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. Ian

    Look ! face it ( to the less tolerant self righteous Christians) your Jesus was gay, he hung out with 12 dudes, his best friend was a woman, and the Romans caught him and Judas kissing in the garden.
    I think he would approve of gay marriage !
    Even if you don't agree it's nobody's business but the couple involved.

    September 13, 2011 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • thetruth

      THAT WAS FUNNY BUT SO NOT TRUE....HOPE THINGS CONTINUE TO GO WELL WITH YOU AND URS...MOCKING GOD...DONT BE SURPRISED!!!

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

      The truth believes he has his ticket punched for the end-show. Good luck with that. Seriously...caps lock button. Even a 5 year old can find it. Not much can be done about the knuckle dragging, but you could at least not sound like they do if you would hit that caps lock button. Call your mom down to the basement, she'll help you find it if you are lost.

      September 13, 2011 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pert ner Suppertime

      Jesus was NOT Gay!! I can't believe you would actually say that! I feel sorry for you on Judgement Day unless you ask GOD for forgiveness.

      September 13, 2011 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Emma Peel

      He didn't SAY Jesus was gay!!!!!!

      September 14, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  2. thetruth

    THIS COUNTRY HAS GOTTEN SOOOO FREAKIN WEAK..ALWAYS AFRAID OF WHAT PEOPLE WILL SAY..WHO CARES!!! THIS COUNTRY WAS BUILT ON FAMILY..AND CHRISTIAN VALUES...

    September 13, 2011 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Don

      This country is built from European immigrants that were looking to find a land free of religious persecution, where were you during history class in K thru 8?

      September 13, 2011 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ctlfreak

      Hey the truth! Aside from not being able to find that pesky caps lock button, I bet you didnt know that Ben Franklin said, "Lighthouses are more helpful than churches." and "In the affairs of the world, men are saved, not by faith, but by the want of it." and "I have found Christian dogma unintelligible. Early in life, I absenteed myself from Christian assemblies." Lets not forget the whole separation of church and state thing. Sounds like a chri$tian nation to me!

      September 13, 2011 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      that comment is SOOOO 100% RIGHT... I surely don't care what other people or states think of me following my religious beliefs... God is who I need on my side!.. Afterlife is eternity.. we're only here for what 80 yrs?

      September 13, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Derweissengel

      Nothin like SHOUTING it from the mountaintop.

      September 13, 2011 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pert ner Suppertime

      Amen Brother! Us Christians have got to get together an KICK Liberals out of Politics. They are sending the USA down the toilet.

      September 13, 2011 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • sleepytime

      @Pert ner Suppertime: Psst... most of those "liberals in politics" are christian. This entire country is infested with you people.

      September 13, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ozymandias71

      "THIS COUNTRY WAS BUILT ON FAMILY..AND CHRISTIAN VALUES..." Bull. This country was built on slavery, child labor, women as indentured servants, persecuting native Americans – the list goes on and on... and these are the 'CHRISTIAN VALUES' you're yelling about? Lame.

      September 13, 2011 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Whatever

    It's interesting that everyone is taking the stanse that this is a matter of illegalizing gay marriage, where as the residents of North Carolina could turn down the ban. The government and some readers seem to already believe that the public and citizens are against it and should enforce laws the public is against. Doing that way is why we ask why are things so messed up. Majority rules is how it is set up, anyone aposed to this is against how America was meant to be set up. Not the rich minority that have politics to put them in a place of making all the rules. This is what is suppose to make America. Freedom to vote.

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

      I would like to vote on your right to vote, get married, to consume alcohol at the age of 21, and to fart in public. Can we get that on the ballot?

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

      Geez, use a dictionary much? Please tell me this is not the result of North Carolina education, although it would explain your complete lack of understanding of civics AND English.

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

      There is no other group targeted by hostile ballot measures more than gays and lesbians.

      September 13, 2011 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
  4. judged41

    Yay! I love NC. Btw many of us are northerners who relocated here for many good reasons. This just adds to the lwonderful ist. Like the song says, "Nothing could be finer..."

    September 13, 2011 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • sleepytime

      Trampling on others' lives is something you think is part of a "wonderful list"? Yikes. I'm glad you no long live in the same part of the country as me.

      September 13, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • ashley

      Morals, Values, Traditions, and for the real fun stuff like fishin holes, fourwheelers, BBQ and good old gospel! Love it! And we surely aren't trying to change a thing!

