With the vote on North Carolina's anti-gay Amendment One less than a week away, household names are joining the fray on both sides of the issue.
Evangelist Billy Graham, 93, is placing ads in 14 newspapers this weekend voicing support for the measure while former First Daughter Chelsea Clinton on Thursday (3 May) went public with her opposition to it.
'Amendment One unfairly targets women, children and families, gay and straight, who fall outside of the narrow definition of family articulated by those who drafted the legislation,' says the only child of former US President Bill Clinton and current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. 'It is our duty to join the fight on behalf of both the gay and lesbian North Carolinians who were the original targets of the amendment and the tens of thousands of straight male and female North Carolinians who will be collateral damage if the amendment passes next Tuesday.'
Clinton's remarks appear on the ActBlue website where money is being raised to defeat the measure.
She also explains why she decided to speak out: 'I believe that everyone must stand up for what is right, whenever possible, wherever possible. I also believe that when the civil rights of any one American or group of Americans in one place are questioned, all Americans, everywhere, should care that the answer is the right one. Those are lessons I learned at a young age from my parents and they are guiding principles in my life.'
The legislation would ban the state from recognizing civil unions, strip away domestic partner benefits and could eliminate legal protections for all unmarried couples in the state.
The state's governor, Beverly Perdue, is also against the legislation and says children of unmarried couples could lose their health benefits if Amendment One were to pass.