On Monday, the North Carolina House voted to enshrine a ban on gay marriage in the state’s constitution. The bill will now go to the Senate for approval.
North Carolina has a law defining marriage as being between a man and a woman, but supporters of the new amendment say making the ban part of the state constitution will make legal challenges more difficult.
Critics of the measure have charged that the Republican-led legislature are scheduling the referendum for November 2012 to boost conservative turnout during the Presidential election.
North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis (R) has said he is “reasonably confident” the referendum will go to voters in May, which would coincide with the Republican primary.
The amendment would protect businesses that offer benefits to domestic partners but threatens government employees whose partners enjoy the same benefits.
According to recent polling, 61% of North Carolinians say gay marriage should stay illegal, but 55% would vote against a constitutional amendment.
If the measure succeeds, North Carolina would be the thirty-first state to prohibit same-sex marriage in its constitution.
- That Was Fast! North Carolina Anti-Marriage Amendment Speeds to House Floor | News | The Advocate (thesexreport.org)
- Last state in Southeast without ban, GOP-led North Carolina Legislature nearing gay marriage vote (miamiherald.typepad.com)
- NC Legislature returns for gay marriage amendment (charlotte.news14.com)
- North Carolina House Panel Approves Anti-Gay Marriage Amendment, Sends to House Floor (towleroad.com)
- North Carolina Gears Up For The Next Gay Marriage Battle [Rights And Rites] (jezebel.com)