democrats--for the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.,  in September.

It should be interesting.

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