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. banasy©

    Let me guess...Westboro Baptist married you and your first cousin/husband, ashley?

    September 13, 2011 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      well aren't assumptions just the color for you?? ahahaha you sound so silly.. actually my uncle, a protestant minister married me (white) and my husband (black) but surely you have more to say about my life when i am only defending my religion and standing up for not allowing another sin to be an open perversion

      September 13, 2011 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • TKelly

      @ Ashley... then you of all people should not be judging anyone for wanting to be with the one they love. my sister(white) married my brother in law (black) they have 4 beautiful amazing children. And wouldn't you know it now one is gay.... and half black and half white..... What do you tell those people. your in way over your hear here. People are people and they all deserve to be with whom they wish. No one should be allowed to tell anyone otherwise. and you r GOD and Mine will take care of anything he feels needs taken care of.

      September 13, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      You are right, I have been judged for who I love, but it is not wrong to love who i love by my bible. it is a sin to be gay however, and unfortunately tht cannot be changed or comforted... If I was put into a situation of a child being gay I would love them but i could not condone their behavior (EI: no partners coming to the home)

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

      ashley - why are you so obsessed with this issue? are you finding yourself attracted to the UPS girl? Get off your high horse - Jesus wouldn't condone what you are saying in the least, and he wouldn't place himself in a category above any other sinner.

      September 14, 2011 at 6:17 am | Report abuse |
  2. LibraryLady

    I am a southern woman, and I am horrified by this idiocy.
    It's bigotry and hate at its worst, and I hope that people realize that not all southerners (or Christians for that matter) feel this way.
    People want less government interfering with their lives, well this is an excellent place to start!

    September 13, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
  3. leeintulsa

    ROFL! Do you realize 50 years ago you would have called you a sinner?

    September 13, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      Really??? why so?

      September 13, 2011 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Lisa

    What a stupid waste of money and time. How satisfying it must be for the republican legislature to know that they are fulfilling the stereotype of bigoted, ignorant religious zealots. Fantastic. I'm so very proud to be a citizen of NC. Nice work, folks. Glad you all have jobs.

    September 13, 2011 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jazzzzzzzz

    It's the couple's covenant commitment before God and men. that is the important part.
    And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said: 'This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.' Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife.

    God did *NOT* make another man from Adams rib, did he?

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

      Hahahahahaha..... you really believe that Jazzzzzzzz???? Great story, but really? So I guess that all women have 1 more rib than men...lol

      September 13, 2011 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      jazz thanks for ur post, and lol allforone you didnt take biology?? Women do have more ribs than men

      September 13, 2011 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • AllForOne

      1 more... really! So which side of my body has an even number and which side has an odd number?

      September 13, 2011 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Iron Sun

      Ashley: "lol allforone you didnt take biology?? Women do have more ribs than men"

      Uh, no. No, Ashley, they really, really don't. Both men and women have 24 ribs in 12 pairs. Look at any anatomy textbook. This is one of those glib "facts" that get repeated so often that many people just assume it to be true. Go to a natural history museum. Count the ribs. Both genders have exactly the same number.

      So where did you take biology again?

      September 13, 2011 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
  6. puddintame

    Christ I gotta get out of the south

    September 13, 2011 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
  7. leeintulsa

    @jazzz: You believers can live however you want. Why can't everyone else?

    September 13, 2011 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
  8. banasy©

    Nobody is forcing 'sin' on you and your family, ashley. 50 years ago, you were not free to marry the love of your life, today you are.
    Why on Earth would you deny that to two pepple who love each other as you and your husband do?
    You just said 'don't force your sin on me and my family".
    Where are gay people doing that? Are they fornicating of your front porch?
    Well don't force your religion on people, either.
    I'm cool with the fact that you follow the Bible. I really am.
    What I'm not cool with is people trying to inject their religion into our civil laws.
    If your church doesn't want to marry two gay people, so be it.
    But your church has no right to tell them they may never marry at all civily.

    September 13, 2011 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      Banasy, i must say it has been *thrilling* fighting along side you for sanity, freedom, and the american way. Checking out to charge the phone. Cya later 🙂

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

      50 years ago I may not have been able to marry due to ignorance, not due to the bible. And fornicating on my porch is not the only way to shove gy down my fam's throat.. what comes to my mind is a society making it seem acceptable to be gay and even including gays in school text books(they just mandated in CA) to have my lil ones thinking that its ok to be gay? It's probally not a discussion i would want to have with my little girls until they could understand the difference in not liking what people do VS not liking people.. I believe marriage belongs in the church.

