The U.S. is divided on gay marriage, as on many issues. But the gulf of the cultural divide on this particular issue is striking.

North Carolina voted better than 3 to 2 yesterday for the constitutional amendment in defense of the traditional definition of marriage. But take a look at the county results. Orange (which includes the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) and Durham (Duke) voted 5 to 1 and 5 to 2, respectively, against the amendment. Neighboring counties like Alamance, Person, and Granville were 2 to 1, or more, in favor. So there's a pretty considerable culture gap between adjacent counties in North Carolina. Yet life goes on, in that state as elsewhere, in a reasonably peaceful and civil way, and countless citizens routinely cross the county lines for commercial, social, and other reasons. The Madisonian republic lives.

But I can't resist adding the thought that I'll bet there's more tolerance in Alamance, Person and Granville for those who are proponents of gay marriage than there is at Duke or UNC-Chapel Hill for the opponents.

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