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. thetruth


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

    Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime; give a man religion and he will die praying for a fish.

    September 14, 2011 at 12:46 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Klaark

    What a crappy state.

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

    Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?

    September 14, 2011 at 12:47 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tim

      If you had a relationship with God then you would be able to answer your own question.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:52 am | Report abuse |
    • thereisnogod

      i dont have relationships with imaginary creations

      September 14, 2011 at 12:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Observer


      So you couldn't answer any of the questions.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      There was evil in biblical times. In his time he will stop all evil like he has done before. I could give multiple answers to each question but you and the rest of the non believers are going to shun it off and continue with your anti God rants.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Hugo

      Those questions could be better. Is God willing to prevent evil? Depends on when you mean? You didn't say. Why didn't you say? Why are you asking incomplete questions and then assuming you know the answer?

      September 14, 2011 at 12:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Hugo

      Cripes observer, do you consider someone who embraces math and science? If so, a few minutes ago would be a good place to start. If you don't get it, I suggest a college course in discrete mathematics.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:01 am | Report abuse |
  5. tommyrock

    Well dredging up the cold corpse of Jesse Helms, AKA Pig Valve, brings back some unpleasant memories for some North Carolinians. But that was long ago. Things have changed in the Old North State since Pig Valve was around. LOTS AND LOTS of Blue State Yankees have moved in... and They probably don't understand this religious based drivel anymore than other Americans with common sense.

    The wedge is in place to distract. What NC needs is jobs!

    September 14, 2011 at 12:48 am | Report abuse | Reply
  6. boondock saint

    The views of many on here disgust me and quite honestly, you're all biggots. The entire state of NC should be ashamed of themselves for taking a step in the wrong direction. Bev Purdue, you're an awful Governor and the GOP is going nowhere quick when it comes to fair and equal rights for everyone. Shame on the South and shame on the American people for not taking point on the important issues like job creation and unemployment...making our nation great once again.

    September 14, 2011 at 12:49 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • thetruth


      September 14, 2011 at 12:52 am | Report abuse |
  7. thereisnogod

    It seems to me that the idea of a personal God is an anthropological concept which I cannot take seriously. I also cannot imagine some will or goal outside the human sphere. … Science has been charged with undermining morality, but the charge is unjust. A man’s ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.

    September 14, 2011 at 12:49 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Hugo

      I suggest you take an Ethics class or at least read "Ethics for the Information Age" by Michael J Quinn.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Hugo

      Chapter 2

      September 14, 2011 at 12:53 am | Report abuse |
    • thereisnogod

      Maybe Eisenstein should, since that is a quote from him.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:54 am | Report abuse |
    • thereisnogod

      I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours

      September 14, 2011 at 12:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Hugo

      Einstein can't now. However, if he was alive today and I had access to him, I'd have said the same thing except, in his case, I would have purchased the book for him. Einstein's math skills were strong enough that he would have seen the error, once I showed it to him, and corrected it. Einstein was very very smart. But his strength was math and physics. It wasn't ethics. Again, his math background would have let him see the error, once presented to him, and I'm confident he would have corrected the quote.

      I'm not telling you the error. I want you to find it yourself so that you'll believe it's an error. The book is not some crack-pot book. It is a mainstream college text on ethics.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:06 am | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      Although a genuis, Einstein was a gay cocain addict.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:23 am | Report abuse |
  8. thereisnogod

    The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike.

    September 14, 2011 at 12:50 am | Report abuse | Reply
  9. thereisnogod

    The foolish reject what they see and not what they think; the wise reject what they think and not what they see.

    September 14, 2011 at 12:51 am | Report abuse | Reply
  10. hueygunner

    Will God have to release AIDS 2.0?

    September 14, 2011 at 12:53 am | Report abuse | Reply
  11. JimBucknell

    Why do gay priests keep messing with children. Gayness a mental illness and it cant be treated

    September 14, 2011 at 12:53 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Observer

      Being gay is not a mental illness. Ignorance, however, can be cured with education.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:56 am | Report abuse |
  12. CSM

    If this passes, it will be another state added to my DO NOT TRAVEL TO list!

    September 14, 2011 at 12:55 am | Report abuse | Reply
  13. JimBucknell

    There are athiests that thinking throwing your leg over another man is a mental illness. I do not have to believe in a tooth fairy granting wishes and handing out passes to disney land in the sky or tickets to hell to know that throwing it another man is a sign of mental illness

    September 14, 2011 at 12:55 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Observer

      Obviously, you've done no research. If you had, you'd know that the APA, composed of professionals, says you don't know what you are talking about.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:58 am | Report abuse |
    • thereisnogod

      You don't believe in the tooth fairy but do believe in a equally non existent being.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:59 am | Report abuse |
  14. WOT

    To all: knowledge is not wisdom : Most of you know very little about the word of GOD! Dust off you BIBlE and OBEY what it says to your heart! OH, remarried are big a mist, who are trying to fool GOD!

    September 14, 2011 at 12:56 am | Report abuse | Reply
  15. JimBucknell

    There are some things that should just be kept in the closet. I do not want some stranger telling me about their imaginary friend and I do not want my kids seeing to dudes re-enacting broke back mountain at Carowinds. Bedlams are the place for the colon conquistadors

    September 14, 2011 at 12:58 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Observer

      So keep your kids out of the bedrooms of gays and just let them go into the bedrooms of heteros.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      the gay community is not content with keeping their lifestyle in the bedroom, they want to come out and force everyone to accept it.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Godlovesme


      We are not forcing ANYONE to accept it. We just want to be treated like HUMAN BEINGS.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      You all are being treated like human beings. We are all protected by the same laws, if someone kills you or me they will be charged with murder. If you and your lover want to have a civil union be my guest, but marriage is and will always be between a man and a woman. Why is that so difficult for people to handle.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:13 am | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      Great point Tim

      September 14, 2011 at 1:26 am | Report abuse |
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