North Carolina lawmakers appear to be lining up a vote on a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage for the fall special session.
With the Senate having already approved the amendment, House lawmakers had hinted they would take up ban during the final days of the legislative session last week, however a vote never materialized. Now it appears all constitutional amendments for the 2012 ballot will be voted on during the fall special session.
House speaker Thom Tillis earlier told the Citizen-Times that he believes the House will approve the amendment and send it to voters for their approval in 2012.
The proposed legislation was introduced in the Senate in February and in the House in April.
The Senate version explicitly bans other unions in addition to marriage, which might include civil unions and domestic partnerships, but the House version only covers marriage. Gay rights activists worry that the Senate version could outlaw domestic partner benefits currently offered by private sector employers.
North Carolina already has a statutory ban on same-sex marriage, but the state’s GOP contends that it is necessary to enshrine the ban in the constitution to prevent court intervention.
Three-fifths of the state General Assembly and Senate are required to approve the amendment. With both chambers under Republican control the votes are thought to be present. Democratic governor Bev Perdue cannot veto the amendment either.
While statisticians have predicted the public is likely to pass a same-sex marriage ban should they be given a chance, the level of resistance to the ban seems to have caught North Carolina’s GOP off-guard. In fact, Durham council recently passed a resolution formally opposing the move.
Equality NC has led a campaign against House Bill 777 and Senate Bill 106, mailing lawmakers around the clock last week when it appeared lawmakers in the General Assembly were poised to take up the amendment. An article on Equality NC’s website indicates that they will continue to press lawmakers in the run-up to the fall legislative session.