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. Fairplay99

    Good.

    September 14, 2011 at 7:54 am | Report abuse |
  2. Dru Richman

    @Mott the Hoople – Not to go too Biblical on you—but just who do you think Cain and Abel married girls from the garden down the road?

    September 14, 2011 at 8:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Emma Peel

      If everyone was begat from Adam and Eve that would be their sisters..............what say you, ashley, ot is the OT not relevant anymore?

      September 14, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      At the begining of time they did mate with their sister, as did cousins and so forth... obviously we didn't have a big choice huh? Guess that means you're just as inbred as me LOL... and I think marrying your first cousin is still legal here in NC if your interested LOL

      September 14, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Emma Peel

      Why didn't God just make more people? And wasn't Eve awfully tired giving birth to a nation?

      September 14, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      The only way to know all the answers is making it into the pearly gates, good luck emma, i will pray for you

      September 14, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Travis

    Love is louder.

    September 14, 2011 at 8:20 am | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      God is final

      September 14, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ari159

      Ash: God may be final, but He is love. This is what you religious nutjobs preach right?

      September 14, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • shawn

      No, Jesus taught love for everyone, but they'd rather ignore that.

      September 14, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      oh God is love allday everyday! and we love everyone even sinners! that does not mean we love sin, same as i do not love drugs but i love drug users 🙂

      September 14, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  4. NastySodomites

    It seems there are a lot of people on this site that do not believe that Americans should have a say in this matter, if having a say with their vote is going against their personal agenda. If our government keeps on forcing people to do what a samll manority wants, where do you really think that is going to end up. Look at the U.S. financial debacle, do you really think that if it were left to the majority to decide that the rich would be getting richer by leaps and bounds, while poverty grows at an alarming rate? Government interference with the peoples will is taking us under folks.

    September 14, 2011 at 8:37 am | Report abuse |
    • rick

      you don't have a vote on other's rights. if what gays do bother you, close your eyes, cover your ears and say very loudly "I CAN'T HEEEEEER YOU!" over and over.

      September 14, 2011 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
    • CrazyPete

      The problem with voting on others rights is that the majority could vote to oppress a minority for personal gain (or fun or for idealistic reasons). For instance, the majority could vote to enslave a minority. Or maybe all the pedophiles could move to North Dakota (or some unpopulated state) and vote to make bonkin' a six year old legal. Would that be OK with you?

      September 14, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Acromyrmex-versicolor

      This is just a stupid argument. Legalization of gay marriage does not force anything on anyone. Allowing gay couples to marry really has no impact on your life unless you're so immature that you can't stand the notion of other people somewhere in the world doing something that you ignorantly believe to be morally wrong.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ari159

      Get over yourself, princess. If you're not interested in gay marriage, don't have one. Plain and simple.

      September 14, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • MalcolmL

      If I and someone else, or, several someone else's want to do something that does not include you-why meddle in our affairs. Just mind your own business.

      September 14, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Christopher

    Troll Harder.

    September 14, 2011 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
  6. NODAT1

    What’s the problem? Are we now telling people they no longer have the right to vote on social issues? We have a elected body who wants it voting citizens, not the government to determine the outcome of a social issue. This is how it’s should be with all our laws…….. The liberals and many people posting are quick to condemn widespread prejudices that we have in our society but they themselves are pre-judging the citizens of NC by predetermining on how they will vote and preventing them from exercising one of thei basic right as a NC citizen. I ask the liberals whats next, what basic right are you going to take away tomorrow???? Who’s to say that if left to its NC citizens how they will vote on this bill, I don’t have ESP nor can I tell the future and I don’t think any of can either. So let the citizen of NC exercise their right to vote and then make your comments

    September 14, 2011 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
    • rick

      you don't get to vote on other's rights.

      September 14, 2011 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
    • wildbynature

      The majority should never be allowed to make decisions on the rights of the minorities!

      September 14, 2011 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
    • EnoughAlready

      If the majority were allowed to make decisions on the rights of the minorities we may still have slavery. Human equality should never be left to a vote, it is just stupid.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Acromyrmex-versicolor

      When there is no logical or rational reason to treat a class of people differently, then no, that issue should not be up for popular vote.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • balansact

      As a NC resident, I watch what is going on in my state. This is totally a GOP issue. They voted on this, and then adjourned, leaving behind more important issues until Nov. They want to limit government but increase the intrusion of government. They want to save money, but waste money by making this a priority and using my tax dollars to promote this instead of looking out for my welfare. And they also waste money because the legality of this will be challenged and then the state will have to spend money to defend it. I am not even going to start the moral argument that this is denying rights to a minority, just as was done to black, catholics, women, and other groups throughout history.

