North Carolina voters approved a constitutional amendment that makes marriage between a man and a woman the only legal union the state will recognize.
More than 500,000 voters cast their ballots in the state's primary Tuesday. In the end, 61 percent voted to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman and 39 percent voted against it.
"I've read the Bible through 3 or 4 times and I think it's the thing to do," Richard Foard explained his decision to vote in support of the ban.
North Carolina is now the 31st state to ban gay marriage with a constitutional amendment. The state already has a law doing so, but this amendment effectively slams the door shut on the issue.
Joe Easterling, who described himself as a devout Christian, voted for the amendment at a polling place in Wake Forest.
"I know that some people may argue that the Bible may not necessarily be applicable, or it should not be applicable, on such policy matters. But even looking at nature itself, procreation is impossible without a man and a woman," he said.
"Because of those things, I think it is important that the state of North Carolina's laws are compatible with the laws of nature but, more importantly, with the laws of God," he added.
The amendment goes a step beyond banning gay marriage. It states that North Carolina will not legally recognize any other type of domestic union. That applies to any unmarried couples, whether they be gay or straight.
Opponents say the the amendment hurts families, and they're vowing to take it to court.
"We just keep working," Sarah Preston with the American Civil Liberties Union said. "Because what we want to see is a Constitution that expands and protects rights, not a Constitution that marginalizes people."
Several big names got involved in the issue, including members of President Barack Obama's cabinet. Former President Bill Clinton also recorded a telephone ad urging North Carolinians to vote against the amendment.
Evangelist Billy Graham and his son, Franklin, spoke out in support of the amendment. In a newspaper ad, the two urged voters to take a stand for God's definition of marriage.
More North Carolina voters cast their ballots Tuesday than in the 2008 presidential primary, when Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were fighting for the Democratic presidential nomination.