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. jake

    I don't know if anyone has read a poem containing the repeating sentiment "but I was not one of them, so I did not speak up" or something of that nature.this poem discusses how people don't speak up when others are discriminated against, and then when they themselves are discriminated against, there is no one to stand up for them It is an extremely slippery slope when the majority is allowed to vote away the civil rights of minorities. Next it could be blacks, hispanics, catholics or jews whose rights are taken away by a majority. It sickens me to see a country as advanced and seemingly as accepting as America be so biased against gays. If the majority voted on civil liberties of individual groups, blacks wouldn't be allowed to marry whites, women would be property in marriages and have no rights, catholics would be considered lesser than a Protestant majority. This is not the country that America is, and thankfully the majority of people who have commented on this agree with me.

    September 13, 2011 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fisher

      Very well said! Thank you for speaking up!

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

      I agree. Republicans say they don't want the government interfering in their lives, and yet they consistently try to interfere with the lives of others.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:01 am | Report abuse |
  2. DJ Mcfly

    WOW......No LEGAL Butt Hole Surfing In N.C.

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

      NOT UNLESS YOUR CATHOLIC

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

      HEY YOUR GOD CAN BE WHATEVER YOU WANT HIM TO BE.....

      September 13, 2011 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
  3. thetruth

    OH BY THE WAY IVE BEEN IN THE GAY LIFE FOR A LONG TIME...SOOOOO DOES MY OPINION MATTER NOW? LMBO...BEEN IN THE GAY LIFE AND IVE SEEN AND HEARD IT ALL...YES IM AGAINST GAY MARRIAGE...I WANT PEOPLE TO ACCEPT ME..THEY DON'T HAVE TO ACCEPT MY GAY LIFE...PERIOD

    September 13, 2011 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Tania

    I don't contend that I am oppressed. I just want to make sure I have the best for my loved one. As an American citizen, I don't understand why that is so wrong. I do pray. I work. I pay taxes. I wept for my American brothers and sisters on the anniversary of 9/11. I buy milk. I watch TV. I love my parents and siblings. I love my dogs. I was honored by the State of North Carolina last year for my contributions to helping people with disabilities. My relationship with my better half will not have any impact on my neighbor's marriage. So why, in a free country where Church and State are clearly suppose to be seperate, are we making such a fuss? My relationship will not destroy the fabric of this great nation. Equality seems like its not such a big deal until you don't have it. Should I apologize for that, folks? Really? Where did the humanity go?

    September 13, 2011 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • bitnar

      You're not alone. I'm on your side.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
    • downinfront

      One of the best posts I've ever read on this topic. Thank you.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:04 am | Report abuse |
    • tdvsmfl

      Like

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

      Tania,

      You can see you have a lot of supporters here. It's obvious to everyone that the ignorance of bigotry is in a losing battle with education and it won't be too long before such hatred fades away like bigotry against blacks and women has greatly diminished.

      Your comments are far more logical and intelligent than the h0mophobes opposing you.

      Good luck.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:15 am | Report abuse |
  5. thetruth

    GODS A B!TCH AND IM HER PIMP

    September 13, 2011 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Kamikaze

    Some things people shouldn't be able to vote on. It's like putting an amendment on the ballot dropping the age of consent to 10.

    September 13, 2011 at 11:55 pm | Report abuse |
  7. banasy©

    These same points were used throughout the last 100 years to deny women the right to vote, to try to deny civil rights to blacks, and to deny marriages based on race.
    It was absurd then, and it is now.
    I have seen nowhere where gays were trying to get God's laws changed, only the civil ones.
    If people are so sure of their place on the Heaven express, why should they deny people the right to marry?
    Procreation isn't the only reason people marry.
    The first and foremost reason is LOVE.
    Nobody has the right to deny them that, not any church, nor any government.
    People are turning away from organized religion in droves, because of the restrictions religion puts on what should be simple human decency, tolerance, and acceptance.
    My God is a loving God, who invites all people to share his love.
    I'll pass on the intolerant, bigoted God, thanks.

