Skip to comments.NC House approves bill to put gay marriage amendment on May ballot
Posted on 09/13/2011 3:10:33 PM PDT by NYer
RALEIGH, N.C. --
North Carolina state lawmakers moved closer Monday to giving social conservatives their decade-old wish to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot designed to make clear that marriage is between one man and one woman in the state.
Ten House Democrats voted with nearly all Republicans in favoring of putting on May's primary ballot a question that would make marriage the only domestic legal union recognized in this state. The bill passed 75-42 - above the 72 needed for any constitutional change - and is now headed for debate Tuesday in the Senate, where a similar three-fifths majority would be needed.
Although 30 states have gay marriage bans in their constitutions. North Carolina is the only state in the Southeast without such a marriage limit there. State law already defines marriage between a man and a woman, but amendment supporters argue traditional marriage would be better protected against potential legal challenges by same-sex couples married in six other states and the District of Columbia.
"The question is, are we going to let the people decide, or judicial decisions based on the Supreme Court decisions of a half-dozen other states?" House Majority Leader Paul Stam, R-Wake, said during a floor debate that lasted more than three hours.
Republican legislative leaders said they move up the proposed referendum by six months as a way to try to bring on board more undecided legislators. It's also designed to immunize the GOP from criticisms that having it on the ballot in November 2012 as initially sought was designed to boost turnout among conservative Christians and others opposed to gay marriage.
North Carolina is expected to be a battleground state next year. President Barack Obama won the state's electoral votes in 2008 by only 13,000 votes and North Carolina is hosting the Democratic National Convention. Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue also faces a tough re-election fight next year.
"I think what we're trying to do is respect some who thought this (amendment) was solely a political consideration," House Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, said at a news conference, adding that the bill is "about putting a question to the people."
Opponents in the House who spoke - nearly all of them Democrats - said the referendum didn't matter. They said it was an awful idea that would discourage businesses from coming to North Carolina because executives would view the state as unwelcoming to gay and lesbian employees. Others likened the question to instituting previous constitutional restrictions in North Carolina that once barred interracial marriage. Rep. Deborah Ross, D-Wake, said approving this proposal would run counter to changing attitudes about same-sex relationships.
"Once again we seek to marginalize a group of individuals who only want equality and the same basic human rights afforded to every citizen of this state," said Rep. Susan Fisher, D-Buncombe. "Why do we insist on repeating history?"
Still, Republican leaders managed to bring along nearly 20percent of the House Democrats to support the measure. Rep. Charles Graham, D-Robeson, said he was satisfied with his yes vote after speaking to local residents, many of whom are conservative Christians.
"I had to listen to my constituents," said Graham, in his first term. "I'm satisfied with my vote."
Several hundred amendment supporters rallied Monday on the mall behind the Legislative Building, with religious leaders both black and white urging lawmakers to let the people vote on the gay marriage question after several years in which Democrats in charge of the Legislature blocked votes. Things have changed now that Republicans took control of the House and Senate simultaneously for the first time in 140 years.
"This piece of legislation has been held up and we haven't had the chance to vote on it," the Rev. Patrick Wooden of the Upper Room Church of God in Christ in Raleigh told the crowd. "This state has to protect God's holy institution as it is currently defined in state law."
Rep. Marcus Brandon, D-Guilford, the Legislature's only openly gay member, told colleagues that Christians should be compassionate toward everyone, not judgmental.
"It's not the spirit of Jesus," he said. "It's not even close."
Opponents, meanwhile, brought to the Legislature nearly 50,000postcards urging lawmakers to stop the amendment and scheduled vigils Monday night and their own rally Tuesday.
"I was disappointed that so many legislators regardless of party chose to discriminate (against people) who pose no threat other than wanting to live their lives with honesty, openness and with dignity," Alex Miller with the gay rights group Equality North Carolina said after the vote.
A House committee approved the measure earlier Monday without taking any public comments, angering lawmakers and activists.
"This is no way to conduct constitutional business for the state of North Carolina," House Minority Leader Joe Hackney,D-Orange. "It ought not to be done this way. There ought to be a fair hearing."
Some law professors say the proposal could invalidate domestic violence laws, cause uncertainty with child custody decisions and wills and cancel out domestic partner benefits already instituted by a handful of local governments in the state.
