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. WOT

    Everyone does not marry in church therefore they should be called civil unions; be it whom ever! Slave were allowed to breed but not marry: WHY?

    September 13, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      WOT thats not such a bad idea... and i am not sure what you are reffering to slaves for in America 2011

      September 13, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • jean

      Why aren't you people worried about all the atheists who are married and (gasp) use the word "marriage" to describe their union with their life partners?

      The fact is that a "Marriage" license is issued by the state, not by a church. Not to mention that in this country, our laws are secular – we are under no obligation to make laws that acknowledge your religious beliefs.

      If you want to live in a theocracy, there are several in the middle east. America used to be about freedom.

      September 13, 2011 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. indydave

    "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."
    True, and very well-said.

    September 13, 2011 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      Race and sin/religion are so very different

      September 13, 2011 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mark Yelka

    These bills passed the Senate and House both in 24 hours! This state really doesn't like some people.

    September 13, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      Mark let me explain how we feel by saying this. God doesn't hate sinners, God hates sin.

      September 13, 2011 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      God hates? Now it all makes sense..

      September 13, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      never read the bible huh? I hate drugs, but i dont hate drug users... get it ? probally not

      September 13, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Adam

      ashley: you really need to stop spouting your ignorance all over these comment sections. It's bad enough that you don't realize that being some people gay is a perfectly natural and normal part of human biology, but you don't even seem to understand the religious positions you keep citing! Why don't you do us all a favor and actually point out the verses of the Bible that say being gay is a sin?

      September 13, 2011 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      @ashley: i thought god was above human emotion. If god is victim to emotion, he's no better than i am. Cool.

      September 13, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Adam

      Lol...looks like ashley has nothing to say when actually confronted to produce specifics from the Bible. After what looks like a solid 45 minutes of posting, there's nothing but silence. I guess it's just much easier to say "read the Bible! read the Bible!". Maybe do some fact-checking next time?

      September 13, 2011 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      Looks like ashley has a life to me Adam... and for your proof to read, as follows: Genesis 19:1-13; 2:21-24 Leviticus 18:22; 20:13 Romans 1:18-22;1:18-32 I Corinthians 6:9-11; 7:2-16 2 Corinthians 5:17 Philippians 4:13 Ephesians 5:23-33;4:15 Matthew 19:4-6 1 Peter 3:15 John 15:18-19..... Really Adam I've already deffended my state and religion yesterday on a similar article CNN did yesterday on NC... but somehow reading about people bashing my homestate and not having a clue at the destruction they are persisting we accept seems to hurt me.

      September 13, 2011 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Adam

      Actually ashley, there are a large number of very credible theologians who believe that none of those passages have anything to do with modern gay marriage. Even if they did, you have no right to push those beliefs on the public as a whole. You can ban us in your churches, you can prevent us from marrying in your congregation, but that's where your rights end. And that's a principle that works both protects me from your beliefs, and it protects you from having an outside group come in and legislate their beliefs on you. How would you feel if a fervent Muslim leadership insisted you wear a burka. Their religion tells them it's necessary, and in their eyes they're right and you're wrong. What you want is the Christian version of Sharia Law.

      Orthodox Jews don't handle or eat pork. By your logic, Harris Teeter is pushing sin on Orthodox Jews and their families. Surely we should pass an amendment banning ham and pork sausage at the grocery store and prevent you from defiling G-d by having a ham sandwich. Of course this is a silly notion, but that's how separation of Church and state works.

      Oh...and stop claiming "your" NC. I'm from NC too and you're making us all look like ignorant, bigoted hayseeds. The law WILL change eventually, regardless of May's vote (I wouldn't get too self-assure about winning, either. There are a lot of people in this state who aren't as dumb as you). Get ready to be that bigoted, crazy grandmother whose family is ashamed of her a few decades from now...

      September 13, 2011 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Adam


      John 15:18-19 (KJV):

      18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.

      19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

      Peter 3:15 (KJV):

      15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear

      2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV):

      17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

      ...NONE of the above passages – that you cited – have ANYTHING to do with gay marriage or gays. At. All. See? This is my point exactly – people like you don't even understand their own religion. You can't understand literary and Biblical context enough to know that these verses are so broad, they can be used to justify anything in the Bible as an essential law (and even doing that is a stretch). Here, try applying the above to...oh, I don't know...Exodus 21:20-21:

      "When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property."

      Also, as for John 15:18, if anything it appears that you would be part of the "world", which is hateful, and the gays would be the ones suffering at the hand of your hatred.

      For the record, "defense" has only one "f". I'm starting to think from all of your misquoting and misspelling that either you're a huge troll on this comment board, or you actually can't read.

      September 13, 2011 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      I am sick of my post not being added after I have wasted my time responding to all that junk!

