WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- President Obama's stance on gay marriage comes at a controversial time in our country and our state. His announcement comes a day after North Carolina voters approved Amendment One.
After months of debate and protests, reaction has been immediate. Tens of thousands have already signed a petition, and one Wilmington church is standing its ground.
As the dust settles in North Carolina after voters passed Amendment One, the controversial sign in front of the Devon Park United Methodist Church still stands, despite making national headlines. "A true marriage is male and female and God," the church marquee reads.
Because the church served as a polling precint Tuesday, Pastor William Pearsall says he made sure the sign was allowed.
"If anybody had raised any objection to it, we wouldn't have done it but our intention was to stand for Christian marriage," he said.
More than 60 percent of voters endorsed the amendment, which bans same-sex marriage.
"I'm glad it passed, but on the other hand, I think it's a shame that we even had to vote on it," Pearsall said.
Those on both sides of the debate spent months rallying for their cause, and the outcome was disappointing and surprising to many.
In a Facebook post, Wilmington Pride president T.R. Nunley wrote, "What makes me really angry is that many gay people choose not to vote because they didn't care enough. This is what democracy looks like when we choose not to vote! For those that voted, thank you!"
For Pastor Pearsall, the end result is bittersweet.
"No matter how much good we will do from now on, we will always be remembered for this, and that breaks my heart. That's what breaks my heart," he said.
However, Pearsall says if the sign makes just one person think about their relationship with God, then it is worth it.
Those disappointed with yesterday's vote are speaking out. A little more than 24 hours later, more than 100,000 have already signed a petition to repeal Amendment One.