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

    @ clearmind...my bad, I did not realize your argument on gay marriage mutated into the travisties against Native Americans. Agreed. Apples and Oranges. Who said gays are more discriminated against than Native Americans? I don't believe we could find a people in the US that has been treated more disgustingly than them. Yes, I have been on a reservation. I do have Native American blood in my veins. But comparing the injustices of one people with another is not productive. Any injustice in a society directly or indirectly has a negative impact on society as a whole. Period.

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

    Gay Teenager: God, you made me gay. I can no longer deny the urges I am having. Why, oh Lord? I have been a good person all my life. My family and I have kept your commandments and attended church every Sunday.

    God: It’s all part of my “grand plan” for you. Your small mind cannot comprehend such matters.

    Gay Teen: But God, the Christians are telling me I am a sinner and will burn in hell, but you made me this way. I cannot help it. I think you owe me an explanation. I am truly frightened!

    God: I was moving in mysterious ways.

    Gay Teen: What the hell does that mean?

    God: Well, I make thousands gays every day, just so I can wait until they get to puberty and crush their hopes for a normal life. My Christian followers on Earth complete the misery by tormenting these poor children. Then, when you die, I can send you to burn forever. Pretty mysterious, hey?

    Gay Teen. I can’t believe what I’m hearing?

    God: Yeah, it’s pretty rare that I speak so frankly. Look, if it makes you feel any better, tell yourself it’s Satan’s work. Satan is trying to tempt you away from me.

    Gay Teen: But you’re god!! You can stop Satan.

    God: Ok, you’ve got me there. Look kid, the truth is, I don’t exist. I never have. Wasn’t it obvious to you that you made me when I seemed to love all the same things you do and hate all the same things you do? Haven’t you noticed that those who disapprove of you say I disapprove of you and that those who support you say I support you? Every culture that has ever existed has had its own gods and they all seem to favor that particular culture, its hopes, dreams and prejudices. What, do you think we all exist? If not, why only yours?

    Gay Teen: That’s a shame, because I intended to give you a free pass. To still believe in you despite hating myself. I have been taught to believe in you and never to question it, and I accepted what they said when they told me it was wrong to doubt.

    God: Well, look at it from my perspective. How long would I last if I positively promoted healthy skepticism, independent thought and rational investigation? You people would see right through me in a minute.

    Gay Teen: Ok. I have to go now. My parents, Christian friends and teachers have all disowned me. I need to work out what to do.

    God: Good luck. I’ll say a prayer for you. Hey – even I need a god sometimes

    September 13, 2011 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • jazzitup

      Thank you. And I'm not gay, but all my best friends are and I LOVE them!

      September 13, 2011 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
  3. adffads

    Next amendment should be to ban redheads from marrying....let the people decide. Surely the red heads are such a small minority that they won't be able to fight back. Redheads should not have the right to marry because majority of people don't like them. Lets not give people equal rights simply because we don't like them!

    September 13, 2011 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
  4. J

    I am so sick of seeing "GAY LIFESTYLE" making it sound like we make a choice in living in a certain "STYLE" What in the world makes you STR8ies think that when your a kid and you have a crush on someone that it was any different for us. When we had our first crush as a child none of us including YOU stop and think "should it be a boy or a girl" YOU SIMPLY HAVE A CRUSH. HELLO! it works the same for you and US. Why in 2011 is that so hard to understand. IT is PROVEN that it is NOT a choice. You simply choose when to deal with it. Now it is dealt with much younger. So many of you STRA8ies have gay folks in your families and you should be ashamed at thinking that they choose this. I am proud of me and my GAY family. I am even more proud that my friends and family NEVER treated me any different. If you just sit back SHUT UP and use your BRAIN and think about it you just may realize that even YOURSELF did NOT choose when you had a crush as a kid. YOU LIKE US JUST HAD A FRICKEN CRUSH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GET IT

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

      WELL IF YOU FEEL YOU WERE BORN THAT WAY THEN...BE BORN AGAIN..SIMPLE...THIS FLESHY BODY WANTS TO DO A WHOLE LOT OF THNGS THAT WE KNOW ISN'T RIGHT...BUT WE TRY TO BE THE BEST IN GODS EYES..

      September 13, 2011 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lenny

      ALL CAPS MAKES ME RIGHT!!!

      September 13, 2011 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ctlfreak

      @thetruth. keep your craziness to yourself and stop telling people to bath in the name of your imaginary friend.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • jazzitup

      @ thetruth You are an i-d-i-o-t. Weak of mind like most who fall to religion to answer things your stupid mind cannot comprehend.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • jazzitup

      Sorry, I misunderstood your reply; thought it was against natural choice. YAY for GAY!!! I'm not even gay, but my best friends are 🙂

      September 13, 2011 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Observer

      thetruth,

      There are FAR FAR MORE Christians who commit the TEN COMMANDMENT sin of adultery by remarrying than there are people who commit the "abomination" (like using incense, eating shellfish, etc.) of being gay.