      September 14, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  7. banasy©

    Ashley states:
    "Lol wow i thought you were listening to me.. The only bible is KJV aka King James Version. the rest are false and misguiding."

    Hmmmm, really?

    So, let me get this straight: according to you, the only true Bible is the one that King James commissioned in 1604 to be the authorized version for the Church of England, which was founded by King Henry VIII, because the RCC wouldn't let him divorce his wife, Katherine of Aragon, so he could marry his newest lovebunny, Anne Boleyn.
    Simply put, Henry made up a new religion because he didn't like the one he had followed, because once he got rid of Katherine, he couldn't marry Anne in 'Holy Matrimony'.
    Then KJ commissioned a new Bible to fit in with those beliefs, and this is YOUR version of God's word?
    One that fit in with the wishes of an old, horndog reprobate?

    Check.

    September 14, 2011 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      First I must say try to get ahold of yourself woman! this convo is about gy marriage!!!! secondly, nowhere is it ok to divorce or re marry in KJV.

      September 14, 2011 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Emma Peel

      SOOOOOOO.......you don't see the problem of you judging everyone based on a book written by a false prophet? Really ashley?

      September 14, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      I don't read a misinterpretation of the original bible KJV... And how can i judge someone by saying what is written in the bible? I really have not been judgemental throughout this debate. I appreciate all the individuals that try to attack me, but it is really not getting you anywhere and you are losing track of your agenda.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ari159

      Ashley: You're a joke.

      September 14, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      LOL wow u made up all that for me to go research! Well good job, the devil has always tried to misconstrue and confuse in attempt to lead Gods people away... First let me start with the bible never says it is ok to remarry, so Matthew 19:6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. Also the funniest thing I found was King Henry VIII had already married his 6th wife by 1543... Which has nothing to do with King James Bible of 1611....ALSO King James bible came from the First Complete English Catholic Bible... so that is when we were coming out of the dark catholicism ages... You know i feel so sad for people not knowing the truth, but God gave everyone the Bible to learn from so may God bless u

      September 14, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Vince

    Really? 2 wars, insane debt, no jobs, and the poor getting poorer...and this is what we're working on? There are way bigger problems in the world.

    September 14, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Eric

    I can't believe I moved to this state full of bigots to work at one of the largest corporations here. Coming to NC is like traveling back to the 50s. Done with this place...and I'm a straight male.

    September 14, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ashley

    The pt remains clear to me...holy matrimony did come first, from God- then came marriage and paper work... we're talking about the Creation of marriage.....not what it has been through since. NC it is unfortunate you feel that way because your fellow North Carolinians would probally disagree...atleast the majority... ooooh and the history channel/!! that station owned by disney right?? that company pumping billions into the gae agenda.. yea they even tried to have a show 'proving' because theologians said sodom and ghommorah didn't have anything to do with h0mosxuality! LOL... which is why I always say read the bible for yourself, and interpret it and your relationship with God yourself....

    September 14, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  11. DaveM

    The problem is a majority of American voters today aren't smart enough to vote based on the facts withought being swayed one way or another by dramatic and emotional rhetoric. And they don't have the ability to extrapolate the consequences of their vote. If they did, Republican candidates wouldn't get a single vote in their campaign to spread hatred and destroy the middle class.

    September 14, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  12. DaveM

    Outstanding post!

    September 14, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Acromyrmex-versicolor

    Excellent post, EnoughAlready. Funny how many Christians turn a blind eye to one of Christ's most important teachings:

    Love they neighbor as thyself.

    September 14, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  14. shawn

    "we want to protect our christian values.. which this country was founded under...." The people who came around the 1400's-1500's were Quakers, protestants, puritans, and amish. their religious independance was under attack from the domineering and overpowered by the ruling churches of christianity and catholocism. Centuries later, the founding fathers were notably more Unitarian in their beliefs:

    http://www.skeptically.org/thinkersonreligion/id9.html

    September 14, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  15. JBlah

    If it is ALREADY illegal... why should we be doing this NC? There are MUCH more pressing matters in our state right now than this!

    September 14, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
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