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. Busted

    So let me get this state, North Carolina is one of the largest recipients of federal aid in the US which is total socialist welfare but the hicks from NC believe they support capitalism, now the people of this hick state who claim to be "christian" are throwing stones at others, which their prophet made absolutely clear not to do. I mean honestly, is there any state w/a larger population of straight up complete morons?

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


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

      Yeah. We're talking serious Bible belt here, aren't we? I have one simple question. What are they afraid of? Bunch of pseudo Christian, "hate thy neighbor" folks down there. We're talking basically Protestants, aren't we?

      September 13, 2011 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Armando

      Perfect example of why our country is in such disarray. Standing up for what you believe in whether christian or not is how our country was formed. Just because you dont believe in gay marriage doesnt mean your judging anyone. It means you disagree. Your quick to point the finger at those who are against it...and why? Because we dont agree with gay marriage. Now your forcing your opinion on us, which is what your complaining about.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Observer

      The issue is EQUAL RIGHTS. Sorry that people are trying to force you to accept EQUAL RIGHTS. You might try to decide if that's what makes America great.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jazzzzzzzz

    correction Jehovah Is Hebrew for the God of Israel

    September 13, 2011 at 11:10 pm | Report abuse |
  3. banasy©


    I don't know why I even waste my breath, but hypocrisy just bugs the hell out of me...

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

      It's unreal

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


      September 13, 2011 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
  4. thetruth


    September 13, 2011 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
  5. BE

    I am glad that they did not put desegregation and the right for women to vote on the ballot for the populace of a state to decide. North Carolina would still have to build double the numbers of bathrooms and have half of the number of voters.

    September 13, 2011 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Colin

    Christianity is the belief that an infinitely old, all-knowing being, powerful enough to crate the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies, has a personal interest in your $ex life.

    Atheism is the belief that the above belief is ridiculous.

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

      May God bless you Colin. And take away the pain from whoever hurt you. You should really pick-up a bible and give it a try. Your tunnel vision could be opened.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
  7. pastmorm

    Who knew NC was just another redneck, backwoods State? Well good luck with that.

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

      Not all of NC. This is what happens when a historically Dem state listens to idiots shouting, "jobs, jobs, jobs!" and they are unemployed and desperate. Those lawmakers forget that they will be called to task for the bait and switch they've pulled since they've been in office.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Tania

    NC is a right to work state. A gay can lose there job for being gay. No big deal, right? Just my livelihood. Beyond that, not having the right to marry is a huge thing in a relationship between two committed people. For example: I have USAA insurance which is only offered to military and immediate family memebers. Because I live in a state that does not even acknowlege domestic partnership, I have seperate, more expensive policies. This "military" insurance would cover one police in a state that acknowlegdes minimally domestic partnership. So, she cannot make any decision or change to our homeowner's insurance on the house that has both of our names on it. Without a well written Will and Last Testament, my family can easily take my house from my partner upon my death as well as her family could from me. The home that we have worked on together for 12 years! My mother could let me live as a vegetable and not pull the plug (as her Catholic faith would teach her) and my monogomous partner of 12 years would have no say in my fate. I can't be covered by my partner's employer's health insurance as she cannot be covered by mine. These are huge issues. Take these RIGHTS out of your relationship and I bet you would "whine" too.

    September 13, 2011 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pointe

      You couldn't be more wrong. Go pick up a book. Any book. Please.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Observer


      Miserable response. List specific things Tania is wrong about if you have any.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:37 pm | Report abuse |
  9. SteveCHNC

    Those morons voted for Obama in 2008 and also have a Democrat as Governor.

    September 13, 2011 at 11:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • SteveCHNC

      This was supposed to be in response to the first post on here.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • thetruth


      September 13, 2011 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
  10. lola

    What a hateful amendment, basically the majority can bully the minority.

    September 13, 2011 at 11:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • eldono

      Tyranny of the majority, my friend.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Armando

      Democracy, is representatives rule, who are elected by majority vote. IF you dont like it vote and change your rep. IF that doesnt work...move to france.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • lola

      If our country was run by mob rule then CA would be calling all the shots. People who think we should be governed by beliefs should consider moving to the ME.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Tania

    Previous post was at you, clearmind.

    September 13, 2011 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Kevin

    This is getting very old. There is SUPPOSED to be a separation between church and state in this country. So any bible argument is absolutely ludicrous.

    September 13, 2011 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Armando

      Interesting point but what are all of the inscriptions in the capitol. "One nation under god" sound familiar, hard to believe its suppose to be separate but everywhere you look bible references are on money and in our courts. I bet you support muslims who do not separate church and state. Hypocrite.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
  13. MisterK

    The definition of "marriage" should not be left up to churches or governments to decide. As an invention it should be in the public domain. No one who had anything to do with its creation is still around. Marriage is much older than Christianity and all the other religions that are still around. Hinduism had marriage before the time of Jesus, so is a marriage only accepted if you walk around a fire pit a few times? The ancient Egyptians had marriage and they married their mothers and sisters. Should they get to define marriage? They did come up with it before Christians.

    The problem is that there are tax benefits to getting married. Take those away. Government should be totally removed from incentivizing marriage. Our gay brothers and sisters will get married. It's just a matter of time until the bigots die. Fewer and fewer people will have these hateful views and more people will realize that a contract that two other people have with one another doesn't concern anyone else but them.

    September 13, 2011 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • thetruth


      September 13, 2011 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jeff H

    Mark u say Whats God got to do with, if more people would put God first and His law instead of civil law then this country would be a better place. We should enforce His law more instead of our own petty laws.

    September 13, 2011 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ozymandias71

      Nothing terrifies me more than people actually WANTING a Christofascist government.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • eldono

      What do you mean "His" law? I didn't know God had gender. Or is this just another testosterone, male driven, attempt to control and dominate kind of thing? Check it out. God gave "birth" to everything, right? Doesn't that make God female?

      September 13, 2011 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      @jeff h: Looking at places that do that, like iran.. I must beg to differ..

      September 13, 2011 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Observer

      "We should enforce His law more instead of our own petty laws"

      When God set up the laws the way he wanted, he told us to kill unruly kids,adulterers, blasphemers, fortune tellers, and anyone working on the Sabbath. Are you hoping to start killing people?

      September 13, 2011 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • thetruth

      THATS RIGHT!!!

      September 13, 2011 at 11:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      Observer I am really curious where that scripture is.. all i remember about killing is thou shalt not.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:01 am | Report abuse |
  15. Guy

    Every time someone is always trying to take away rights of American citizens.

    September 13, 2011 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
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