      September 13, 2011 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. thetruth

    IM GAY...GAY MARRIAGE IS NOT HONORED BY GOD..PERIOD..SORRY..GAYS WHINE TO FREAKING MUCH..MAN AND WOMAN!!!

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

      That button is really hard to see, its to the left of the A key. One day you will find it. Anyway Gay is against god, thankfully for gay people he doesn't exist tho so nothing to worry about.

      September 13, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
  6. when

    @Duane You are absolutely correct! And it's not just the Po li ti cians. America has turned it's back on God. We who STUDY the Bible, knew this time was coming. Just more prophesy coming true!

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

      sadly... true... Same discusion yesterday I pointed out our money says "In God We Trust' and an atheist pointed out to me that our 1$ has 2 pagan symbols on it (the pyramid, and all seeing eye) but when i googled pagan symbol on money their was a website i came across, jesus for savior i think.. anyway i was blown away shocked and amazed at what i read... this country was made for doom

      September 13, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ozymandias71

      So Gay Marriage hastens 'the Day of the Lord'? Shouldn't you be cheering for Gay Marriage then?

      September 13, 2011 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse |
  7. heather

    Waaaaaugh! i am trying to post something very sad and evil the lutheran church did to one of their own during 9/11 & this stupid blog won't let me post it.

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

    Another ploy to get all the Ugly Hateful Republican Yahoo's out to the Polls in Droves. It works everytime. Jesus never spoke against Gays only Southern "Christians" who know nothing of Jesus the Prince of Peace.

    September 13, 2011 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
  9. thetruth

    I AGREE NOTHING COULD BE FINER....ITS JUST NOT OKAY..AMERICA IS GETTING WEAKER AND WEAKER BECAUSE WERE TO WORRIED ABOUT HURTING SOMEONE FEELINGS!!! WHO CARES TELL THE TRUTH...AMERICA WAS BUILT ON MAN AND WOMAN AND FAMILY!!!!!

    September 13, 2011 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Whatsapoint

    There is no other group in American society has been targeted by hostile ballot measures more than gays and lesbians,

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

      Whoa...slow your roll, buddy. I'm on your side on this argument, but seriously? Maybe blacks in this country have had it a smidgen rougher? Maybe?

      September 13, 2011 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mateo

    See that Caps Lock button? It's use keeps you from sounding like a screaming banshee mouth-breather on the internet.

    September 13, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
  12. thetruth

    GOD LOVES US ALL...ITS THE SIN THAT HE HATES...THATS WHY THERES GRACE AND MERCY SO WE CAN CHANGE!!! THATS WHY HE DIED ON THE CROSS...!!!!

    September 13, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ctlfreak

      Yes cause sending your son (who is also part you mind you) to die on a cross so people wouldn't have to make burnt offerings and flesh offerings unto you anymore makes way more sense! It amazes me how anyone can believe this dribble, must be nice to live in these fantasy worlds. When I sign up for church will they remove the brain there or send me to a hospital for the procedure?

      September 13, 2011 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Tania

    @Browntree: perhaps you should read my question again...oh, wait. do you think the Book of Leviticus is part of the NT? I was looking for the words written in red...from the mouth of Christ. Anything on gays?

    September 13, 2011 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mateo

      I'm guessing Mr. Browntree also ignores all the wonderful teachings strewn throughtou Leviticus.

      September 13, 2011 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ozymandias71

      A fun thing that I do when a 'Christian' starts spouting Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 is to ask them point blank to quote another verse from Leviticus. No joke – they'll stand there in shocked silence, hem and haw, and when I (again) ask them to quote another verse from Leviticus, they mumble under their breath and walk away. It's fun to do!

      September 13, 2011 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
  14. thetruth

    LMBO....I LOVE CAPS...SO MUCH LOVE HERE...DONT BE MAD AT ME..IM A WOMAN THAT LOVES WOMAN BUT I KNOW GOD DOESNT HONOR MY LIFESTYLE!!!

    September 13, 2011 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ctlfreak

      Wait a min, your female? "Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law" (1 Corinthians 14:34).

      "Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence" (1 Timothy 2:11-12). Head your silly gods advice and STFU

      September 13, 2011 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Tania

    @thetruth: So you are the good Christian who will offer your son to marry a lesbian?

    September 13, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
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