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. Observer


    The bottom line is that everyone picks and chooses what they want from the Bible and ignors the rest. You could have chosen the Golden Rule and promoted love, but you have CHOSEN comments about Sodom. It's all pick and choose so why not PICK something everyone could agree on?

    September 14, 2011 at 3:12 am | Report abuse |
  2. ashley

    Once again observer i say i do not pick and choose what benefits me, and from all my post i cant believe you dont see that.... do you think wearing skirts, no makeup or jewelry benefits me? Not to the typical materialistic superficial human walking among us... but since I am living my life for God, everything I do to please him makes me happy.

    September 14, 2011 at 3:15 am | Report abuse |
  3. Observer

    "why God said he will curse those who change his word."

    Guess again. This is from a BIBLE. There are 20 versions. Why don't Christians mention which version when they say "Bible"? They can't even agree on which VERSION is right. So which one is correct, since they all disagree?

    September 14, 2011 at 3:17 am | Report abuse |
  4. Observer


    Your version supports "And if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant". Read it youself.

    September 14, 2011 at 3:19 am | Report abuse |
  5. Steve

    All straight applications for a marriage license should have a 30 day waiting period during which time their choice of a marriage partner would be put up for public vote. I can only wish you the best of luck that the majority will agree with your choice, otherwise choose someone the community can agree on.

    September 14, 2011 at 3:21 am | Report abuse |
    • wildbynature

      Actually, marriage has been around longer than religion, so once again: FAIL.

      September 14, 2011 at 4:19 am | Report abuse |
    • xlntcat

      It would cut down on the divorce rate.

      September 14, 2011 at 4:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Prophet5

      @wildbynature, Really? When did religion start and when did marriage start? How do you know, were you there or can you cite a record that gives a start date for either?

      September 14, 2011 at 4:34 am | Report abuse |
    • TalShiar

      Religion and marriage started at the same time, in the Garden of Eden. And there's a record to prove it.

      September 14, 2011 at 4:46 am | Report abuse |
    • greg

      Religion and marriage started at the same time, in the Garden of Eden. And there's a record to prove it.

      Very amusing – I do love satire.

      September 14, 2011 at 5:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Shawn

      Ashley, that's the problem. Gays aren't looking for equality in the church or in front of god, they're looking for equality in front of the government. There's a big difference here between what gay people are fighting for, and what bible thumpers are fighting against, but no one wants to talk about it for some reason.

      September 14, 2011 at 6:10 am | Report abuse |
    • LivinginVA

      Ashley: I'm a little confused. Do you consider folks who get married in front of a judge in a court house as married? Do you consider anyone who gets married in a church as married?

      September 14, 2011 at 6:38 am | Report abuse |
    • wildbynature

      A record to prove it? if you mean the bible, your definition of proof is wherein lies your confusion.
      And regarding if I was there, Prophet, were YOU? Weak argument. Go back to school.

      September 14, 2011 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      Shawn i understand your agenda is for legal rights and tax benefits, and I don't care about that at all. It is not a holy matrimony though and I dont feel it should be called a marriage- the same way i feel about civil unions. That is why marriage is such a mockery today. And I do not feel anyone who commits to a non religious ceremony or in front of a judge is married in Gods eyes, and his law is my law.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Carolinajimco

    So tired of gays setting thier immoral agenda.

    September 14, 2011 at 3:30 am | Report abuse |
    • God

      So tired of straights wrongfully judging others based on their fake religious morals and using the term 'agenda' ...

      September 14, 2011 at 3:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Slap

      Exactly. The tail doesn't wag the dog. Yeh, I know, life isn't fair. It never has been fair and never will be fair.

      September 14, 2011 at 5:22 am | Report abuse |
    • S

      yes agree

      September 14, 2011 at 5:37 am | Report abuse |
    • S

      with Carolina sick of them pushing there sick immoral junk down our throats. It goes against God and nature man you guys are sick

      September 14, 2011 at 5:39 am | Report abuse |
    • BretLA

      yawwwwwn. say something compelling. say something relevant, say something that isn't marginally stupid. The only people who forced a gay agenda are the idiots who put the issue of gay marriage on the ballot. Why are YOU better than anyone else you stand next to in this country? You aren't trust me.

      September 14, 2011 at 5:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      How is wanting equal rights pushing an "agenda"? Also, at what age did you choose your orientation? I am a straight middle aged guy and I don't remember ever making such a choice. Gays marrying does not bother me. I am secure in my orientation and relationship. Why does it bother you?

      September 14, 2011 at 7:16 am | Report abuse |
  7. ashley

    Lol wow i thought you were listening to me.. The only bible is KJV aka King James Version. the rest are false and misguiding. I'm not even looking at the entire passage but perhaps the man owed him money and sold his daughter to pay off his debt... and anyway from what i am interpreting, he sold her to be engaged, and if he decided not to marry her he may sell her to another man but deal with the consequences

    September 14, 2011 at 3:31 am | Report abuse |
  8. ashley

    I do treat others as I want to be treated...

