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. thetruth


    September 14, 2011 at 12:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Observer

      There's nothing that EVERYONE accepts. This is just an issue of EQUAL RIGHTS.

      Still haven't figured out where the caps lock is?

      September 14, 2011 at 12:22 am | Report abuse |
    • goodwhengone

      for real, they are gross. If I ever see one look at my child wrong, i'll do something that even those sickos won't enjoy

      September 14, 2011 at 12:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Observer


      "for real, they are gross". So don't go into their bedrooms.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:30 am | Report abuse |
    • bostonhasitright

      Tim—your views disgust me and quite honestly, you're a biggot. The entire state of NC should be ashamed of themselves for taking a step in the wrong direction. Bev Purdue, you're an awful Governor and the GOP is going nowhere quick when it comes to fair and equal rights for everyone. Shame on the South.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:44 am | Report abuse |
  2. cl78

    they'll probably call it the "anti-discrimination act" since technically they are removing the previous statute about gay marriage ban from the law and pick up the Black and Latino vote and win by a landslide. They no the minority population will be out in drove next presidential election and while they may lose the presidency, republicans can still gain wins this way too.

    September 14, 2011 at 12:21 am | Report abuse |
  3. WOT

    Pimpson, you would have now where to go, you are gay and do not know it!

    September 14, 2011 at 12:23 am | Report abuse |
  4. Fisher

    Honestly, I am amazed at the amount of hate, bigotry, & discrimination that is being stated here! I thought Americans stood for freedom! My parents grew up in the era of discrimination! That was learned! I choose to break that cycle and love people for who they are not who they are "labeled." I am extremely blessed to have a diversity of friends , family, & coworkers, & neighbors! Really my life would be quite boring if everyone was exactly like me! Please learn acceptance & love! I have through an open mind and my life is much richer b/c of it! My life and profession are based on caring for other people. I have never refused to care for someone b/c of any bias or prejudice! That would be unethical! So is this propsed ban!

    September 14, 2011 at 12:23 am | Report abuse |
    • thetruth


      September 14, 2011 at 12:24 am | Report abuse |
    • goodwhengone

      the only people who should have any rights are Christians. Everyone else should lead miserable lives to get a taste of what hell will be like. Christians and them alone should be the only ones with freedoms since we're the only ones going to heaven and are loved by God

      September 14, 2011 at 12:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Martina


      September 14, 2011 at 12:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Observer


      There are FAR FAR MORE Christians guilty of adultery than there are total number of gays. Why aren't you picking on the FAR GREATER number of Christian sinners?

      September 14, 2011 at 12:32 am | Report abuse |
    • vetlaw

      goodwhengone- Have you ever even picked up a Bible?!? That comment is close to the most unChristian like thing I have ever heard. You may want to rethink your concept of faith and religion.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:53 am | Report abuse |
  5. Jeff Frank ( R - Ohio ) "What me worry?"

    "Bring home the Mrs. Carls Bread...Fred!!!"

    September 14, 2011 at 12:23 am | Report abuse |
  6. wayneone

    Colouerd or not .I was born and brought up in New Brunswick Canada and I have nevered heard so much black tonight. They were coloured ppl. THATS ALL. nothing black or nothing like that. Hey me a 54 year old white dude, hope no offensive. Colour is nothing. Get along

    September 14, 2011 at 12:25 am | Report abuse |
    • goodwhengone

      after reading your comment I highly doubt your anything but a foreigner poisoning our discussion.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:28 am | Report abuse |
  7. Technologist

    Me, and I'm sure a number of other engineers who work for huge companies here in the Research Triangle will move to another state if this law is enacted. I don't want to live in a state that supports bigotry. Plain and simple.

    September 14, 2011 at 12:28 am | Report abuse |
    • goodwhengone

      southern liberal trash can go live with more yankie liberal trash.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Observer

      "southern liberal trash can go live with more yankie liberal trash."

      Just what Jesus would say? Of course, he would be a better speller. "Yankie" is a classic!

      September 14, 2011 at 12:33 am | Report abuse |
  8. forgetthis

    When are the republicans gonna start creating jobs like they promised in 2010?

    September 14, 2011 at 12:30 am | Report abuse |
    • thetruth


      September 14, 2011 at 12:31 am | Report abuse |
  9. thetruth


    September 14, 2011 at 12:30 am | Report abuse |
    • o bogey

      Cause gay people are still americans and their religion allows them to marry but our government discrminates based on religion

      September 14, 2011 at 12:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Will

      So they don't have to marry a gay person, but they should mind their own business. By the way, I'm not gay and I'm not fond of them, but they should be able to live their lives without busy-bodies trying to hurt them.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:36 am | Report abuse |
  10. thetruth


    September 14, 2011 at 12:30 am | Report abuse |
    • DGS

      TheTruth is that the only reason you're glad to see this turned into an actual state law is that you know the tide is turning. If it wasn't for codifying such bans, who knows, maybe people would actually be permitted to live in peace the way they want, and you can't bear the thought of not controlling those you don't agree with. Poor thing.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:58 am | Report abuse |
  11. dginkc

    From Inherit the Wind – but I think the line is appropriate here: "Fanaticism and ignorance is forever busy, and needs feeding."

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

    Freedom doesn't mean that the majority can stomp on the minority. If the majority would mind their own business and let others live, we wouldn't have as many problems in this world.

    September 14, 2011 at 12:31 am | Report abuse |
  13. Jeff Frank ( R - Ohio ) "What me worry?"

    Oh...go on. Be a liberal. It's easier than WORK!

    September 14, 2011 at 12:32 am | Report abuse |
    • dginkc

      Maybe you have to work harder because you aren't as smart or able as others or don't have a valuable skill of any kind. Liberals are generally much harder workers than conservatives. Conservatives are too preoccupied with telling other people how they should live their lives. Liberals are busy living their lives, doing their jobs, and making the country a better place...even for conservatives.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeff Frank ( R - OHIO )

      @ dginkc
      So are you saying to me, by definition conservatives are lazy?

      September 14, 2011 at 1:21 am | Report abuse |
  14. Martina

    And I thought we left the stone age! I 'm hetro by the way!

    September 14, 2011 at 12:33 am | Report abuse |
  15. thetruth


    September 14, 2011 at 12:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Observer

      Speaking of uptight, the biggest ranting here has come from you with your cap locks on.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:36 am | 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