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. lizzy10

    I will never understand people who seek to deny rights to others especially people who blather on about the government being too intrusive into our lives. Focus on the fact that we are now experiencing the highest poverty level in years, that people cannot afford their homes anymore, that kids graduating from college can't get a job to pay back their loans or any one of the more important things that our country is facing right now. Stop trying to regulate something you cannot control, who a person loves and spends their life with.

    September 13, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Will

      iI completely agree, lizzy! there are so many larger problems that need solutions to alleviate the pain our countrymen are feeling right now; instead my state legislators are actively causing their neighbors and coworkers pain by pursuing this.

      September 13, 2011 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • whodacares

      Sing on it sister.

      September 13, 2011 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. banasy©

    Ashley, I have more family values than 99% of the people who quote the Bible incessantly, all the while hiding behind it to mask their bigotry.
    My sister is now divorced.
    I am not.
    And when the judge pronounced us man and wife, what do you think she said?
    "What God has joined today, let no man put asunder."
    So, I guess that God doesn't mind me be married in a civil ceremony.
    I would venture a guess that a loving God wouldn't mind two loving people being married in a civil ceremony, either.
    After all, I doubt people are beating down *your* church door begging to be wed in a hostile environment...

    And let God take care of that pesky little problem when these people die.
    Who is anyone to stand in the way of two people wanting to get married?
    Let God decide if these people are damned or not.....it is not anybody's business!

    September 13, 2011 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Observer

      If you are religious, don't worry at all about it. The Bible says that the only thing you need for eternal life is to believe.

      September 13, 2011 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      Well I can see what values you have but that does not mean they are mine, and mine are defined by God... I pitty your sisters soul, for she has mocked marriage and god. And god doesnt recognize your marriage if you didn't involve religion at your civil ceremony... I don't own a church for people to knock down my doors, and perhaps the church i go to is not as popular as a church that comforts sin and accepts it.

      September 13, 2011 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Patricksday

      Just make sure your own Righteous porch is swept on Judgment Day, how did YOU treat the least of us-thats in the Chapter of Matthew since its been ripped from your Bible.

      September 13, 2011 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      If you were speaking to me Pat... I love everyone, and same as if my child was gay I would still love them, but I do not condone sin.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Emma Peel

      You don't need to worry about her sister's soul, bigot; worry about how you're going to explain your rampant hypocisy to God when you see him face-to-face and he shows you these postings about you confusing hatred with his word........

      September 14, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  3. thetruth

    UHHHHH WHO ARE WE TO TAKE PRAYER OUT OF THE SCHOOLS? BUT AMERICA ALLOWED IT RIGHT?

    September 13, 2011 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ctlfreak

      Shut up like a good women should 1 Corinthians 14:34 1 Timothy 2:11-12

      September 13, 2011 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brett

      Go wash your loincloth.

      September 13, 2011 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Zoe79

      Considering there is a separation of church and state, and many school children come from various faiths (and some come from non-religious families), they shouldn't be forced to say prayers that don't coincide with their own views. If parents want their children to attend religious private schools, they have the option to send them there. In public schools, this option doesn't need to be forced on everyone. Accepting differences is what America is supposedly all about, not forcing conformity or one belief system on all.

      September 13, 2011 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Patricksday

      Wav eapt you have a prayer with your kids before School, and when they get home? Why all the Drama with it having to be in School?

      September 13, 2011 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      There is not a seperation of church and state- let's clear that up.. once again a person took part of a quote, from a letter one of our founding fathers was writing to head of church, that was not the intent... And since it's not big deal to take God out of school, why don't you make that same arguement to the governor in CA that just mandated gays be put in school books.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:27 pm | Report abuse |
  4. MattinTX

    Personally, I wish they would put a proposal on the ballot to ban churches and religion. Nothing more dangerous to society in my opinion. Please Aliens, hurry up and take over our world. We are not intelligent enough to occupy it.

    September 13, 2011 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
  5. banasy©

    And you should not care about any one elses's state of grace but your own, ashley.

    Let gay people marry.
    Let God sort it out.

    September 13, 2011 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
  6. thetruth

    WE DONT HAVE TO ACCEPT GAYS GETTING MARRIED....AMERICA GOES FOR WHATEVER..ANYTHING GOES..WEAK!!!!

    September 13, 2011 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brett

      We don't have to accept Christianity in this country. Think for yourselves and oust the church from our lives!

