Fred Prouser / Reuters
North Carolina has until Tuesday to vote its controversial Amendment 1 up or down -- and now, the Associated Press reports that former President Bill Clinton is chiming in with a decided thumbs-down.
He recorded an audio advertisement against the constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and civil unions. Starting Monday, thousands of North Carolina residents will hear this robo-call:
Hello, this is President Bill Clinton. I’m calling to urge you to vote against Amendment One on Tuesday May 8. If it passes, it won’t change North Carolina’s law on marriage. What it will change is North Carolina’s ability to keep good businesses, attract new jobs, and attract and keep talented entrepreneurs. If it passes, your ability to keep those businesses, get those jobs, and get those talented entrepreneurs will be weakened.
And losing even one job to Amendment One is too big of a risk. Its passage will also take away health insurance from children and could even take away domestic violence protections from women. So the real effect of the law is not to keep the traditional definition of marriage, you’ve already done that.
The real effect of the law will be to hurt families and drive away jobs. North Carolina can do better. Again, this is Bill Clinton asking you to please vote against Amendment One. Thanks.
With this robo-call, Clinton is taking an interesting approach. Rather than focus on the issues of discrimination and marriage equality, the former President instead focuses the indirect economic underpinnings, calling on voters to weigh a cost/benefit analysis on the issue rather than vote blindly out of moral conviction.
But real talk: is that something voters, in North Carolina or anywhere, will buy?
Clinton signed the "Defense of Marriage Act" into law in 1996, federally defining marriage as between a man and a woman. He also enacted "Don't Ask Don't Tell" three years before that as a compromise for gays and lesbians to serve in the military. It wasn't until 2009 that he come out in support of gay rights. Since his change of heart, he has advocated for gay marriage rights for New York State, and now it seems, North Carolina.
Now, whether Clinton's robo-call is merely an political or humanitarian ploy, who knows? The important thing is, he's using his clout. He's already appeared in the now-infamous campaign ad that touted Obama's role in the operation that killed Osama bin Laden. With the President's re-election campaign having just officially begun today, this may be just the start of Clinton using his electoral clout in 2012.