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. JimBucknell

    Hugo your God or should i say Gawd uses she bears to do his dirty work.... Man upstairs did not want to get his hands dirty after the flood I guess.

    23: And he [Elisha] went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up that way, there came forth little children of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; Go up, thou bald head.

    24: And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood and tare forty and two children of them.

    September 14, 2011 at 1:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Hugo

      While this is a good point, you have questions pending, like the diabetes question. If you want me to answer, then do some answering yourself.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:30 am | Report abuse |
  2. Hugo

    Jim, please take a look at Galatians 3. Even if Leviticus applied to Gentiles, it wouldn't now.

    September 14, 2011 at 1:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Observer


      Everyone just picks and chooses what they like from the Bible and ignors the rest. If everyone just CHOSE the Golden Rule to quote and follow, we wouldn't be having these discussions.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Hugo

      Observer, I wouldn't go with "everyone." You make a good point about the Golden Rule. There's also "But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (Matthew 5:44).

      September 14, 2011 at 1:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Observer


      "I wouldn't go with "everyone."

      No one believes every word of the Bible.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Hayzeus

      Observer whether everyone believes in the Bible doesn't really matter, doesn't make it any less truthful.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Observer


      I'm talking about h0mophobic believers. The real issue is HYPOCRISY. Believers should never claim that gays, for instance, should be punished "because the Bible says so" unless they believe EVERYTHING in it. Otherwise, it's all pick and choose.

      September 14, 2011 at 2:03 am | Report abuse |
  3. JimBucknell

    Hey hugy why is ole Jehova killing off kids with a she bear?

    September 14, 2011 at 1:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Hugo

      Jim, still not answering. I'll go back to see if you addressed my point about genetics & type 1 diabetes yet.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Hugo

      Apparently not. Hey, you can skip the genetics & diabetes question if you feel like dealing with XX XY human chimeras and telling me if they are male or female.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:37 am | Report abuse |
  4. JimBucknell

    He not man enough to do it with random lightening strikes or something else that is part of his plan

    September 14, 2011 at 1:32 am | Report abuse |
  5. JimBucknell

    "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”

    Except some kids making fun of a bald man... That gets a good ole fashioned she bear killin

    September 14, 2011 at 1:33 am | Report abuse |
  6. Stephen

    i am a younger (nearing 30 now) north carolina resident.

    i was saddened when i saw this. then i realized they are only growing the ranks of the disillusioned, and i was happy again.

    this is one of the ways democracy fails in the quest for freedom and equality. the rule of the majority.

    i don't care if 99.9% of people think it's right to take away someone else's rights, it's wrong... but it's legal.

    bring on the next -ocracy or -ism... i grow very weary of this one.

    September 14, 2011 at 1:33 am | Report abuse |
    • yalesouth

      well tht is what the consitution is for, it is supposed to restrain the rabid mobs from taking away fundamental rights.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:37 am | Report abuse |
  7. JimBucknell

    Jesus cursed evil spirits out of a woman and into some pigs and then the pigs drowned themselves. Man pigs get a bad rap in the jewish/christian mythology and the mythology of islam.

    September 14, 2011 at 1:35 am | Report abuse |
  8. JimBucknell

    You do not think that Type 1 diabetes has a genetic component? Hugo you serious?

    September 14, 2011 at 1:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Hugo

      Yes, I'm very serious. Look up article 111213 on the JDRF website.
      "New York, NY, December 10, 2008 - Type 1 (juvenile) diabetes and celiac disease appear to share a common genetic origin, scientists at the University of Cambridge and Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, have confirmed."

      September 14, 2011 at 1:40 am | Report abuse |
  9. oh please




    September 14, 2011 at 1:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Hugo

      Which God(s) don't you believe in? How about those you say "God is the Universe?" To not believe in that God, you'd need to deny the universe.

      Isn't math fun?

      September 14, 2011 at 1:42 am | Report abuse |
    • confused1

      I don't believe in any of the gods.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:47 am | Report abuse |
    • JFK57

      One accepts science for the results it has to show.
      One believes in God through faith. Like the wind, you don't see it but it does exist.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:47 am | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      LOL really??? because science proved sodom and ghommorah existed, and also burned in a pit of fire

      September 14, 2011 at 1:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Observer


      What EXACTLY does the Bible say was the "sin of Sodom and her daughters"?

