September 13th, 2011
03:03 PM ET

N.C. senate approves putting same-sex marriage amendment on 2012 ballot

North Carolina will put an amendment banning same-sex marriage on the ballot in May after the state's House and Senate passed the measure.

The measure cleared the Senate by a vote of 30-16, according to Mark Johnson, spokesperson for governor's office. On Monday the House also passed the measure by a vote of 76-41.

Read the bill (PDF)

If the constitutional amendment is approved by voters during the primary in May, North Carolina would become the final state in the Southeast to add a constitutional amendment regarding same-sex marriage.

Proponents of the measure said they felt it was important that the amendment be added so that it would protect the state's policy on gay marriage. North Carolina currently has a ban on same-sex marriage, but legislators are seeking to protect that ban by chiseling it into their constitution.

“We think the people of this state – not judges, bureaucrats, or politicians – should define marriage, which I personally believe should be between one man and one woman," Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger said in a statement after the measure passed. "We look forward to eight months of healthy debate before voters decide this issue at the polls.”

The proposed constitutional amendment sparked anger from many Democrats in the legislature, who argued the Republicans were trying to push through the measure since they have control for the first time in 140 years.

Others argued the legislature should be focused on more pressing issues such as the economy or jobs.

That concern also came from North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue.

“I’m focused on solving problems and creating jobs.  This partisan exercise does neither: Same-sex marriage is already illegal in North Carolina, and this constitutional amendment would not create a single job. In fact, it could hurt existing North Carolina businesses - as Speaker Tillis himself acknowledged - and harm our ability to attract new businesses to invest and grow jobs here. “

Sen. Josh Stein, a Democrat, echoed similar thoughts in his comments.

He referred to the cost of having to go through a session and taking up this issue while there are still some people in the state dealing with damage caused by Hurricane Irene.

"What are we doing here?" he asked.

He also echoed some of the comments that Democratic colleagues in the House argued on Monday, that this move would single out specific people and was a step in the wrong direction.

"Most of us have gay neighbors, co-workers, friends and family members," Stein said. "Know that if you vote for this amendment, you will cause them pain."

During his arguments for why the measure needed to be passed, Berger argued that the issue was of importance to a lot of people in the state. He too, echoed comments from his Republican colleagues, that there was no better way to decide than by letting the people make their voice heard.

"There is one thing that I don't think anyone can disagree with. If we don't go ahead and address this issue now, it will continue to come up," he said. "It is time to let the people of this state decide."

On Monday during a House committee hearing and then during the House vote, Democrats argued strongly against passing the measure because both of its content and the lack of a public discussion.

People on both sides of the aisle said what decision they made would go down in history.

"I remember a recent session where we went to great lengths, and necessary ones I believe, to issue an apology to African-American citizens for injustices," Rep. Susan Fisher, a Democrat, said on the House floor Monday. "What I think is about to happen here is another instance where in the not-too-distant future we will be apologizing again for unfair and harmful discriminatory practices."

Rep. Dale Folwell, a Republican, said the vote is really about allowing the people to have control of their own constitution.

"Today, history is going to talk about the strength, the strength of this chamber, to realize that some decisions are simply bigger than we are and they belong to the people of North Carolina," he said.

soundoff (969 Responses)
  1. Tim

    It is so sickening that people keep trying to compare gay rights to civil rights movement. No one is discriminating against them, they just support that fact that it is not right to be gay. For the people that say that people should be free to do what they want, say that when you have a pedophile living next door to you. We as a country have to stand up for morality.

    September 14, 2011 at 12:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Observer

      "No one is discriminating against them"

      LOL. LOL. LOL. LOL.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Hugo

      No one? What about people who get murdered only because of being gay? No one?

      September 14, 2011 at 12:39 am | Report abuse |
    • thetruth

      THANKS TIM VERY WELL PUT

      September 14, 2011 at 12:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Michelle Bachmann

      Tim, the law explicitly prohibits gay marriage in NC. Why do they need an amendment? To segregate the society and provoke hate and violence. Oh, and make sure the conservatives show up and vote for Romney.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:40 am | Report abuse |
    • wilson

      Seriously, I'm trying my best to pity you... but I can't come up with a reason. Perhaps it's because you were neglected as a child? Or, I know.. you were dropped on your head! Right? Yeah, that must be it! Or, maybe you are just stupid ignorant redneck with no education.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:40 am | Report abuse |
    • whitetrash

      Go Wilson go ..... Redneck lol he is really so ignorant .

      September 14, 2011 at 12:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      discrimination:
      noun
      treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit

      So this is exactly Discrimination.

