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. Tania

    @ When: Very true, your remarks about taking verse out of context. So let's keep it pure. Where in the N.T. did Jesus Christ say gay marriage is a sin? I guess I missed that passage.

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

      But he said that all the OT rules apply. See there is always a way to get what you want from the bible. To quote a great man, Science flies people to the moon, religion flies them into buildings.

      September 13, 2011 at 10:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • jonathan ruelas

      Jesus doesn't need to come down or write on paper that two men don't belong in bed pumpin, and humpin each other. Too bad morons like you in the world need just that!!!!!

      September 13, 2011 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • browntree

      @Tania: Perhaps you should open your Bible more. This is one of the most famous concerning the gay lifestyle: Leviticus 20:13
      If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

      September 13, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • E

      browntree, that is in the OLD testament, not the NEW testament. You should read the rest of Leviticus and let us know how many of the other rules are applicable today. When you follow all of the rules of Leviticus, then you can have a slight sense of validity in that quote.

      September 13, 2011 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paslm73

      Romans 1:26-28
      King James Version (KJV)
      26For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

      27And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

      28And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

      September 13, 2011 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Not sure if the book of Romans is in your bible, but it's pretty clear. Try reading your bible.

      September 13, 2011 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ozymandias71

      @Browntree – Murdering Gays in God's name? How nice. /sarcasm

      Can you quote another verse from Leviticus? One that doesn't have anything to do with Gay men (since Lesbians are apparently all right since the Bible doesn't mention them).

      September 13, 2011 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Kylie

    I personly don't agree with same-marriage, but I think we should let other people make there own choices about what they want to do with their life.

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

    Next time North Carolina and the rest of the South wants to secede, I say, let 'em go. They belong with the Taliban and christians who want to party like it's the 13th Century.

    September 13, 2011 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ian

      Well said

      September 13, 2011 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • J.R.

      Michelle Bachman & Rick Santorum: proof that terrorists aren't just derived from the Muslim faith.

      September 13, 2011 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jim

    And this too, shall fall before the 14th Amendment

    September 13, 2011 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
  5. sck

    Don't Tread On Me, indeed.

    September 13, 2011 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
  6. banasy©

    Why does it have to be the NT?
    People ate so fond of using the Bible, et al, to back up their ideas of gay marriage....except Pastor T. Bernadino quoted that same Bible against interracial marriage, (of which I fully support, btw, just as I do gay marriage), and all of a sudden, the Bible's wrong?
    Can't have it both ways, people.
    If one is going to use the Bible as their defense, then every passage taken *out* of it should be valid, not just the NT.
    If one's going to cheery-pick, the Pastor's argument is just as valid as the ones you are making, ashley.
    I'm throwing down the BS flag!

    September 13, 2011 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      the problem is there are false prophets... many and many in high places who want us to think they are a Godly figure but are only destroying us(AS a NATION) Taking scriptures from all books(not just the KJV but the books made after, that changed the word) and taking part of a scripture for your benefit, or explaining a scripture to people that you cannot justify(like pastor b) are great examples!... and I believe all the bible... not just some of it

      September 13, 2011 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ozymandias71

      banasy – fundies like 'ashley' willfully ignore history – the Bible was used to support such fun concepts as racial discrimination, denying women the right to vote, or to own their own property (look up 'coverature laws'), genocide of Native Americans, persecuting religious minorities – the list goes on and on, and it's information freely available on the Internet, but fundies simply refuse to look at it – or they'll do exactly what you said; say it was wrong to use the Bible to support discrimination THEN but it's just fine to use it NOW.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      Ozy you should know i am open to being educated and not closed minded at all.. But the bible says NOWHERE that interacial couples./marriage is wrong.. infact moses married an ethiopian woman and was not challenged by God... As for women, perhaps there are scriptures you interpret differently from me but i do surrender and obey my husband. As for history since I am one not to believe and research, why dont you investigate the scientific research of sodom and ghommorah, and see that scientist located the 3 cities burned to ash, and the remaining residue proves a 'burn' like non ever seen, not fire nor lava... perhaps you will be educated tonight.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:37 pm | Report abuse |
  7. DR

    I hav eyet to find a single person who I truly believe obey's "God's law" 100%. BTW depending on which holy book you read that could be any number of "laws". 10 Commandments? I know more people who claim to be Christian that mutilate those Commandments all the time. Especially married men who cheat on their spouses. How many people here haven't coveted something or someone else? Marriage is a contract- nothing more. Amazing how history isn't taught in America. People have been forced to marry for centuries in order for countries to form alliances- where was God's Law (what does that even mean?) then? It wasn't. Read your history and smarten up. And I dare anyone to show me God. Anyone. I'd like to ask Him a few questions. Yes, I believe in God- not in the Bible (written by man, not God, incase there's any confusion) or in the church. But I have yet to see Him. He'd be so disappointed that people show so much intolerance when His only Son accepted and loved everyone no matter whst.

    September 13, 2011 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ozymandias71

      Here's a fun one – the Ten Commandments clearly says 'Do not commit false witness against your neighbor'... but 'Christians' will gleefully lie, distort, misinform and commit slander against their Gay and Lesbian neighbors. There is not ONE valid reason to discriminate against LGBT Americans – it all boils down to 'I don't like Gays and Lesbians, and I'll use the Bible to prop up my bigotry.'

      September 13, 2011 at 11:16 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Patricksday

    Human Rights are not up to the State to decide, what if Slavery were put on the Ballot would the majority of voted for it? You cant Vote for peoples Human Rights, and NO YOU CANT marry your Pig or your Chicken, they have to be adults who can sign legal papers.

    September 13, 2011 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • sck

      Agreed. 30 NC congresspeople missed 9th grade Civics.

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

    Ha! Thanks for sharing that quote, Ctlfreak! Still waiting for an NC Christian to offer up that son...easy to sit and judge. Difficult to even play with the idea that it is good for your straight son to marry a lesbian because your God would think it's the right thing to do. Where oh where did the loud mouth Christians go?

    September 13, 2011 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
  10. clearmind

    @banasy lol I love that throwing down the bs flag!!

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

    I blame the tea party.

    September 13, 2011 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jeff Frank ( R - Ohio ) "Confuscious Say"

    Woman that fly upside down, have crack up.

    September 13, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
  13. thetruth


    September 13, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ctlfreak

      Too bad your god can't help you with finding the caps lock button. You and your pathetic beliefs are a freaking joke...Magical sky wizard dictating your life!! What would the world be without religion!! Prolly still have the twin towers!!

      September 13, 2011 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • J.R.

      You are what's wrong with this country, a bunch of delusional morons who are too blind & brainwashed to see your own bigoted, hateful, f***d up mindset. Maybe if you'd read that damn bible – great piece of fiction, huh? – you'd see it's a disgusting pile of junk WRITTEN BY MAN to control mankind. Nothing else! SCIENCE before religion, thank you!

      September 13, 2011 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • AndrewNY1988

      I have a read a lot of your posts and I must say it is hard to take your seriously when you can't spell words correctly or use correct punctuation. (i.e. its should be it's; were should be the contraction we're[we are]; that last sentence married, should not be in the past tense) Please put your Bible down and pick up an English textbook. Learning how to use the language correctly will help you out more in your life than the Bible and God will.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse |
  14. JFK

    “The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.”― John F. Kennedy. Just remember – you could be next.

    September 13, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      Good thing gay marriage is not and never has been a 'right' but an abomination.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
  15. db


    September 13, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
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