    September 14, 2011 at 3:32 am | Report abuse |
  9. txnan6

    That's been done before to get all the crazies, bigots, and TeePotters out to vote (use of fear/hate works with these people-look at how Hitler manipulated and controled people by giving them a scapegoat/target). I wish I could believe there are more civilized than backward peoplein NC, but I'm not hopeful.

    September 14, 2011 at 3:33 am | Report abuse |
    • eville_11

      how quickly the liberals run for Hitler when persecuted...

      September 14, 2011 at 4:48 am | Report abuse |
    • BretLA

      how quickly conservatives try to distance themselves from relevant comparisons to hitler...

      September 14, 2011 at 5:46 am | Report abuse |
    • blackguy

      at bretLA- "relevant comparisons to Hitler," that would be funny if it weren't so offensive to the millions of jews put into concentration camps. Banning gay marriage is nothing like what Hitler did.

      September 14, 2011 at 7:17 am | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      wow.. again someone comparing ignorance, racism, and hate to people not condoning a behavior some display....

      September 14, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  10. The Straight Guy

    Heads up! In case you don't understand what is going on, the misguided religious people are getting desperate. They wouldn't be putting this on the ballot unless they feel threatened by imminent change.

    The other thing that bothers me is why they care about the definition of marriage. Does it have religious meaning to these nut cases? Religion should have no part in law making. Such laws are an embarrassment and resources are better spent on issues of greater importance.

    September 14, 2011 at 4:24 am | Report abuse |
    • BretLA


      September 14, 2011 at 5:36 am | Report abuse |
    • LivinginVA

      Ashley: The word marriage has meant many things over the last several thousand years – as well as different things to different religions and legal systems. Why do YOU get to decide which meaning is the "right" one?

      September 14, 2011 at 6:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Shawn

      ashley, marriage has been around THOUSANDS OF YEARS LONGER than religion. It started out as farmers trading their daughters in exchange for more land.

      " their intent is for voting benefits not perserving religious beliefs." Are you joking? Their intent is to have the majority vote away equality because of their own personal beliefs. They know there is more people in NC who vote with their bible than their brain.

      The founding fathers' ancestors fled to America to get away from Catholicism ruling Europe's governments. They wanted to start a secular nation, one where all religions were equal, and no one religion had power over another. Now their sons and daughters want to turn this into a Christian nation. It's disgusting.

      September 14, 2011 at 6:42 am | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      I replied, just to the thread further above this one

      September 14, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  11. pimpson

    Finally some states have the good sense to reject that perverted disease. They should ban gays from public places next. I would vote yes.

    September 14, 2011 at 5:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Terry

      Excellent gene pool. Did your mother marry her brother?

      September 14, 2011 at 6:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Shawn

      Why stop with voting them out of public places? They don't have the right to own homes. We should put them all in their own part of town. Let's not stop there though. They should all wear a symbol so we know who is gay. But why stop there? instead of mov them to one part of a city, why don't we just move them all to live in camps? put them to work in factories?

      Are you insane?

      September 14, 2011 at 7:21 am | Report abuse |
  12. Puppet

    The vote should be interesting. How come the gays never like the vote but would rather rely on unelected judges to ram their will down everyone's throats? Society rejects the fairy tale notion of gay marriage.

    September 14, 2011 at 5:25 am | Report abuse |
    • wildbynature

      If by "ramming their will down others throats", you mean bringing attention to the denial of equality, then allow me to ask: How exactly are injustices solved in silence? You can't fix a big problem without first bringing attention to its existence.

      September 14, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  13. Bill Sargent

    This all comes out of indoctrination from Christians and other religions. Families instilling on their children the belief that hmosxuality is wrong. And this whole majority rule thing doesn't work when the majority are Christian. The reason that is, is because not too many decades ago, the majority of americans felt that blacks shouldn't have equal rights. And not long before that Christians were burning women and children calling them witches. The list coculd go on and on. When is America going to grow up and realize that Christianity cannot be the moral compass for the world nor the US. Most of the heinous crimes committed on this planet are in the name of one god or another. Even among the notable Christians in the US, most of them cannot even keep their noses clean all the while working hard to deny others their rights. I feel sorry for the US.

    September 14, 2011 at 5:34 am | Report abuse |
  14. Whoops!

    I don't understand what everybody's getting so riled up and upset about. According to some bible thunder Doomsday is going to occur less than a month from now. So that pretty much means this entire ordeal isn't going to happen in May anyway. Popcorn anyone?

    September 14, 2011 at 5:54 am | Report abuse |
  15. Terry

    However, all resorts, hotels, restaurants, malls, car dealers, and small businesses in North Carolina want the Gay Community to know that we still want your business.

    September 14, 2011 at 6:01 am | Report abuse |
    • *blah

      Why is it that the gay community wants to shove what they do in the bedroom down everyones throat? Why bother fighting for marriage when gay relationships are more promiscuous violent and shorter in general than straight relationships? The joke about what does a gay person bring on the first date.. a uhaul is sadly a truth.I have not only seen this in relationships of gay people I know, but have had miserable relationships with lesbians just out to use me. And as soon as I turned my back I got stabbed in it by so called friends who stayed in my house and took advantage of my hospitality and then turned on me. Thanks guys. Kiss my straightened out a**

      September 14, 2011 at 6:53 am | Report abuse |
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