NC House passes marriage amendment bill

Posted September 11, 2011
Updated December 14, 2011

— The North Carolina House of Representatives voted Monday to put a ban on same-sex marriage before voters next year. After 3 1/2 hours of debate, 75 legislators voted in favor of the bill which would ask voters to amend the state constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman. 

Rally protests same-sex marriage ban Rally protests same-sex marriage ban

Several Democrats joined the Republican majority in backing the bill. Voters could see it on the ballot during the May primary election.

Opponents in the House said it didn't matter the date of the referendum — they said it was an awful idea that would send the state backward and likened the question to instituting Jim Crow restrictions that prevented interracial marriage. Rep. Deborah Ross, D-Wake, said approving this proposal would run counter to changing attitudes about same-sex relationships.

"We've put discrimination in our constitution before and if you vote for this amendment ... you will be doing it against the tide of history and against future generations," Ross said.

Before the action moved inside, hundreds of social conservatives rallied on Halifax Mall to urge legislators to back the bill. Same-sex marriage advocates planned a candlelight vigil Monday night and a counterprotest Tuesday on Raleigh's Bicentennial Mall.

"It hurts me personally. It makes me angry. I don't think there's a need for it," said Lisa Mayer, who attended the candlelight vigil.

Rep. Marcus Brandon, the only openly gay lawmaker in the state House of Representatives, said the vote was "hurtful."

"I don't think people will ever understand how personal that is for you to be called an abomination," Brandon said.

State law already bans same-sex marriage, and opponents of a constitutional amendment contend that it is unnecessary. North Carolina is the only state in the Southeast without such a provision in its constitution.

Amendment supporters argue putting it in the constitution would help the state against challenges from same-sex couples married in the six states that allow the unions.

Supporters of same-sex marriage rights have defined the issue in civil rights terms. Advocacy group Equality NC delivered more than 50,000 postcards to the legislative offices Monday, hoping to convince lawmakers that their constituents oppose the move and see it as discriminatory.  

Alex Miller, interim director of Equality NC, said putting the measure on the ballot would be inherently unfair. "You do not put the rights of a minority group up for a majority vote." 

Anthony Pugliese, a gay man who moved to North Carolina with his partner and two daughters, said, "Anything that affects or limits the rights of one group over another is definitely something I consider civil rights."

Crystal Amanchukwu, a supporter of the ban, failed to see the connection. "What we have gone through as a black people is because of our biology, because of our race. And the other action is because of behavior, because of personal choices," she said.

Robert Williams agreed. "For them (homosexuals) to say that it is a choice, it's not a choice. They are not born that way," Williams said.

"I don't think the state should sanction something I consider perversion," added Cindy Lassiter.


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  • jasonconaway6969 Sep 15, 2011


  • dcfloyd73 Sep 14, 2011

    population 14K - know we're partners. Hell! Even our 90 year old neighbor across the street knows and is fine with it - AND SHE'S FROM FLORIDA!!!! We are grateful for all of our family and friends who love us and we whole heartedly return the love. What kills me is how our General Assembly feels the need to "bring this up at such a crucial time" and how "65% of voters will swing to appove this vote." I for one beg to differ. I understand the need to "protect marriage" in its "true form." But DO NOT use religion to back your political agenda - especially when it's full of hate, ignorance, intolerance and plain ol' DUH HUH!" My mama and daddy and grandma taught us to love everyone. It's a shame that there are people in the NC Senate and House who want to play Hitler. AND DO NOT - yes, I'm going to say it - bring up the race issue and say that this matter does not correlate. In one way, yes those that shout this are correct because of the way this country treated African Americans and it

  • dcfloyd73 Sep 14, 2011

    I have a very loving family, granted when I came out things were not so glorious. But my staunch Republican dad and my moderate mother have accepted my partner and I. One of my sisters accepted my lifestyle with open arms and my youngest sister had a hard time with it. Now she and her husband could not be more loving and accepting of what I am and who my other half is. My aunt and grandmother are in the same boat. We could not be luckier. My partner and I have been together for ten years and the future shows us together until we die. I understand that our community may not at times paint such a pleasant picture of what the "typical gay" may or should look like, but we ALL have our unique characteristics that make us PEOPLE. As they say with TV shows, "If you don't like it, change the channel." But I / we have so many people in our lives - not only from NC - who love us and who don't play the whole "Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin" card. Our neighbors here in little ol' Dunn - population

  • validpoint Sep 14, 2011

    My question: How can it be denying a "right" if it was never a "right" to begin with.

  • silverwomon Sep 14, 2011

    No matter what side of the issue you are on it doesn't hide the fact that this is a colossal waste of taxpayer money. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are being spent on this amendment that could be going towards jobs, education or hurricane recovery. Both parties should be ashamed and we as voters should start to demand better!

  • RM24 Sep 13, 2011

    Anyone with half a brain knows none of you are in favor of this ban to "protect the kids." You are in favor of promoting your faith and your ideology, simple as that. Ericsmeyer

    Unfortunately you may think you know how every single person thinks, I believe that people with half a brain can figure out you don't know everything about how everyone thinks/believes!

  • RM24 Sep 13, 2011

    But trying to deny that something exists, or deny there is a problem, your kids will look back in 20 years and think what a moronic bigot mommy and daddy were.
    September 13, 2011 1:01 p.m.
     Ignore  Report abuse

    That is a poor argument. And as I see it your the main one sterotyping people and name calling. You can scream biggot or any other name you choose and your never going to convince the worlsd your opinion is the only one that counts.

  • ericsmayer Sep 13, 2011

    gmcpilot it's sad you cannot even do a quick google search to fact-check your own misinformation. The highest prevalence of HIV is in black women. Would you advocate banning them from marriage? I don't think Crystal Amanchukwu from the article would like that too much. Her relatives fought for her civil liberties (or, agenda as you like to call it) and already won. Although I'm sure many of you would like to see that decision reversed as well.

  • ericsmayer Sep 13, 2011

    Please stop trying to use your kids as human shields. Anyone with half a brain knows none of you are in favor of this ban to "protect the kids." You are in favor of promoting your faith and your ideology, simple as that. You claim that you must ban gay marriage because somehow some gay person will teach your child that's the way to live! Using that logic, you must also ban the internet as it teaches your children about pornography, you must ban TV it teaches your children to be violent, you must ban Hannukkah and Ramadan since it teaches your children non-Christian values.

    You see, there is a big difference between "teaching" which is what you should do at home, and exposing children to facts and realities they will face in the real world. Teach what you want at home, nobody is preventing you from doing so. But trying to deny that something exists, or deny there is a problem, your kids will look back in 20 years and think what a moronic bigot mommy and daddy were.

  • gmcjetpilot Sep 13, 2011

    ..... If the secular liberal homosexual atheists can use judicial activism to shove their agenda down our throats we can do the same. I think it is a WASTE OF TIME litigating something that has been a SOCIAL and MORAL NO NO for millenniums, and every society that embraced homosexuality, Romans, has gone away. I do thing morals are important and we see what most gays do as part of their GAY LIFE STYLE... Lets BE HONEST Gay men spread HIV in North America (and were primarily the ones that suffered sadly and still do). However in 2011 MOST new HIV infected are STILL GAY MEN, even more than IV drug using prostitutes, whose infection rates are going down! I don't see the GAY MONOGAMY being in-line with traditional values... since 80% gay couples have open relations with other people. That mocks the beauty of a committed relationship between ONE MAN and ONE WOMAN! Last Kids under 13 should not be exposed to open homosexuality. Two Dudes will never be Mom and Dad. Kids before gays!