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Chapel Hill to consider cellphone, same-sex marriage bans

Posted March 12, 2012
Updated March 13, 2012

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— The Chapel Hill Town Council will meet Monday to consider a proposed ban on nearly all cellphone use by drivers and a resolution opposing a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage.

Town leaders have been considering a cellphone ban for two years, but whether they have the authority to enforce it has been contested.

A letter from an assistant state attorney general stating that the council lacks that authority divided council members on how to move forward at a meeting in February.

"We would pass a law we have been told by the attorney general we do not have the authority to enact," Councilman Matt Czajkowski said.

The town attorney said the Attorney General's Office made its decision without seeing all the details of the proposed ban. The attorney said the ban could be challenged in court, but he thinks it could hold its own.

"I think it will be determined to be the right thing to do for the state of North Carolina," Councilman Jim Ward said.

Councilman Gene Pease said he didn't like that the proposal went so far as to ban using hands-free devices.

"I can't quite get my arms around going to a full ban. I just don't quite understand it," he said.

Councilwoman Penny Rich expressed full support for the measure at a September meeting.

"It is a small town with a lot of people on cell phones in cars," she said. "(It's a) a big, big concern."

cell phones driving Cellphone use, same-sex marriage on Chapel Hill's agenda

If the proposal is approved, it would be the first of its kind passed by a municipality in North Carolina. 

The proposal makes cellphone use behind the wheel a secondary offense, meaning an officer must first stop a vehicle for another reason before issuing a citation for violating the ban.

North Carolina state law prohibits drivers age 18 and under from using cellphones and also makes texting while driving illegal when a car is in motion. Ten states and the District of Columbia have bans on using hand-held cellphones while driving.

The town council will also consider a resolution encouraging people to vote against a measure to ban same-sex marriage.

The measure would amend the state constitution to outlaw any legal union other than marriage between a man and woman. Current state law already defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

North Carolinians will vote on the proposed amendment May 8.


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  • brassy Mar 13, 2012

    May 8? What's on May 8? Maybe more people would show up and vote if it wasn't such a huge secret.

  • dumbhick Mar 13, 2012

    @dcatz -> "sausagefest"? You waging a war on men? Would that make it self defense for the fellows?

    It isn't a "war on women", it's just a bunch of agitators scraping the bottom of the evolutionary barrel for votes.

    War on Drugs, War on Traditional Marriage, War on Christians, War on Peace ....... sheeze

  • Uhavenoclu Mar 12, 2012

    Do you even live in Chapel Hill? College students usually can't afford cars and parking at UNC is extremely difficult - all of them use bikes to get from A to B!

    Are you from another planet?..Most UNC Chapel Hill students get money from mommy and daddy,and drive around in the fancy cars,talking and texting on their phones while driving because that is how mommy does it at the red lights and taked 5 minutes to move when the light changes green..If there is a green light for chapel hill you stop at a red light at every corner 10 times in a row..So I can see why many text and talk on their phones.
    Change the light sync and make all the lights one way green then you won't have cell phone use.

  • carrboroyouth Mar 12, 2012

    "most people ride bikes for excercise and recreation, not to get from point A to B (that is merely a side result)." BigUNC Fan

    Do you even live in Chapel Hill? College students usually can't afford cars and parking at UNC is extremely difficult - all of them use bikes to get from A to B!

  • Hammerhead Mar 12, 2012

    Oh yeah, I commute by bike quite often, UNCFan.

  • Hammerhead Mar 12, 2012

    "Instead of banning cell phones, start giving tickets to all of the bikes that don't follow simple traffic laws."

    Wouldn't both me. I ride a lot and it ticks me off too. Why are you so angry?

  • Hammerhead Mar 12, 2012

    "In that neither will be followed? I agree."

    Perhaps, but it will be followed by people with common sense and don't want a ticket, and those who care about public saftey in general. Like me.

  • HateIsNOTaFamilyValue Mar 12, 2012

    Can anyone give a specific example of how gay marriage harms NC or America in any way?

    Please only logical, factual and rational responses.

  • raleighite71 Mar 12, 2012

    To be honest I didn't really read the article because I don't care what happens in chapel hill. However,I must say just looking at the headline I don't why they would be against same sex couples having cell phones.

  • BigUNCFan Mar 12, 2012

    Oh yeah, WRAL needs to stop trying to stir the pot with their intentionally misleading headlines.