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. David

    North Carolina... except for Charlotte, Raleigh-Duram, Asheville and Wilmington, nothing but a backwards hillbilly state.

    September 13, 2011 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • thetruth


      September 13, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • lola

      It sure is.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. banasy©

    @Jeff Frank:
    Now, you made me laugh out loud with that comment.

    September 13, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
  3. banasy©

    You forgot NASCAR.

    September 13, 2011 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Colin

    Hey, I've got a great idea. Let's not base 21st Century North Carolina legislative policy on the supposed wishes of some non-existent Iron Age sky god, dreamed up in a Palestinean slum.

    September 13, 2011 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ctlfreak

      well put

      September 13, 2011 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Pimpson

    I'd really like to see an amendment passed that just bans gays from all public places. That would America a great place again.

    September 13, 2011 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ozymandias71

      Y0URBALLS, I see you're haunting a Gay-related story once again. The Closet get too lonely for you?

      September 13, 2011 at 11:26 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jeff H

    No state should allow gay marriage at all, it is and allways be wrong in the sight of God.

    September 13, 2011 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ctlfreak

      everything is wrong in the eyes of your ridiculously hard to please invisible best friend.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      @jeff h: what's that gotta do with state laws? Sounds kinda sharia to me..

      September 13, 2011 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Inglourious

      God also says it's wrong to eat pork and shellfish, and for men to cut the hair around their temples. Will these be enacted into law also?

      September 13, 2011 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      What's God gotta due with it? This is civil law.. we don't enforce sharia law or Christian law here. Or should we?

      September 13, 2011 at 11:10 pm | Report abuse |
  7. leeintulsa

    Man, this thread is moving faster than when i left..

    Still manning the wall, i see, banasy 😉

    September 13, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Tania

    @Clearmind: Are you serious? You don't know? You've never thought that out? Never looked anything up? Never asked someone who is gay?

    September 13, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jazzzzzzzz

    @ el et , darn I forget how that goes, anyhow
    I'm hitting the sheets
    Gays and God are always going to be a HOT button issue!
    God is very much alive and well and has been "I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born, I am."
    Remember that kitties
    Before *YOU* were, (Jesus' Johova) " I AM" please have some respect

    September 13, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ctlfreak

      I guess your not christian, its Yahweh get it right. or not hes not real anyway so call him whatever you want.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
  10. clearmind

    @Tania yup I am serious

    September 13, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
  11. banasy©

    ....And people like you will be one big cause of that doom, ashley...

    ***Standing Ovation***

    September 13, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      Because I don't care what others say about me, judge me, criticize me for my beliefs.. I focus on serving my God and protecting my family therefor I feel I will be ready for judgement day 🙂

      September 13, 2011 at 11:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mrs. B

      And yet you judge and critisize others.....yep.......hypocrite.
      I'm ready for judgement day, too. My God is the only one qualified... thank Him you"re not.....

      September 14, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  12. thetruth


    September 13, 2011 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Gavin Ford

    I think they should have a vote where all gay people get to vote on the marriages of people who voted against theirs and see what that outcome is.

    September 13, 2011 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      It wouldn't matter to take away the papers, because the vow before God will stand till the day we die.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
  14. TSG

    If anything like what is happening here in Minnesota and what happened in California happens there it will be anything but 'a healthy debate'. It will be vicious, dirty and vile with name calling from both sides. When it's done friends, neighbors and family members will no longer be on speaking terms no matter how it turns out.

    September 13, 2011 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      @tsg: no doubt. Government should stay out of private lives.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Colin

    10 Reasons Why Gay Marriage is Wrong

    01) Gay marriage will encourage straight people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make short people tall.

    02) Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets, because gays marrying will alter the fundamental $ex drive of others.

    03) Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn't changed at all; women are still property, blacks still can't marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.

    04) Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed. My parents in Texas ran screaming to the court to get a divorce, the minute they heard that a gay couple married in Vermont.

    05) Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn't be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren't full yet, and the world needs more children.

    06) Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.

    07) Gay marriage is not supported by religion. We really want people who, in the 21st Century, still believe in sky-gods and evil ground-devils, based on 2,000 year old Palestinian mythology, setting social policy.

    08) Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That's why we as a society expressly forbid single parents to raise children.

    09) Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven't adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans.

    10) It will lead to social disorder. I constantly hear of large groups of gays protesting against the rights of Christians to marry and committing acts of violence against Christians.

    September 13, 2011 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • LivingInNC

      You win for awesome post. 🙂

      September 13, 2011 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Observer

      Excellent piece.

      Sadly, the h0mophobic population won't understand it.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |
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