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. Jazzzzzzzz

    @ Nicki
    I do hear what your saying, but I will go by Gods word all the time, sorry

    September 13, 2011 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark Yelka

      Which god? Vishnu, Allah, Jesus? Or one if the older gods: Ra, Thor, Odin?

      There are many, many gods. Or, should I say: many, many delusions. With an imaginary god, you can "go by" most anything you want.

      September 13, 2011 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Tania

    No takers?

    September 13, 2011 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. clearmind

    I didnt mean to make this about race, just giving a personal testmony about legal marriage and God`s joining of two people.

    September 13, 2011 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
  4. nicky

    @jazzz if u do then u would realize god loves everybody wether they are gay lesbian or straight. And ppl really yall are havin arguements about "begin gay" god wants everbody to be "gay" the word means happy get a dictionary!

    September 13, 2011 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Tania

    Why doesn't anyone offer their sacraficial son for the salvation of my soul?!?

    September 13, 2011 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ctlfreak

      You can have mine, hes been talking back so according to gods law I must take him out to be stoned by the elders anyway

      September 13, 2011 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
  6. clearmind

    @pastor I appreciate your opinion, although because I had an interracial marriage does not qualify as evil ~ get ahold of youself man! I am a good man I love the Lord and everyday try to do right. when we stand before our God and HE tells me I have to pay for the sin my marriage was I`ll take it like a man praising His name all the while.

    September 13, 2011 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
  7. clearmind

    @jazzzzzz thank you! I believe you would ((((hug)))) back. i would love to see her face when she found out I am on this site now!

    September 13, 2011 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jazzzzzzzz

      She would be grinning from ear to ear! (smile)
      LMAO , yup she would indeed !

      September 13, 2011 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Geekygirl

    Hey I'm a student journalist, do you think this article reflects some foundations of American Government?

    September 13, 2011 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
  9. banasy©

    Marriage is validated by man and his laws.
    Holy Matrimony is validated by God.

    I wish, wish, wish that people would not confuse the two; my husband and I were married by a civil ceremony. My sister was married in a church.
    Is my married invalid?
    Is my sisters *more* valid?
    Keep the two separate, please.
    If a church does not want to marry two people, it does not have to...
    But the laws of MAN should not discriminate.
    And that's what this is, no matter what kind of language one puts on it....

    September 13, 2011 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      you are correct, I believe the 2 should be seperated even more... you see your sister made a vow infront of god, you signed a paper for legal benefits.... two totally different goals/values

      September 13, 2011 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
  10. when

    Moses married a black lady. All you ppl out there telling atheists to read the Bible, you forgot something. Only God can open their eyes to the truth. They love to cite scriptures and take them out of context and pretend they understand. Can a person find God without humbling themselves first. un believers are extremely prideful and feel superior in intelligence to Christians. "Mankind's intelligence is foolishness to God." I always find it interesting that no one ever brings up the fact that there's more than 250 specific prophesies in the O.T. concerning the Christ. The only one to fullfill them "to the letter" was Christ Jesus. And hey, He was written about by more than 9 non-Christian authors OUTSIDE of the Bible and alive during the 1st century. Pray for All the lost's eyes to be opened before it's to late.

    September 13, 2011 at 9:55 pm | Report abuse |
  11. dwayne

    Thats why God wont bless America,because Everything the Bible says NOT to do,the Politicians DO! This Country has turn its back on God!

    September 13, 2011 at 9:55 pm | Report abuse |
  12. banasy©

    No, Geekygirl, I do not.

    September 13, 2011 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Tania

    Wow...isn't that a funny idea, banasy? The laws of man do not discriminate. Yet, we find it okay for the laws which rule the "faithful" have the right to do so. What kind of Christian thought is that? I do agree with you. If a church does not want to marry two people, so be it. That is religious freedom.

    September 13, 2011 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
  14. HarvardLaw92

    NC, meet federal court. Get acquainted.

    September 13, 2011 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • BretLA

      indeed, a marriage of sorts in and of itself. likely long term.

      September 14, 2011 at 6:45 am | Report abuse |
  15. ZysPsyk

    marriage ban for everyone would be better..what a scam.

    September 13, 2011 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
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