North Carolina voters have passed a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage today via a statewide ballot measure, according the Associated Press.

A sign displays a message opposed to gay marriage in front of the Devon Park United Methodist Church polling site on Tuesday, May 8, 2012, in Wilmington, N.C. (Ken Blevins/AP)

Twenty-eight states have constitutional amendments that ban gay marriage; another ten ban it by statute. Until today, North Carolina was the only state in the South did not have a constitutional ban. Republicans took over the state legislature in 2010 after 140 years of Democratic rule, setting the stage for the ban.

While the country is about evenly split on gay marriage in polls, supporters have yet to succeed at the ballot box. Statewide ballot measures on gay marriage have come up 31 times since 1998. Advocates for gay marriage lost each time.

“The fight goes on,” Human Rights Campaign spokesman Paul Guequierre said. The group was heavily involved in the anti-amendment Coalition to Protect North Carolina’s Families. “This is a temporary setback. Public opinion is quickly shifting toward equality and it’s only a matter of time until we achieve full equality under the law.”

Amendment One opponents were better funded than Amendment One rivals. But Jeremy Kennedy, campaign manager for the anti-amendment coalition, told The Fix before the results came in that too much of that money came late in the race.