The state’s major media editorialists and columnists are joining those in the gay lobby to claim that North Carolina has harmed its image by voting to approve Amendment One. Some are calling for tourists to abandon the state, that movie production companies not make movies here in such a benighted place, and that even the Democratic National Convention find a new location instead of Charlotte, which just has to be a hotbed of homophobia.

Those on the losing side, though, might be doing more harm to our state’s image than those who voted for the amendment. Check out this from a British newspaper:

The idea that hatred and ignorance have “enveloped” the people of North Carolina is widespread. The gay advocacy group Faith in America said voters had been “duped” by religious leaders; they were “uninformed or deceived”. The only reason Amendment 1 passed, says Faith in America, is because of “the populace’s misunderstanding about sexual orientation”. Of course it isn’t possible that voters simply had a considered moral objection to gay marriage – no, they were clearly all brainwashed by religious crazies. The passing of Amendment 1 shows that voters should not be trusted to rule on sensitive moral matters, says the LA Times. Apparently these kind of “anti-gay” votes will continue until “people of conscience put a stop to it by asserting that tyranny of the majority is wrong”. In short, let’s leave the creation of morality to those good people who act on “conscience” rather than to those “ordinary citizens” who have been enveloped by “hate and ignorance”.

Gay-marriage supporters have even deployed borderline racial lingo to express their fury with the uninformed hordes of North Carolina. The secularist magazine Free Thinker describes them as “knuckle-draggers”. So does Daily Kos, the must-read blog of the liberal set: it slated the “hateful, paranoid, bigoted, right-wing knuckle-draggers” who voted for Amendment 1. Sticking with the idea that opponents of gay marriage are knuckle-scraping specimens, Buzzfeed magazine published a very popular piece this week called “14 Steps That Will Evolve Your Views On Gay Marriage”. It showed a monkey in a cage – your typical opponent of gay marriage, apparently – and invited him to become more “evolved” on this important moral issue. Given the widespread criticism being made of North Carolina’s black communities in particular, many of whom supported Amendment 1, all this talk of unevolved knuckle-draggers whose brains are easily controlled by religious cranks is sailing perilously close to racism territory.

The author of the column wonders if the intolerant elitists who fought against Amendment One might have had something to do with its defeat:

This orgy of bile, from the mainstream branding of North Carolina’s voters as “ignorant” to the peripheral demands that they do the world a favour and kill themselves, shows what is behind the gay-marriage campaign. This is not about rights and equality, or love and happiness. Rather, gay marriage has become a tool through which the right-minded sections of society express their moral superiority over the dumb, the brainwashed, the insufficiently cosmopolitan, the churchgoing. Gay marriage has become a kind of weapon, wielded by the right-on to demonstrate that they are better – that is, less brainwashed and more caring – than your average redneck or country black. Supporting gay marriage has become a kind of cultural signifier, a way of distinguishing oneself from the ignorant throng.

Given all this, it is possible that the voters of North Carolina were not only voting against gay marriage, but were also sticking two fingers up at the sneering cultural elite which has been hectoring them for weeks to do “the right thing” and embrace “liberal values”. In the intensively divided America of 2012, being against gay marriage can now be seen almost as an act of political rebellion, against a faraway elite which fears and loathes anyone who is not like them.