CNN: “Despite the relentless lawsuits and attempts to marginalize supporters of traditional marriage, a clear majority of the American people have not given up on standing in support of marriage,” said Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council. “But instead, the evidence suggests they want to see it strengthened and preserved for future generations.” Vote for Marriage NC, which supported the amendment, said its passage ensures that the state — not a judge — will define what marriage is in the future. “We are not anti-gay, we are pro-marriage,” said Tami Fitzgerald, chairwoman of the group. “And the point — the whole point — is simply that you don’t rewrite the nature of God’s design for marriage based on the demands of a group of adults.” Voters appoved the amendment by a 61%-39% margin with all counties reporting, according to unofficial returns from the State Board of Elections.MORE

NEW YORK TIMES: WE tend to think of people who play pivotal roles in the advancement of social justice — and who pay steep prices for it — as passionate advocates with intense connections to their cause. We imagine them as crusaders. Marsha Ternus wasn’t. She just tried to be fair. The first woman ever to preside over the Iowa Supreme Court, she was asked three years ago to rule on a challenge to an Iowa statute banning same-sex marriage. She looked at the case and at the law and deemed the ban a violation of equal-protection language in the state’s Constitution, which said that no privileges should be reserved for a limited class of citizens. Her six fellow justices agreed. Their unanimous decisionis why Iowa is among the minority of states in which two men or two women can marry. It’s also why Ternus lost her job. The following year, she and two other justices came up for what are usually pro forma retention votes, and Iowans booted them from the bench. National groups on the religious right had mounted a furious campaign against them, calling them members of “an arrogant elite” with a “radical political and social agenda.” […] Ternus told me: “If these organizations are really worried about marriage, rather than being motivated by bigotry and hatred, then they would be going after the divorce laws. But they’re not.” What most concerns her, though, is what she sees as the politicization of the judiciary, with elected officials and partisan groups firing warning shots at judges and screening them for preordained allegiances. The judiciary, she said, can check and balance legislatures — and mete out true justice — only by being less casually reactive to public opinion. A registered independent, she said that she and her fellow justices divorced politics from their thinking. Referring to her subsequent punishment at the polls, she said, “If people think that what happened here doesn’t influence other judges, they’re really naïve.” MORE

NEW YORK TIMES: On this issue, the president isn’t leading. He’s following. And the gap by which he trails others in his party grows broader and sadder. Maybe he’ll surprise us this week. I doubt it, for reasons that I’ll explain shortly — and that I mostly sympathize with. It’s possible, I suppose, that he has reservations of conscience, though his own words back in 1996, when he ran for the State Senate in Illinois, suggest otherwise. “I favor legalizing same-sex marriages,” he wrote in response to questions from a gay newspaper, “and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages.” Since then he has apparently retreated, even as the nation has advanced. States as different as Iowa and New York have legalized same-sex marriage. A growing number of surveys over the last two years show that more Americans support marriage equality than oppose it. But we’re not yet talking about a bounty of polls. We’re not yet talking about an impressive margin of difference. And national voter surveys don’t necessarily reflect the climate in given battleground states. So it’s impossible to assert that marriage equality is a prudent wager for a presidential candidate in 2012. In 2016? For a Democrat, it most likely will be, and I assume that Cuomo and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, a fellow champion of the issue and another of the party’s rising stars, have made that calculation. MORE

UPDATE: “I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married.” — President Barack Obama