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RALEIGH, NC (AP) — The debate over a proposed constitutional amendment in North Carolina has expanded to include more than simply whether gays and lesbians should be allowed to legally marry.

The measure would enshrine marriage between a man and a woman as the only recognized legal union in the state. Opponents say it could have far-reaching, unintended effects. They point to Ohio, where a similar amendment led some judges to rule that unmarried people couldn’t be charged under state domestic violence laws. That changed when the Ohio Supreme Court ruled such laws are compatible with that state’s marriage amendment.

Supporters of the measure say those arguments are just a smokescreen to distract voters. They say Idaho passed a virtually identical amendment in 2006 and hasn’t seen significant litigation or unintended consequences.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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