      September 13, 2011 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ctlfreak

      @the Truth "Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law" (1 Corinthians 14:34).

      "Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence" (1 Timothy 2:11-12). Head your own gods words and stop trying to preach. Or else hes gonna get ya

      September 13, 2011 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      OH no .. no one has to accept christianty, this country was just founded under God... but seriously, you do have to respect religious practice as we do for other religions

      September 13, 2011 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • George

      And we don't have to accept you. You are weak. And your opinon does not matter. You can't tell people what to do anymore than they can tell you what to do, period.

      September 13, 2011 at 10:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • George

      ashley – "OH no .. no one has to accept christianty, this country was just founded under God... but seriously, you do have to respect religious practice as we do for other religions"

      There is not god so this country could not have been founded on it. No, we don't have to respect religious practice at all. I'm not saying make it illegal, I'm just saying we don't have to have respect for it. Not for the tooth fairy either.

      September 13, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Zoe79

      The only thing that's "WEAK" is close-mindedness, it takes a lot less intelligence to have a closed and narrow mind than it does an open and inquisitive one.

      September 13, 2011 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Barfy Spewsalot

      Really? so we should allow YOU to decide what is right or wrong? How about this we strip you Conservatives, Republicans & Tea Baggers of YOUR "special" rights? Yep NO Church is allowed to marry ANYONE. Ban marriage period.

      September 14, 2011 at 3:09 am | Report abuse |
  7. Derweissengel

    You so-called God is a piece of fecal matter.

    September 13, 2011 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Barfy Spewsalot

      Their "God" is Ayn Rand & Ronald Reagan is their Messiah. Neither are related in any way to the biblical God who declares such laws a SIN.

      September 14, 2011 at 3:12 am | Report abuse |
  8. Tania

    MattinTX...Where is the "like" button?!?!

    September 13, 2011 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Derweissengel

    Wait, that can't be right; fecal matter actually exists.

    September 13, 2011 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
  10. thetruth

    GOD DOESNT NEED TO SORT IT OUR....IT HAS ALREADY BEEN SORTED...NO I DONT' CARE WHO SLEEPS WITH WHO BUT TAKING IT TO ANOTHER LEVEL IS A SLAP IN GODS FACE....I RESPECT YOUR OPINION..I DONT WANT LITTLE BOYS THINKING ITS OKAY FOR TWO DUDES TO HOOK UP..ITS NOT!!!

    September 13, 2011 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ctlfreak

      And you shouldnt want him to think its ok for women to be preaching like this. You are sending a bad message.
      "Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law" (1 Corinthians 14:34).

      "Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence" (1 Timothy 2:11-12).

      September 13, 2011 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • whodacares

      I don't want my kids to think that they don't have to know how to spell, use proper punctuation or understand proper grammar, so any suggestions?

      September 13, 2011 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Observer

      .".I DONT WANT LITTLE BOYS THINKING ITS OKAY FOR TWO DUDES TO HOOK UP..ITS NOT!!!"

      Then don't tell them all about it.

      September 13, 2011 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
  11. thetruth

    NO WE DONT HAVE TO ACCEPT CHRISTIANS,WHITES,BLACKS,GAYS,ETC........SOOOO? AMERICA ACCEPTS ANYTHNG AND STAND FOR NOTHING..

    September 13, 2011 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Observer

      Yes. America even accepts ignorant bigots.

      September 13, 2011 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
  12. thetruth

    THIS IS ALL IN LOVE DONT WANT TO UPSET ANYONE.......SMILE..GOD HAS THE LAST SAY

    September 13, 2011 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse |
  13. leeintulsa

    Const it utions are created to control the government, not the people. They are designed to define and protect people's rights, not to curtail or remove them.

    September 13, 2011 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jeff Frank ( R - Ohio ) "What me worry?"

    Just ban marriage all together, and make Judge Lynn Tolers' life a whole lot easier. Then she can be intense with some other sh_t.

    September 13, 2011 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
  15. thetruth

    HELLO CFREAK...IM NOT PREACHIN LMBO...ITS DA TRUTH..AND THA SCRIPTURE ABOUT WOMAN..STUDY AND READ THE ENTIRE PASSAGE...ITS NOT TALKING ABOUT WOMAN NOT BEING ABLE TO BE PREACHERS ETC. IN THE CHURCH...READ IT AND STUDY IT ONE MORE TIME...

    September 13, 2011 at 10:42 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29