      September 13, 2011 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      Alright, about people who believe this and that- were they on the history channel? That station owned by disney? I have only been fortunate enough to get educated somewhat on the higher powers of the world who push and promote and spend billions to put sin and destruction into our world. Which is why i am the first to tell anyone read the bible for themselves. I didnt even read the whole pork scenario.. and if i am so ignorant why do you enjoy arguing with me more than anyone? In May the ban will be passed and hopefully it wont backfire. It should concrete our states beliefs in marriage in the case the nation allows gy marriage... and I'm pretty sure my kids/grandkids will love their gospel granny

      September 13, 2011 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      Well to me and what I understand of the Bible, Worldly events and notions (Such as now it is a push for everybody everywhere to think gy is ok) are what we christians must go against. and stick with our bible. jesus was ridiculed and
      prosecuted for not doing what everyone else went for at the time... so just like today with 'times changing' we christians are expected to also but we rather go in the opposite direction from the general, and continue to believe our bible... and yes the bible can be interpreted and twisted in many ways- as i said.. i recommend reading for yourself... it really makes it easy for the false prophets today, such as churchs pretending being gay is ok or even divorce.... so you do not understand frmot he scriptures that following the world is not right, following the bible is and that laying with another man is wrong? As for exodus I'm nto sure hwo that relates to a thing.. Perhaps you were saying slavery was ok? Not quite. As the scripture stated the servant/slave was in debt and working it off.. that even happens today(although typically people don't allow beatings, we also or nowhere near as obediant as the past.. we should be)

      September 13, 2011 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Adam

      ashley, you keep telling everyone to read the just really seems like either: A) you haven't, or B) you haven't understood a word of it! Yes, Jesus was persecuted and hated for what he taught and "not doing what everyone else was doing". You know who else was persecuted and hated for what they taught?: Hilter, Charles Manson, the Klan. You know what the difference was? Jesus's message was one of acceptance, love, and hope – your's is a message of hate, discrimination, and exclusion (much like Hitler's). You're not being persecuted, you're being kept in check so that you can't hurt others with your hatred. People like you get a sick thrill from feeling like you're a mighty warrior of God...upholding some laws you think He wants you to hurt other people in the name of. That's what the Pharisees and Romans did to Jesus – they killed him in the name of G-d, because they felt he wasn't following the old Law (many of the passages you quoted in an earlier reply). ...ashley: every time you try to restrict the rights of another person, you are being a proverbial Pharisee. You are upholding the old Law, in God's name, at someone else's expense. Because of the vitriol from people like you, there are LGBT children and teenagers who commit suicide thinking the entire world is a hateful as you...they feel that even GOD doesn't accept them. YOU, ashley are the Pharisee, and YOU ashley have helped crucify every lost LGBT child. You are sick.

      September 13, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      I havent hurt anynone, and surely not killed anyone. Infact Adam I'll say again I don't hate anyone, I hate sin. And to blame me because the children have been thrown into an already perverted world and got mixed signals and couldnt get help... that is not very nice... I am sure only more gys will come of putting being gy out in the open as if it is ok, and letting it be openly promoted everywhere. That is what I do not want for my children. As for Jesus, he was not following their rules, but our father Gods rules... and so I see myself following our father Gods rules as well, even if it is the death of me. I would gladly be stoned before giving up my bible/beliefs anyday. And no one has restricted or taken any rights. We have the same, infact more rights today than ever... How can you argue that marriage was created for couples to multiply, be fruitful, and unite their household? Now I said created(Although holy matrimony for that reason existed, and in my opinion is the origination of marriage) but truely think back to when 'marriage' was invented... There was no unwanted child problem, divorce, etc.. it was not meant for 'pleasure' which is all that can naturally prosper from a samsx marriage

      September 14, 2011 at 12:16 am | Report abuse |
  4. @ashley

    could you try not to mix religion with marriage?
    Holy matrimony is different from a civil ceremony.
    Could you refrain from mixing the two up? Mmmmmkaythanks.

    September 13, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      sure, I'll work on that, let's just remember where it all started. how it was created. so a civil ceremony is not holy matrimony therefor should not be called marriage. thanks

      September 13, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • psyborg

      where it all started was in bands of roaming packs of primitive humans. or didn't you hear about genesis and evolution?
      genesis is allegory and not based in truth but is a made-up morality play that also told of a magical creation myth.
      evolution means our relationship instincts are mutated forms of primitive instinctual relationships. jealousy is animal tribe / reproduction instinct.
      there is no holy matrimony. there is only relationships and degree of legal observance. all marriages are civil ceremonies.
      we have formalized relationships at almost every level of human interaction. it has civil consequences in real life.

      September 13, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • psyborg

      where it all started was in bands of roaming packs of primitive humans. or didn't you hear about genesis and evolution?
      genesis is allegory and not based in truth but is a made-up morality play that also told of a magical creation myth.
      evolution means our relationship instincts are mutated forms of primitive instinctual relationships. jealousy is animal tribe / reproduction instinct.