      September 14, 2011 at 1:57 am | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      Now this was the sin of Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen. —Ezekiel 16:49-50.... what does that have to do with anything?

      September 14, 2011 at 2:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Observer


      It shows that the demise of Sodom was not the direct cause of people being gay as so many h0mophobic Christians claim.

      September 14, 2011 at 2:07 am | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      OK its bugging me too much not to admitt in my haste I got a scripture from some other bible. so let me give you the exact words per KJV of Ezekial 16:49-50 Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.

      September 14, 2011 at 2:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Observer


      Remember that the next time you or some other Christian try to link gays to Sodom and Gomorrah.

      September 14, 2011 at 2:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Brendan K Callahan

      Try "You can not believe in Star Wars and use science!"; I mean, they're both fiction, right?

      September 14, 2011 at 2:16 am | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      observer hope you see my reply since i could not post here

      September 14, 2011 at 2:25 am | Report abuse |
  10. JimBucknell

    The concept of god can take many forms with people. Some people's concept of god can cause hate other peoples concept of god cold cause mercy. Its all a concept there is no god interacting with us in reality to make a clear comparison with. We can read ancient texts by desert druids and have it support any concept of god we want. Just like the APA can say that being gay is not a genetic disease.

    September 14, 2011 at 1:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Hugo

      Jim, I think you are making progress.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:44 am | Report abuse |
  11. Justin Bieber's Colon

    Maybe NC should vote on slavery, too!

    September 14, 2011 at 1:42 am | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      another ignorant racist...

      September 14, 2011 at 1:57 am | Report abuse |
  12. JimBucknell

    You just said the type 1 diabetes has a genetic cause.... That is what I am arguing too. Um so I am lost.

    September 14, 2011 at 1:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Hugo

      Close but not quite. To get Type 1 diabetes or Celiac you (apparently) need to have 5 genes all saying the same thing. But just because you have those 5 genes doesn't mean you'll get either or both of the conditions.

      Just under 1% of Americans have Celiac. Most of them don't know it. A few years ago, only 1 in 3000 knew it. I haven't seen more recent numbers. Regardless, it's clear that far less than 1% of Americans have type 1 diabetes.

      If you don't have those 5 genes, you (apparently) are unable to get either type 1 diabetes or celiac.

      Does this make more sense?

      September 14, 2011 at 1:49 am | Report abuse |
  13. Reason

    This initiative suggests that North Carolina is crystalizing into one of the dark states – of ignorance, intolerance, and backwardness. Why would any intelligent, open-minded, ambitious, creative person opt to live there?

    September 14, 2011 at 1:44 am | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      Wow a dark state... I see NC keeping its traditions morals and values protected and nto caring what people say or judge them as, yet standing up for their beliefs and rights. (And before you say it, gys have never had the right to be married)

      September 14, 2011 at 1:58 am | Report abuse |
  14. JimBucknell

    God more or less said he learned his lesson after the flood, one that is physically impossible to cover the whole earth. So if god can learn is he still all knowing?

    September 14, 2011 at 1:45 am | Report abuse |
  15. JimBucknell

    Aiight you SOBs I am calling it a night. Legalize gay marriage all you want. The social contract between two consenting adults is not a big deal but being gay is a disease. And the gays should be treated with compassion the same way you would some inbreed bumpkin from NC with webbed feet. Bullying is not right and legislating rites is not right

    September 14, 2011 at 1:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Hugo

      I was hoping Jim would stay around a bit longer after saying he was lost. I tried to explain in hopes that he'd learn more about medical science and genetics.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Hugo

      I guess I'll go too.

      I just wish someone else (who uses these forums) would learn enough about the XX XY chimera issue to engage in an intelligent discussion related to it. They are an extremely small minority and I fear they could be discriminated against by laws like this. (The problem is that they could end up not being able to marry anyone else, man or woman. Is that reasonable?)

      September 14, 2011 at 1:54 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