      If Christians really cared about the MUCH BIGGER number of sinners, they'd pick on remarried Christians.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
    • J

      Christians crack me up. Everyone else is wrong if they aren't afraid to say "WHAT GOD?" Wake up! If you spend your whole life preaching a story and not living your OWN life then your missing the point. How is the world looking right now to you christians anyway? Not to good. Maybe if religion was let go and we all learned to treat each other with respect the world would be BETTER! THey just found 16 more EARTH LIKE planets some that may be able to sustain life and you think we are it? No god no way. EVOLUTION. Not a happy couple and talking snake........ Get over it. We should know better. Religion is the root of MOST evil in this world. It is killing you and you are preaching for us to listen. Why don't you teach your kids for yourself and not expect a playstation, bible or teachers to do it for you. Your kids that us GAYS pay taxes for yet we cannot have marriage. IF Marriage is so sacred BAN DIVORCE!

      September 14, 2011 at 12:31 am | Report abuse |
  5. Kookmyer

    Ha! What a bunch s*&%. I love how the pea party republicans tout, "less Government intrusion in our lives"! – ummm...except when it's something we don't like.

    September 13, 2011 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
  6. thetruth

    COLINS NOT SAYING HES PERFECT...WE ALL HAVE FAULTS BUT PEOPLE GET SO UPTIGHT WHEN YOU SPEAK THE TRUTH ABOUT BEING GAY...WHATS THE BIG DEAL? IF SOMEONE IS AGAINST IT THEN WHY DOES IT BOTHER PEOPLE SO MUCH....

    September 13, 2011 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Par For The South

    The barns will be shaking with more fear soon.

    Them thar gays be unda keentrol buttin who be a caring bout ya`alls edeecashun? Leastins ya`all got ya`alls sheeps n pigs n dogs ta humps whiles them thar gays be kuntrolled.

    Add a synonym to the list for stupid: Southern.

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

      YEP AND SO WILL GAYS BUST HELL WIDE OPEN IF THEY DONT REPENT....DONT GET SO UPTIGHT WHEN PEOPLE SPEAK AGAINST GAYS...

      September 13, 2011 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • thetruth

      DOES ANYONE KNOW HOW TO TURN THE CAPS OFF?

      September 13, 2011 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Charles

    When a gay man can birth a child anally...only then will I support that agenda. The fact that gays spend all of their time validating their perversion speaks for itself. After all...a light bulb doesn't need to say 'im a light bulb.'....it just produces light..gays produce confused adopted children and anal based diseases.

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

      @CHARLES...YOU ARE TELLING THE TRUTH AND PEOPLE CANT HANDLE IT

      September 13, 2011 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • LivingInNC

      They also end up adoption all those unwanted babies that the straight people throw away like garbage.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Observer

      Heteros produce gays.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:08 am | Report abuse |
  9. Collin

    Count me as one North Carolinian who will vote against this amendment in May. It is completely unnecessary and will do absolutely nothing to help anyone in this state in a time when most of us could use all the help we can get.

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

    @Tania I am not against gay marriage or for it. I truly dont have an opinion. but in 2011 it is hard for me to take that gays are SO oppressed. Sorry. Before my wife was murdered in July we were in Africa those people are oppressed. Darfur that is bad.

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

    I noticed there was no mention of the Democrats who voted to support this.

    September 13, 2011 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • thetruth

      WHO CARES IF YOUR'RE A DEMOCRAT REPUBLICAN,,,,BLACK WHITE....WHO CARES..GOD HAS THE LAST SAY..JUST WAIT..U WILL SEE

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

      SERIOUSLY, I DON'T KNOW HOW TO TYPE IN REGULAR TYPEFACE!

      September 13, 2011 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Darwin

    The God I believe in says judging others is also a sin. Let them be gay, it's not hurting you. If it's a sin then they'll be punished, the same as those who judge others will be punished. It's very simple really. You live your life the best you can and you let them live theirs.

    September 13, 2011 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • thetruth

      BUT HOW CAN I SLEEP AT NIGHT KNOWING MY CRAZINESS IS BEING FORCED ON OTHERS

      September 13, 2011 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      The God I know says being gay is a sin, so how am I judging anyone if I say being gay is a sin?????

      September 14, 2011 at 12:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Darwin

      It becomes judgmental when you state the same thing 100 times in one thread. You've made your position VERY clear, we get it, please stop now.

      September 14, 2011 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
  13. thetruth

    I AM A SMUG BIGOTED IDIOT THAT CANNOT WRITE WITHOUT SCREAMING MY OPINIONS ABOUT MY IMAGINARY FRIEND BEING BETTER THAN YOUR IMAGINARY FRIEND

    September 13, 2011 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
  14. thetruth

    TIMES HAVE CHANGED BUT JESUS CHRIST HASNT CHANGED OR COMPROMISED WITH SIN....NOT THAT I KNOW OF...

    September 13, 2011 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • thetruth

      I AM NOT KIDDING SOMEONE PLEAS TELL ME HOW TO TURN THE CAPS OFF. IS IT NEAR THE CUP HOLDER?

      September 13, 2011 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
  15. thetruth

    LMBO!!!!! SORRY ITS STILL THE TRUTH...THAT WAS GOOD THOU

    September 13, 2011 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
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