The entertainment industry reaction to North Carolina’s constitutional ban on gay marriage was swift, with everyone from President Obama to “The Ides of March” actress Evan Rachel Wood and season two “American Idol” runner-up Clay Aiken speaking out against the vote.
“The thing that affects everyone, whether it’s same-sex couples or opposite-sex couples who have children, is unless they are married opposite-sex couples who are living together or who have children run the risk of losing health insurance for the child if they are not married,” Aiken, who is the openly gay father of a young son, told CNN on Tuesday as the vote was taking place.
Aiken said the thing that is “deceptive” about the amendment is that it restricts domestic partnerships and civil unions (for straight couples as well), despite polls that show that the majority of North Carolinians support those kind of unions; gay marriage was already banned in the state before Tuesday’s vote.
“North Carolina … has a history of being a state that takes deliberate steps,” he said, noting that it was the last Southern state to secede from the Union during the Civil War. “In general, we have always been a state that takes responsible steps and this is an example, the only example in my lifetime, of the state taking a very irresponsible step.”
The new amendment states that, “Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state.” Voters approved the amendment by a 61-39 percent margin, making North Carolina the 31st state to vote in favor of a constitutional amendment seeking to defend the traditional definition of marriage as a heterosexual union.
Aiken noted that the constitutional amendment is redundant, since the state already bans gay marriage and noted that even the Republican leader of the North Carolina general assembly believes it won’t stand. Supporters pushed for the amendment because they thought it was necessary to fight off any future legal challenges.
The singer also said he continues to be frustrated to hear President Obama say that his stance on gay marriage is “evolving,” but that he was excited to recently hear Vice President Joe Biden come out in support of gay marriage. Following the vote, Obama said he was “disappointed” by the results, with a spokesman saying it was discriminatory against gays and lesbians.
Evan Rachel Wood posted a series of tweets on Tuesday decrying the action. “Just bent over on set and cried over this outcome,” the openly bisexual actresswrote. “I hope my children see a more peaceful and tolerant world. I hope we will be heard … If you choose to stay in the dark ages you will never grow, never fully love, and never live your life to its full potential. I will never give up my right to love. Not for any religion. Not for any god. To give that up means giving away our soul. And your soul was a gift from God.”
Also weighing in against the action were comedians Patton Oswalt and Sarah Silverman, as well as Scissor Sisters singer Jake Shears and actress Roseanne Barr, who urged movie studios to “withdraw your productions from NC!”