President Obama pitched his new jobs plan to young people at North Carolina Sate University this afternoon, arguing that Congress should immediately pass the administration’s jobs bill to put America back to work. Obama made no mention of yesterday’s vote by the North Carolina senate to send to the ballot a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage, however, despite employers’ insistance that the measure could actually hurt the state’s ability to attract new businesses and hamper his goal of job creation. Before yesterday’s vote, more than 75 business leaders had signed a letter to the state legislature warning, “We write to oppose this extreme amendment because of the significant harm it will cause our state’s pro-business environment, its major employers, and efforts to spur job-creation in North Carolina.” The group argued that the amendment would “adversely impact the state’s workforce quality, regulations and living environment.”
Obama’s omission is particularly surprising given the positive reception it would have received from the college students assembled for the speech and North Carolinians across the state. A Public Policy Polling survey released last week found that 78 percent of respondents between the ages of 18 – 29 would vote against the anti-marriage amendment. Fifty-five percent of residents were opposed to it, including 63 percent of Democrats, 52 percent of independents, and even a plurality — 47 percent — of Republicans.
The White House did condemn the amendment in a statement issued last night. “The President has long believed that gay and lesbian couples deserve the same rights and legal protections as straight couples,” Shin Inouye, a White House spokesperson said in a statement. “While the President does not weigh in on every single action taken by legislative bodies in our country, the record is clear that the President has long opposed divisive and discriminatory efforts to deny rights and benefits to same sex couples. The President believes strongly in stopping laws designed to take rights away.”