    September 13, 2011 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • thetruth

      THATS NOT MY GOD, MINE IS ONE TOUGH TALKING CRAP KICKING BAD MOTHER FU HEY IM JUST TALKING ABOUT MY GOD AND HOW MUCH BETTER HE IS EVEN THO I NEVER SEE HIM AND HE HAS BAD SCIENCE AND STUPID IDEAS BUT HES WAY BETTER THAN THOSE MUSLIMS GODS. I WAS JUST TOLD THATS THE SAME ONE, CANT BE! MINE IS BETTER

      September 13, 2011 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • thetruth

      GOD IS LOVE AND HE LOVES US ALL..ITS THE SIN HE HATES NOT US...

      September 14, 2011 at 12:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Observer

      LOL,

      It's not the SIN that God supposedly sends to hell.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:16 am | Report abuse |
  8. thetruth

    I LOVE MY IMAGINARY FRIEND MORE THAN YOU DO

    September 13, 2011 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • thetruth

      LMAO.....DONT BE MAD...

      September 14, 2011 at 12:10 am | Report abuse |
  9. QUIT YER.....

    For such a small group of gnats for lack of a better word I'm sick of hearing or seeing gays everywhere. Turn on the TV they are everywhere go to a movie there they are.

    Like sucks butterball, ship the gays to Iraq they will accept you there.

    September 13, 2011 at 11:57 pm | Report abuse |
  10. downinfront

    You couldn't pay me to set foot in NC after this.

    September 13, 2011 at 11:57 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Tania

    @ clearmind...my heart goes out to your re: the horrible lose of your wife. I can't begin to imagine you pain.

    September 13, 2011 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Rocky Mtn Gal

    Just ask yourself one question– if YOUR child (teenager, adult, whatever) came to you tomorrow and said "Mom/Dad, I am gay".... how would you react? Would you still love them once they came out?

    September 13, 2011 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • thetruth

      NO ILL KILL HIM OR HER LIKE MY HERO TRACY MORGAN AND MY BEST IMAGINARY FRIEND GOD TOLD ME TO DO

      HE SHOULD BE STONED TO DEATH LIKE MY CRAZY MAKE BELIEVE RELIGION TELLS ME TO

      September 14, 2011 at 12:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Asafad

      Uh, yeah? Why wouldn't I?

      September 14, 2011 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Rocky Mtn Gal

      Asafad– my point exactly. That is still your child– the same one you loved before they came out. If anything, you should love them MORE after they came out, because they are going to need all the love & support they can get in order to deal with all the hateful bigots in this world.

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

      Of course I would love my child.. the same as I love my neighbors and even you, but what I wont do is condone sin.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:32 am | Report abuse |
  13. TX

    Look ... the only "agenda" is this – :LEAVE US THE HELL ALONE. Stop trying to legislate away from us the same rights you enjoy. We don't care about your rights – why are you concerned about limiting our rights? What are you so scared of?

    September 14, 2011 at 12:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Skeeter

      They're afraid that your gay might rub off on them and then they'd have to start dressing better.

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

    @ROckyMNTGAL...the likelihood that one of these children would commit suicide is far greater than the likelihood that they would disclose to a parent that was SOOO opinionated about this. So sad.

    September 14, 2011 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Rocky Mtn Gal

      Tania, it is sad. A friend of my daughter's in high school came out & told her & me he was gay probably 6 months before he finally worked up the courage to tell his own mother. Even then he was afraid to tell his father. That took another 6 months. How incredibly sad that a person has to be afraid like that.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:10 am | Report abuse |
  15. clearmind

    @Tania I do not believe you should have to explain your relationship to anyone. and sorry didnt mean to go all over the place with explainations. My wife is gone but we protected each other and our relationship from outsiders. I am black she was white. believe it or not we used to get remarked at alot (behind our backs of course) you do whatever you need to do to protect your relationship from outsiders. like I posted earlier when a pastor said I was evil because of my marrige. when i stand before my God and HE and only HE tells me I will have to pay for the sin that was my marriage (if it is a sin) then I will. No regrets.

    September 14, 2011 at 12:03 am | Report abuse |
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