Authors: Joshua Cohan
(WASHINGTON) -- The Internet-based protest movement calling for Democrats to move their summer convention from North Carolina appears to be a lost cause.
“The convention is staying in Charlotte,” Democratic National Convention Committee spokeswoman Joanne Peters said an email.
North Carolina voters Tuesday approved a ballot referendum known as Amendment One, a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and civil unions in the Tar Heel state, becoming the 30th state to adopt such a measure. Gay Marriage USA, an advocacy group based in New York, has since launched a petition calling on the DNCC to “move the convention out of North Carolina.”
“On May 8th, the people of North Carolina voted in support of Amendment One, a constitutional amendment that discriminates against LGBT people, couples & their families,” reads the petition posted on change.org. “In protest, the Democratic National Convention Committee should MOVE its convention (September 2012) to a state that upholds values of equality & liberty, and which treats ALL citizens equally.”
The petition has so far gathered more than 28,000 signatures.
The Democrats’ reasoning extends beyond general-election strategy: North Carolina will be a crucial swing state in the fall and moving it so close to the Labor Day start date is impractical. Conventions are huge undertakings, costing parties millions of dollars and taking months of planning.
“It’s completely impractical to move the convention; there’s absolutely no way you could do it,” said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics. “Too much planning has gone into it. You couldn’t find another place where you could make all the arrangements at this time. Practically speaking, it’s at total nonstarter.”
In addition to the financial losses incurred by the convention committee and the Democratic party, the city of Charlotte would be dealt a big financial blow if the convention were moved, as the event will likely have a huge, positive, economic impact on the city. In 2008, the Democratic National Convention brought an estimated economic benefit of $226 million to the Denver area, according to a report released by then Denver Mayor, now Colorado Governor, John Hickenlooper.
Furthermore, a majority of voters in Mecklenburg County, where Charlotte is located, voted against the ban on same-sex marriage. About 54 percent of the vote in Mecklenburg was against Amendment One, while about 46 percent of the voting population supported it, according to the North Carolina State Board of Elections.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio