Fact-check: New marriage amendment not "exactly the same" as current law

Posted September 12, 2011

House Majority Leader Skip Stam opened today’s debate on the proposed marriage amendment with the following statement: “The measure we have before you today is exactly the same policy about marriage as was adopted by this assembly in 1996. That is, there’ll be no same sex marriages performed in North Carolina, and those performed outside North Carolina will not be recognized. There’s no difference in the policy.”

That’s only partially true.

In terms of “marriage,” he's correct. Current NC law says “Marriages, whether created by common law, contracted, or performed outside of North Carolina, between individuals of the same gender are not valid in North Carolina."

But current NC law doesn’t address the issue of civil unions, an option many gay and lesbian North Carolinians say could give them some, if not all, of the rights of marriage, like hospital visitation, inheritance and child custody rights.

The new amendment would outlaw civil unions as well as marriage between people of the same sex.

As Stam said today, “What this is saying is, no matter what you call it, if it’s an intimate relationship connected with the family, the only relationship that’s recognized in NC is that of one man and one woman.”

A PPP poll last week found that a narrow majority of North Carolinians (52%) favor some legal recognition for same-sex couples: 28% favor civil unions, and 24% favor full marriage rights. An Elon University poll of citizens (not voters) in February also found more than half support some legal recognition of same-sex couples. A Civitas poll in August did not ask about civil unions. 

Watch the debate for yourself here.


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  • faperrigo Sep 14, 2011

    chgogrl: You got your facts wrong. Read the bill.

  • OnlyTheBestWillDo Sep 13, 2011

    I love this State. Let the people vote.

  • blondton13 Sep 13, 2011

    I'm embarrassed to live in this state.

  • KCfromNC Sep 13, 2011

    So this is mostly an attempt to invalidate unions performed in other states? I wonder what will happen if other states start arbitrarily saying marriages performed in NC are invalid to return the favor? You travel to VA and get in a car accident and you can't visit your spouse in the hospital because your NC marriage isn't considered valid there. What a mess.

    Seems like an invitation for the federal government to step in and fix the problem - and there's no guarantee that the fix will be what opponents of interracial, uh, I mean gay marriage are looking for. Perhaps a case of win the battle, lose the war is in the works here.

  • dwntwnboy Sep 13, 2011

    This is the "smaller" government that they wanted? No Thank You!! I'll take the big-stay-out-of-my-bedroom government any day :-)

  • ChgoGrl Sep 13, 2011

    So this amendment would take away any rights to partner health benefits currently offered by many coporations in the Triangle. Who's to say what a company chooses to offer or not? Sounds like big government intervention to me to mandate what a company can offer if they so choose. It would also not allow hospital visits, Powers of Attorney, joint property ownership. If anyone thinks this is ok, that is craziness!

  • BlueDevilFanatic Sep 13, 2011

    An all time high unemployment for NC, our education system now making us #49 out of 50 states in terms of spending on our youths education, and the legislators choose to spend their time and our resources, ie tax dollars, on denying rights to it's citizens. Where did all the promises of fiscal reform and job growth that brought all the new Republican legislators into office go?...they went where they always go, out the window. This ammendment is a scare tactic to help ensure a win in November. Why else have it on the ballot in May? Because the November ballot will be a Presidential election and thus a larger turn out where they have a much better chance of having the amendment struck down. It's all about scare tactics and money...money in the Republican pockets. When one group loses a right, then everyone should be afraid. Who is next, what right becomes a target next? We elected these individuals to represent the people, not take Biblical scriptuer out of context and use as pr

  • Makami Sep 13, 2011

    @caryzoo- BRAVO!!!

  • caryzoo Sep 13, 2011

    Don't our elected officials have anything better to do with their time? This is unbelievable. With this state in such bad financial shape and with such high unemployment it is an insult to citizens that they would spend so much time on this, at this time. I imagine they know how badly they have hurt the state in regards to its finances and jobs, so they buy their head in the sand and ignore the chaos they have created and forge on with their petty, little PERSONAL ambitions. How soon can we get them out?