      Your ignorance in comparing a gay person to a pedophile proves that the world needs a reboot. A gay person living next door to you would not jeopardize your safety. What are you afraid of? They do not complain when a man and woman get married. They are not trying to force others to be gay. Funny how no one tries to ban religious people that go out and try to force their religion down your throat. That is in fact an invasion of my personal beliefs. I have never had a guy person come up and try to "recruit" me. All you ignorant people need to grow up and realize the world is not just black and white. Why are gays compared to civil rights? Because people like you keep trying to take away their civil rights. Their HUMAN rights. The right to love and be loved. To marry and be happy. They are going to live together anyway. You can't stop that. Let them have the right to be happy.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:50 am | Report abuse |
  2. thetruth

    GOD IS A FIGMENT OF MANKINDS IMAGINATION

    September 14, 2011 at 12:36 am | Report abuse |
  3. Michelle Bachmann

    The Republicans are losing the 2012 election as we speak. Social issues is what will kill them. Congrats to Obama, I guess. As soon as he takes down DOMA, gay marriage goes to the Supreme Court and most likely passes. Obama needs to retire another Justice and we are all set.

    September 14, 2011 at 12:37 am | Report abuse |
  4. thetruth

    FUNNY REALLY LAUGHING SOOO HARD....YEP UR RIGHT....LOVE U ANYWAY OBSERVER!!!!

    September 14, 2011 at 12:38 am | Report abuse |
  5. Ellen Degenirate

    I got a hot wife. No real man would ever want to touch me.:(

    September 14, 2011 at 12:38 am | Report abuse |
  6. thetruth

    YOUR GOD CAN BE WHATEVER U WANT HIM TO BE....

    September 14, 2011 at 12:38 am | Report abuse |
  7. whitetrash

    Poor gay ppl of NC

    September 14, 2011 at 12:41 am | Report abuse |
  8. Hugo

    Question for people against gay marriage.

    Is a XX XY chimera male or female? Same question under NC law?

    September 14, 2011 at 12:41 am | Report abuse |
  9. Tim

    The dems are continuously killing jobs and expanding benefits so that the masses will be dependent on the govt for their lively hood. So guess who the masses will vote for. That will keep the dems in power so they can continue to tear this country down from within. But since everyone wants to cast out God and history, we will make the same mistakes. If you dont know your past then you will never know your future.

    September 14, 2011 at 12:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Hugo

      "Thanks" for the on topic post.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:43 am | Report abuse |
    • thereisnogod

      You don't seem to know your past (or present but thats another story) god needs to be tossed out. Because beliving in an imaginary being is ignorant. Our ignorance is God; what we know is science

      September 14, 2011 at 12:44 am | Report abuse |
    • dginkc

      Without those protections you'd have no job and be working in servitude. Think before you speak. Your comments have been proven to be false many times over...even by FOX news. The stimulus increased jobs – can't deny it – it's a fact. The fastest way to spot a racist is to watch for someone who says the current administration has not created a job and the stimulus was a waste of money.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Observer

      The Republicans just had 8 years to show us what they wanted in a president. We got someone who started a war for false reasons; read "The Pet Goat" while our nation was being attacked; doubled the national debt: partied while Katrina hit; ignored dying Americans begging for help in New Orleans; sent 10 times as many people into a nation that had nothing to do with 9/11 than into ones that did; was frequently incapable of composing simple proper English sentences; left the stock market plummeting; and said he didn't care about Osama bin Laden.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:47 am | Report abuse |
  10. Joseph E. Brown

    Civil Rights are what we SAY they are, and WHO gets them!
    -GOP

    September 14, 2011 at 12:42 am | Report abuse |
  11. thereisnogod

    Men never commit evil so fully and joyfully as when they do it for religious convictions.

    September 14, 2011 at 12:42 am | Report abuse |
    • thetruth

      MAN MADE RELIGION...GOD HATES RELIGION...HE WANTS YOU TO HAVE A RELATIONSHIP..NOT RELIGION...

      September 14, 2011 at 12:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Hugo

      Good reply Truth. NoGod, do you have an answer to that?

      September 14, 2011 at 12:46 am | Report abuse |
  12. dginkc

    How long until NC makes the teaching of science illegal? After all, everything you need to know about science is in the Bible.

    September 14, 2011 at 12:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Hugo

      I wonder if even the legislators even know what I'm talking about when I mention people who are chimeras. (Speaking of science.)

      September 14, 2011 at 12:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Serinanth

      Probably not hugo, genetics scares the willies out of those people, its the devils science! There is no way a human being could have two sets of DNA, thats, thats, unethical!

      September 14, 2011 at 12:48 am | Report abuse |
  13. thetruth

    K

    September 14, 2011 at 12:43 am | Report abuse |
  14. Serinanth

    Not sure if trolling or inbred....*insert skeptical pic of Fry*

    September 14, 2011 at 12:46 am | Report abuse |
  15. thereisnogod

    @thetruth you are a walking contradiction, please seek mental help for the voices you hear when this god fellow is talking to you, its called schizophrenia when you believe someone is talking to you

    September 14, 2011 at 12:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Hugo

      Interesting position. Yet, your response indicates a lack of understanding of what TheTruth is talking about.

      Do you have an understanding of what TheTruth is talking about? If so, share please. If not, why do you think you have enough information to attack if you don't have all the information?

      September 14, 2011 at 12:48 am | Report abuse |
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