      September 13, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • daniel

      omg, ashley you really can't be that ignorant can you? please tell me the answer is no. dear child, be enlightened: http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/loving.html you will see, if you read, that a state supreme court judge said that "Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix". Yes ashley, it was a religious argument...less than fifty years ago many, many people, including pastors, judges, lawmakers and lay people thought that GOD HIMSELF loathed your marriage to your black husband. History is doomed to repeat itself over and over again until people understand where we have come. BTW, virginia put it to the people whether interracial marriages should be allowed...the people voted NO over and over again! Thankfully the US Supreme Court had more sense than the people...that's why this amendment should not have been put to the people

      September 14, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      Well not that I haven;t answered this in my following post as well, but I racism is a bit of a hot button issue with me as well as idiots.lol.. so you are quoting what a person said? how about the FACT moses married an ethiopian woman and god did not challenge this...please let the bible be your guide.. not your commen sense..... You are constantly comparing ignorant people to the word of the bible. The Bible states NOWHERE that interacial dating is forbidden infact it is embraced as I said with moses...

      September 14, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jazzzzzzzz

    @ Lee, I'm not the one telling anyone how to live, God is! That if the people care about their ETERNAL LIFE
    Just sayin

    September 13, 2011 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      thank u! people think we are full of hate and judgement for practicing our religion.. it's ridiculous!

      September 13, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • AllForOne

      There's the problem Jazzzzzz. Your god may tell you how to live...... but my god says something different. My god says that we are all created equal and that we should love EVERYONE.... even the people who are different than me. My wife agrees and we are trying to raise our children to be good people. Sending out the message to my children that if they are gay or if one of their school mates is gay, that they are less in the eyes of the law, or even worse, in the eyes of god is a horrible thing to tell a child. Might even be a sin...... why don't you ask your god if it's OK to do that someone who's innocent.

      September 13, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      Not so. You are free to believe whatever you want. You can sit in church and judge people all you want. Even brainwash your kids to believe the same, all well and good.

      It's when you try to make others live by your self-imposed rules that there is a problem.

      Think gays will go to hell, that's fine. Freedom decrees that you *let* them.

      September 13, 2011 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ctlfreak

      Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property." (Leviticus 25:44-45)

      September 13, 2011 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
  10. johnnny1

    Ashley, go live in another non-secular country where they oppress people who are different just because it doesn't fit in with the text of an irrelevant and OUT DATED "holy" book.

    September 13, 2011 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      irrelevant and outdated?? hillarious! It is proven history repeats itself and if you don't see the same issues found back in the day of sodom and ghommorah you are dillusional.. and say you don't even believe sodom and ghommorah existed.. you should research it, because it was scientifically proven it did exist, along with 2 other cities that were burned like nothing else explainable has ever happened on this planet, not lava not anything...

      September 13, 2011 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
  11. johnnny1

    After all, that' what you want.

    September 13, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
  12. B

    "people think we are full of hate and judgement for practicing our religion"

    Hahahaha, the irony...!

    September 13, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
  13. banasy©

    Thanks leeintulsa!
    (You'll see this later)

    @Adam:
    Every one of your posts have been thought-provoking...
    Especially your post @7:42.
    Here's hoping people actually think!!!

    September 13, 2011 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
  14. banasy©

    Just had another thought, ashley...if marrying your brother/first cousin is no longer a factor in today's world, and that part is outdated, what else is outdated?

    You are free to practice your religion. How would you like it if that freedom was taken away?
    It could happen sooner than you think....
    How DARE anyone be punished because of who they fall in love with....
    My God is shh at you....

    September 13, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      i didn't say marrying your first cousin was outdated- i said i havent seen such(in the bible) since those days of low population.... You see I will die for my religion. So if I am forced to choose burning a bible or being slaughtered, I know where I will end up... it is not about love yet about morals values and religion, and i dont see a punishment here... gys are not stoned for their relationships.. and if you mean the tax benefits and legal issues they are missing out on, then address that problem... and your god is shh? at me?

      September 13, 2011 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mary

    In 1967, Loving v. Virginia struck down the laws of more than 20 states (including North Carolina) that prohibited interracial marriage. It is now many years later and still we have fools who don't want to understand that love is a wonderful thing, and it comes in many forms.

    We also have fools that justify denying the rights of these men and women on the grounds of biblical verse, some of them black, some of them even old enough to remember being told by racist judges reasons why the black man should be kept down.

    We have other fools who don't want to hear that the bible is not always the best source for answers. The same book condones selling women as brides in the Old Testament and dietary restrictions that most Christians no longer follow.

    Here we go again....some people never learn.

    September 13, 2011 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
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