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. Daniel

    Thankful to no longer live in that backward state. Most of them really are that bigoted. They still hate blacks, too.

    September 13, 2011 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
  2. banasy©

    Marriage belongs to two people who want to marry. Not to a church, your church, ANY church.

    September 13, 2011 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jazzzzzzzz


    September 13, 2011 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jazzzzzzzz

    1 corinthians 6:9
    1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (NIV): "Do you not know that the w-i-c-k-e-d will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the s-e-x-u-a-l-l-y immoral nor i-d-o-l-a-t-e-r-s,

    September 13, 2011 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ctlfreak

      "For everyone who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death. He has cursed his father or his mother. His blood shall be upon him." (Leviticus 20:9)

      September 13, 2011 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jazzzzzzzz

    nor a-d-u-l-t-e-r-e-r-s nor male pr-o-s-t-i-t-u-t-e-s nor h-o-m-o-s-e-x-u-a-l offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."

    September 13, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark Yelka

      Nor you. Pride goeth before the fall.

      September 13, 2011 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ctlfreak

      "If a man lies with a woman during her sickness and uncovers her nakedness, he has discovered her flow, and she has uncovered the flow of her blood. Both of them shall be cut off from her people." (Leviticus 20:18)

      September 13, 2011 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
  6. banasy©

    So WHAT if gay people are in textbooks?
    They've always been in there anyway...
    Are Michaelangelo's works any less beautiful because he was gay?
    He created some of the greatest works of religious are *ever*; I suppose you think he's burning in hell.
    Are Alexander the Great any less great because he was gay?
    Those are just two right off the top of my head....but unless those textbooks you talk about have a step-by-step diagram for what they do in private, you don't have anything to worry about...and you already said you were home-schooling; it's a moot point.

    September 13, 2011 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      Einstein was gay 2!! Isn;t it crazy things you would never know... I don't hate anyone that is gay, but I do not condomne the act of being gay... I said I would have to homeschool if that happened, not that I am... my children aren't even 2 yet.... and also i do not know who goes to hell because God decides that, but i do know God told me being gay is a sin. The point of everything with this law, and defending my religion/family values- is that I do not want my children growing up in a society that being gay is as normal as having a dog.

      September 13, 2011 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      I have the same gateway to God as you... The bible, his law... and his law says lying with strange flesh is a sin... and i am certainly not a cotton picker, justify that please.. also i have no judged anyone yet stated being gy is wrong. that is law

      September 14, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jazzzzzzzz

    The above is what God says
    @ Ashley I didn't say anything about how many ribs we have, that NOT the point !
    @ AllForOne ... again this is what the The word of God is saying, take it up with him and do as you wish.

    My post are only to present what is in the Bible (the word of God)

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

    Ok, sound off...
    what version of the Bible does each of you have?
    Please answer

    September 13, 2011 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. banasy©

    Incest is against God's laws, aren't they?
    Marrying your brother/cousin is incest.
    Therefore, you are breaking God's law in NC if you marry your cousin, correct?
    Just need some clarifying...

    September 13, 2011 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Sue

    First cousin marriage? Yay!
    Gay marriage? Nay!

    No, really. First cousins can legally get it on. Gays can't.

    September 13, 2011 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
  11. banasy©

    Being gay is as normal to gay people as being straight is to straight people.

    September 13, 2011 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
  12. banasy©

    Sooooooo....bonking family is okay?

    September 13, 2011 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jeff Frank ( R - Ohio ) "What me worry?"

    OK, the next piece of property that I purchase, I want to be able to put it all in my cats' name. I mean come on, get real here. When George married Tom, I never thought when George worked at getting Tom pregnant, Tom admitted to seeing another man. Now don't go all cat bashing and crap on me, OK?

    September 13, 2011 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
  14. XTheObscure

    If you believe the Bile has any place in public policy, just go ahead and state that you favor a theocracy and oppose secular government.
    Otherwise, it makes no sense to quote Bible verses. As a non-Christian, citing a Bible verse doesn't really affect my stance on any political issue – why should it? Try something else; I haven't seen any compelling arguments against gay marriage.

    September 13, 2011 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • CptMalReynolds

      Thank you, I definitely agree.
      I'm very tired of religion being thrown in to government. Not only do I think it's just a generally bad policy, but it stands in the face of religious freedom. If one religion is allowed to have it's teachings ingrained in to a government than that necessarily gives it more power and rights than are given to other religions.

      September 13, 2011 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • isis1234

      The fact is people have a hard time seperating church and state. Marriage in this case is not a RELIGOUS issue but it is a union of individuals which IS as state issue. The sooner people realize this the happier everyone will be.

      September 13, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mark Yelka

    God says nothing because god is imaginary. People are deluded into believing all sorts of gods. They come and go. Thor, Ra, Jupiter, Jesus, Brahman, etc. Dozens of modern gods. Gods galore.

    At some point, if we're very lucky, we grow up and stop believing in tooth fairies and monsters in the closet... and the pantheon of gods as well.

    September 13, 2011 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
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