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Money spent on marriage amendment campaigns shows divide

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TWC News: Money spent on marriage amendment campaigns shows divide
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RALEIGH – As Tuesday's state primary races heat up, the marriage amendment continues to be the topic earning the most attention and money.

North Carolina voters will decide whether to define marriage in the state's constitution on Tuesday, May 8. The influx of money on both sides shows they're passionate about the result.

Wealthy individual donors like Todd Stiefel have given six-figure donations to oppose the amendment.

"Between myself and my foundation, $120,000,” said Stiefel, who opposes the amendment.

But the money isn't just from big donors.

The Coalition to Protect All NC Families said it has received more than 10,000 individual contributions totaling more than $2.5 million. Stiefel said he believed that number shows the issue isn't just about defining marriage

"I think it says there are a wide number of people that are trying their best to preserve their civil rights and their civil liberties. That's what this is really about at the end of the day,” said Stiefel.

But those in favor of the amendment disagree.

"I think the amount of money that has been put into the campaigns both for and against the amendment illustrate how there is a real clash of values surrounding the issue of marriage,” said Rachel Lee, with Vote for Marriage NC.

Supporters of the amendment have also made huge donations.

Franklin County native Phil Drake has donated $250,000 dollars, and some national groups have chipped in even more. But as of last week, supporters still trail in fundraising dollars by nearly two to one.

Despite that gap, the latest polls show support for the amendment remains strong.

"Throughout this campaign, it's clear that the people support preserving marriage between a man and a woman in our constitution,” said Lee.

Stiefel said voters should think about the people who would be affected by the amendment before voting.

"Would you want the government treating you differently? Would you want the government stopping you from getting married?” said Stiefel

The last time North Carolina's constitution was amended was in 2004.

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