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. Tania

    Jeff, I think Osama said the same thing to Middle Easterners...just used the name Allah.

    September 13, 2011 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • you really should Google "ROCKBAND RockRecord"

      you really should Google "ROCKBAND RockRecord"

      September 13, 2011 at 11:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • thetruth


      September 13, 2011 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Colin

    To any gay teen out there who happens to be reading this. Please do not let the Christians get to you. There is nothing wrong with you. One day, after you graduate and move on in life, the Christians who tormented you will be as irrelevant to your lives as the kids who called you "fat, fat the water rat" at kindergarten.

    You have to understand, Christians get intimidated and frightened by anything different, such as evolution, modern contraception or stem cell research. Just try to find it in your hearts to understand and forgive the simpletons. They are not bad people, they are just not very worldly or smart.

    September 13, 2011 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rev-Henry Bates

      Thank you for the words of reason. In my opinion, NC is legislating religion. Would they put interracial marriage on the ballot too? There is no god that denies Love to anyone and the radical Jesus stated a spiritual principle when he said, "love one another." This wasn't a suggestion and Christians need to really think about this before they vote.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Armando

      REV- obvisiouly your not a reverned. IF you were you would know your bible AND you would distinguish between love one another and honoring yourself and god. Be fruitful and multiply is imossible when you are gay couple. Its not opinion its a biological fact.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Observer

      "Be fruitful and multiply is imossible" (sic)

      So the Bible says that infertile couples and elderly women cannot get married?
      Get serious.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:01 am | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      AMEN Armondo! Observer, when have you seen a woman over 45 getting married for the first time? even then God can make her bare a child the same as an infertile couple.. Thats the whole thing about having faith in God.. with him all things are possible...

      September 14, 2011 at 12:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Ozymandias71

      Armando, are you for real? Making 'be fruitful and multiply' a REQUIREMENT for marriage is the type of thing you read about in fascist dictatorships!

      September 14, 2011 at 8:36 am | Report abuse |
  3. Charles

    Good for NC to fight against the gay agenda...funny how gays always want to bring God into their perverted order to have credibilty in that regard you have to actually live a biblical lifestyle.....a gay person referencing biblical prophets only condemns himself.

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

      Have you cut your hair ever? Wearing cloth of two fabrics? Eat shellfish?

      If you answered yes yo any of these you lose your righteous superiority.

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

      Actually, the fact that Christians have to rely on the supposed wishes of their Bronze Age sky-fairy undermines their credibility. Gays argue from the point of view of 21st Century equal rights. Christians argue from the point of view of 2,000 year-old Middle Eastern mythology.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ozymandias71

      Yet another ridiculous post. We Gays and Lesbians are NOT 'bringing God' into this discussion – fundies keep 'bringing God' into this matter of CIVIL law.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jehovah

      Why are you trying to push your beliefs on others? Thankfully your church can choose to not conduct a religious ceremony between two gay people. But the 14th amendment protects gays from the state making any such law. Really you are just wasting taxpayer money and time with this bigoted, senseless BS.

      By the way the first section of the 14th amendment reads as follows (key words: EQUAL PROTECTION): No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
  4. clearmind

    @Tania but YOU can get married in others states go there get married. and as far as getting fired for being gay NO company is going to do that the ACLU would be all over that. that company would close its doors. have you ever been to a reservation? have you even looked it up? talked to a Native American? go there then talk to me. you can write up a will or go to another state you have alternatives.

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

      Being gay isn't a protected class. Therefore, you can be fired for being gay. They can fire you for wearing a blue shirt on a Friday if they want. OR they can FIRE you for NO reason at all.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:32 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mark

    What'll happen if gay people get married? Glad you asked! As I'm on the Internet and therefore know everything about everything, I can tell you right now that gay marriage will most certainly bring about a dire and terrible fate upon the United States of America, and North Carolina in particular:

    People getting married might ACTUALLY LOVE EACH OTHER. We can't let this happen! Americans must be miserable and unhappy 24/7 unless you're sitting on mountains of cash! Stop gay marriage! Keep the USA wallowing in sadness! It's your civic duty!

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

    Susan Fisher said it best: in the not-too-distant future, the bigotry of the masses will be repudiated, regardless of how this vote turns out. This is America; you can't just vote away minorities and people you don't like. You think people would have learned this kind of thing by now...

    September 13, 2011 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
  7. banasy©

    Let gay people get married.
    Let them also worry about their own spiritual health...although I can tell you that my gay friends are more spiritual that 95% of my hetero friends, and have much better and meaningful relationships than them...

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


      September 13, 2011 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • McJesus


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

      Some men, you just can't reach. Colbert's on. Good night, all, even you haters.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. NoFluff

    All of these posts are pathetic – why don't you people read and think a little. If when someone disagrees with your position all you can say is "stupid, redneck, backwards, moron" who looks stupid?

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

      Usually the stupid, redneck, backwards moron...

      September 13, 2011 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
  9. dawod

    Religion talks about everything in life. And marriage is one of them. Its against any religion to marry men to men and women to woman. It should be how God created it. Man and a women.

    September 13, 2011 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      And what happens when someone creates a religion that allows men to marry men and women to women?

      September 13, 2011 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Observer


      Speaking of how God created things, do you kill unruly kids, adulterers, and people working on the Sabbath?

      September 13, 2011 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Tania

    Charles! Your comments only expose your ignorance! Really? I have to go to bed before the dumb and obnoxious write anymore hate, ignorance and twisted scripture.

    September 13, 2011 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
  11. William

    this is NOrth Carolina therefore not to be considered in the bigger picture. This is Tea Party, right wing, racist to the core population.

    September 13, 2011 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
  12. McJesus

    A lot of priests are gay, and they are married to god (the church), so they should be banned too.

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


      September 13, 2011 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Carl

    I don't understand. I thought everyone got the same rights in the United States. Especially hard-working, tax-paying Americans. Why would you not allow some people to marry?

    September 13, 2011 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
  14. WhyDoPeopleHate?

    It's unthinkable to me, in this day and age, that anyone reasonably has the time or energy to proactively go out of their way to specifically and categorically deny rights and liberties of others.. What's more, I still fail to understand why anyone cares about gay people getting married (except, I suppose, the gay people themselves). Don't want gay marriage? Don't have one! .. it's that simple, people. MOVE ON WITH YOUR LIVES. What's even more lame is to blame such simple, pure hate on the bible or some other fiction. But, the ultimate injustic is that while gay people have their rights denied, they're still expected to pay their taxes and just shut the #@$#@ up.. like somehow that's fair. If there is a hell, the lowest rungs of it are specifically reserved for anti-gay-marriage proponents, along with the Bin Landens and Hitlers. You're either "in" or "out" of the hate club people, it's that simple. While you can put your own Fox "spin" on things to pretend it's not hate, it's thinly veiled at best.. and it only makes you look more stupid than you actually are.

    September 13, 2011 at 11:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Henry

      It distracts them from the small size of their johnson to repress the rights of others. Some people have a really small johnson.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
  15. banasy©

    That was wonderful.
    Thank you for taking the time to post.
    Another thing to tell these kids is that they're wonderful, and never, ever let people tell them different.
    Hold your head up high, people, for you are magnificent just the way you are.

    September 13, 2011 at 11:34 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