      September 13, 2011 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. ButtaFace

    You cannibal!!

    September 13, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Bachelor

    If one is against gay marriage, don't marry a gay person. Very simple!!!!

    September 13, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
  7. banasy©

    >>>>lol more ignorant racism… when do people stop throwing up stuff our ancestors did???<<<<

    And yet you want to. force people to abide by your ancient religion's text?

    A tad bid hypocritical, aren't you?

    September 13, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      Yeahh dont u make alot of sense lol... Except the bible is fact (If you are religious) and anybody and everybody knows how ignorant people can be

      September 13, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      I see the problem now. In your head, facts can sometimes not be facts. You are right about one thing. People can be ignorant.

      September 13, 2011 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
  8. banasy©

    Nope, ashley, it's just called matrimony. Thanks.

    September 13, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  9. banasy©

    And do tell, how did it all start, ashley?

    September 13, 2011 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      Banasy if you are truely interested I suggest you pick up a KJV Bible.

      September 13, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Adam

    All of these fringe, far-right, fascist religious nutjobs need to remember that ballot measures like these hurt EVERYONE's rights. This isn't just about gay rights, it's about everyone's rights – and, more frighteningly, it's about the extent to which one religious group can force its beliefs into public policy. People like "ashley" seem to think that their particular (delusional, self-important) brand of Christianity is the only religion that exists, when in reality, they make up a small, but loud minority. Plenty of Christian sects are OK with gay marriage, because they interpret the Bible differently and in context. People like "ashley" are too simple to actually interpret the Bible, which is an inherent problem, since understanding the Bible is like understanding Shakespeare – you need a strong grasp of linguistics and an understanding of Theology that extends beyond the written word and what your equally-ignorant pastor has told you. People like "ashley" don't understand that, by forcing their narrow-minded religious beliefs on the rest of us, they actually set precedence for others to make legal intrusions on their own faiths. You can push your church on the state, but in doing so, you also give the state license to push itself on your church. It's a shame they're too dumb to realize this, because it undermines everyone essential freedoms.

    September 13, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      WOW where do i start... christians and churchs who condone being gy and divorce and such, are simply FALSE PROPHECIES ((Have you read the bible??)) You cannot take from sodom and ghommorah and the scripture of not lying with strange flesh as invisable. As for people actually trying to follow their religious beliefs and standing up against immoral behavior, we are not the minority dear and you will see that with the vote in May.. I am surely not one that is narrow minded or forceful... but you need to show the same respect to me. Don't force sin on me and my family.

      September 13, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Justme1991

      Ashley is simply a bigot. Just like the white racists who used the bible to convey their racist message against people of color back in the day. I hope that none of your kids are gay because they are going to have an extremely hard time. You seem to think there is a hierarchy of sins with gays being at the top. IF being gay is a sin (and that's a big IF) and No sin is worse than the other why do you allow liars,fornicators, adulterers, the prideful, the gluttonous, murderers, pedophiles, etc. (the list goes on and on) to get married? and just so you know, that you would be disqualified for having a marriage if being "sinful" were the qualifications under "Your religion"

      September 14, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  11. banasy©

    Sorry, ashley, marrying first cousins is wrong, too, yet you advocate it by saying as long as they have children, it's okay.
    I read your posts with great interest yesterday, and that is exactly what you said.
    Curious about something, ashley: do you think people who got married in a civil ceremony any less married than those who are married in a religious ceremony?

    September 13, 2011 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      Marrying cousins aren't my concern, it happened before population expanded and since then I have not seen such, but that is why cousins did marry in the bible which is what you are reffering to my convo yesterday.. now as for civil unions, people being married without religion.. i do truely believe it should not be called a marriage.

      September 13, 2011 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
  12. banasy©


    1. legal union of a man and woman 2. similar union involving partners of the same gender 3. wedding
    4. any close association or blending of different elements

    Defined by


    1. marriage
    2. wedlock


    September 13, 2011 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
  13. paul

    Is anyone really surprised the folks from the south are the most dilusional and filled with hate? Anyone? I mean they still are not over the fact they lost the civil war. These are not ration thinking people.

    September 13, 2011 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      You do realize since 1865, yanks have moved south and rebs have moved north, right?

      September 13, 2011 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ct

    Pssst, it's not a right

    September 13, 2011 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
  15. banasy©

    Ashley, these people pay taxes, too.
    Really, it would be better to get rid of the deductions for married people, anyway...that's as antiquated as your notions of what a marriage is.
    I will pray for you, too.

    September 13, 2011 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • 4noredumdlicans

      Really I don't mind that at all! long as i get deductions for my kids, im good!

      September 13, 2011 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
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