Two weeks from now, North Carolina will hold a public referendum on what could become one of the toughest anti-gay measures in the country: a far-reaching proposal to amend the state constitution to ban civil unions and domestic partnerships. But President Obama is not expected to touch the subject when he appears in Chapel Hill on Tuesday — even though it is roiling the electorate there. Instead, Obama will talk about college loans, his aides said, kicking off a two-day, three-state tour designed to energize the youth vote. His delicate sidestep of Amendment One, a ballot initiative to be decided May 8 that would recognize marriage between a man and a woman as the only legal domestic partnership in North Carolina, is seen by some as another sign that he is not fully committed to gay rights — an interpretation that could dampen the enthusiasm of the young voters he is trying to court.
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