You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

North Carolina strengthens gay marriage prohibition

WASHINGTON - North Carolina voters decided overwhelmingly Tuesday to strengthen their state’s gay marriage ban, a conservative show of enthusiasm six months before the nation chooses between Democratic President Obama and presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney.

Romney swept three Republican primaries, moving ever closer to sealing his nomination.

North Carolinians voted to amend their state constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman, effectively outlawing gay unions.

Also Tuesday, Democrats picked Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett to challenge Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in a June recall election.

The contests overshadowed Romney’s continued progress toward the GOP presidential nomination. He won the GOP presidential primaries in Indiana, North Carolina, and West Virginia, drawing close to the 1,144 delegates he needs to clinch the nomination. He was likely to win 100 or so delegates of the 288 he still needed.

The outcomes of Tuesday’s far-flung voting gave clues about the state of the electorate and highlighted the political minefields facing both Republican and Democratic candidates.

North Carolina voters moved in the opposite direction from a string of states - Democratic-leaning places such as New York and Vermont as well as conservative Iowa - where same-sex marriage is now legal. Six states and Washington, D.C., now recognize gay unions.

North Carolina law already bans gay marriage, but the amendment on the state ballot effectively slammed that door.

In the days before the North Carolina vote, two top administration officials - Vice President Joe Biden and Education Secretary Arne Duncan - expressed support for gay marriage. Obama supports most gay rights but has stopped short of backing gay marriage.

The Biden and Duncan comments sent the White House into damage-control mode as gay rights advocates pressed him for support.

Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.