"We are going to be enacting language into the constitutio that no one knows what it means and could hurt citizens of this state and that will take years of needless litigation to resolve the meaning," said Maxine Eichner, a law professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law in Chapel Hill.
The referendum would be held on May 8, 2012. A majority of citizens would have to agree for it to be put in the constitution.
NYS just ignored “the People”....what’s new!!
This is a power-grab by government. This is a fundamental change in the whole of society being imposed by the government. To a great degree, we all must go along with it. We teach our children to respect the laws. Laws express the common values of society.
The Archbishop of New York asked a question we can all ask: Who gave the government the right to do this? Redefining marriage means redefining family and ultimately what it means to be human. This is social engineering.
I say let the people decide. Supporters of this insist that the public supports them now, so why not deny them that choice by cherry-picking for biased judges to rule their way?
You don’t have to be Fred Phelps to realize that this is not a good idea.
“Once again we seek to marginalize a group of individuals who only want equality”
Then why are they fighting to ensure that marriage does not become a requirement for civil partnership benefits? Hmm?
It was never about ‘equality’ but everything about special rights for their relationship. They don’t want to be treated equally, they want their relationships to be elevated above everyone elses.
Worked out pretty well in CA...
Errancy of which vote, just not sure which vote you mean? I can check your link in a bit, running on empty with a long list still today...
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I hope the leftists in NC are still way, way outnumbered by rational rightminded conservatives. I would think this will have a good outcome; even in CA people always vote "NO!!!" on same sex "marriage", every time they get a chance.
I bet it passes 65-55% for the amendment. Virginia only passed its amendment by 57% in 2006, but part of that was the super-strict nature of that particular amendment I think (I hope it doesn’t come back to bite us on the butt). If it wasn’t so strict, it would have passed by more. NC would be wise not to try to pass a strict an amendment as Virginia perhaps, especially 5 years after Va passed theirs.
This will pass overwhelmingly. The Gaystapo was fighting to keep it off the ballot, but the new Republican State Senate and HoR knew there’s no downside, for them, in approving the referendum.
Of course, it will be fought in the courts, but at least the people will have spoken. And maybe this will bring out the rock-ribbed conservatives in droves to vote in the primaries. It won’t matter for President, by May, but it could make a difference for Senate/House and state offices.
Excellent “boots on the ground” report!
The homeschool associations all over the state had notices out for participants to contact their representatives, and they will be active at the polls, as well. With a baby arriving in January, I don’t know what I’ll be up for in May, other than voting ;-).
I worked every election for my state senator and state representative for several years, but they both retired last time, and I haven’t been in touch with the new guys, although I know they’re solid conservative votes. The county party will call me to work on the state judges races, at least; the teens can get some community service hours in.
(I like your tagline, too....lol.)
many many many north east elitist liberals have been moving into NC especially around Ashville
still for it pass I just cannot see as the churches are strong, problem is that there is a rat Gov and maybe the voter fraud will be rife.
What is the % the mentally disturbed need to get for it to pass anyone?
We have several reptiles at home, and none of them makes a sound, other than rustling in the leaves, for the tropical type, or digging in the sand, for the desert-dwellers.
I’m sure the black churches will get out the vote too.
Here is a message for all those with mental sexual problems.
If you want what you call marriage then stay in MA where the people were denied a vote but if you comes down here especially FL then don’t expect to have us think you have marriage.
Better still live a normal life, seek help.
for it to pass I can see the black churches and well getting out the vote .
All states need this vote and that includes letting MA and NY vote on this issue instead of shopping for homo judges like in CA
Got your point! I’m not on the email lists for the Church of God or the African Methodist Episcopals, but we had some participants in our homeschoolers’ Scout troops from those churches, and they are no more interested in homosexual “marriage” being forced on their churches than I am. They’ll be getting out the vote, and they are very well organized.
I knew exactly why you welcome your repitilian overlords!!
Plus they probably are easy to feed...
A few peas, a few crickets ... and no, “I don’t like this!”
I figure their goal was all about having the government enforce approval for them from folks who would never approve of their own free will(most obviously, Bible-believing Christians).
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