House and Senate clear North Carolina same-sex marriage amendment for 2012 ballot

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September 13, 2011

By Bailey Ludlam

Sept. 13, 2011 rally in Raleigh, North Carolina

RALEIGH, North Carolina: In the first day back from session, the North Carolina House voted in favor of referring a same-sex marriage amendment to the 2012 statewide ballot.[1] A day later the State Senate echoed the House with a 30-16 approval vote.[2]

The proposed measure would amend the state constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman.

According to House Majority Leader Paul Stam, an amendment is needed "because courts are turning equal-rights protections 'into a same-sex marriage entitlement.'”[3]

Opponents argue that the proposed amendment may lead to more bullying of gay youth and invalidate domestic violence protections for unmarried couples.Some lawmakers argue that the proposed amendment will hurt employment in the state. Rep. Larry Hall said, "Instead of creating an environment where we can create employment, attract entrepreneurs (and) attract talent, we're going to try to put a sign up to say, 'You are not welcome if you want to contribute to our society.'"[4]

In order to qualify for the ballot, the legislatively-referred constitutional amendment required a 60% vote of each house of the North Carolina State Legislature. The measure will appear on the May 2012 ballot.[5] The House voted 75-42 on September 12, the first day of the Fall legislative session.[1] The Senate voted 30-16, sealing the measure for the 2012 ballot.[6]

In addition to the same-sex marriage amendment, approximately 17 constitutional amendments have been filed and are pending votes by the state legislature for qualification on the 2012 statewide ballot. The marriage amendment marks the first measures to be certified for the 2012 ballot in North Carolina.

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