NC House Passes Gay Marriage Ban


House Republicans in North Carolina on Monday passed a constitutional amendment that, if approved by voters, would codify a ban on same-sex marriage in the state. That the Republican leadership then did not allow for public comment or expert testimony on the ban has angered many.

Ten Democrats voted with nearly all House Republicans to pass the amendment in a 75-42 vote — above the three fifths needed to advance the measure. The amendment now goes before the senate where the same margin is needed to pass the legislation.

The amendment was moved at lightning speed, having first been approved by a House committee on a voice vote earlier the same day. The Republican leadership contended that a public debate wasn’t necessary because the issue will be going before voters anyway. Opposed Democratic legislators thought this showed underhanded tactics from the GOP leadership.

From CNN:

House Majority Leader Rep. Paul Stam, a Republican, told committee members he felt it was imperative they move to adopt the amendment.

“Things have changed in Iowa, California, New York, D.C. and Massachusetts,” Stam said. “We have now states with significant populations that are allowing same-sex marriages to be legitimized and entered into. The question then becomes, what happens when they come to North Carolina seeking divorce or equitable distribution?”

North Carolina Rep. Paul Luebke, a Democrat, said while he understood that Republicans want to move on the issue, he felt it was “reprehensible,” given such a high level of public interest, that the public would not have the chance to comment.

“Whether you (are) for this amendment or against it, it is a travesty we are not debating the measure” properly, Luebke said.

Luebke added that by pushing the proposed amendment along without the right process, the Legislature was wrongly moving to “specifically prohibit one group of citizens” without letting them have a say.

On the other hand, Rep. Charles Graham (D-Robeson) said he was happy with his “yes” vote because, he contended, he had to listen to the will of his constituents.

While North Carolina residents overwhelmingly support keeping their statutory ban on same-sex marriage, a new poll by Public Polling Policy (PPP) says that a majority would reject a constitutional amendment enshrining the state’s gay marriage ban if it also blocks same-sex couples from all legal recognition. Read more on that here.

Next Page:  Law Professor on How the Amendment Could Invalidate Domestic Violence Protections, Harm Other Existing Laws

The language to be considered by voters has been the subject of great interest because it appears to invalidate all forms of same-sex partnerships, not just same-sex marriages. The text reads:

“Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state. This section does not prohibit a private party from entering into contracts with another private party; nor does this section prohibit courts from adjudicating the rights of private parties pursuant to such contracts.”

Legal commentators have said that this language, already amended by GOP leaders once, is dangerous and may have a far reaching and destabilizing effect on many of the state’s wider partnership and child custody laws.

Ahead of the vote, UNC Law Professor Maxine Eichner sent an email to all 170 state legislators voicing her concerns over the amendment’s impact, saying:

…The proposed Amendment’s scope is still unclear, potentially far reaching, and has the possible result of unsettling the rights of committed but unmarried couples in a number of legal areas.  It could take years of litigation for courts to resolve these issues.


The revised language only limits broad readings of the original sentence’s vague and untested language that pertain to private contracts. It does nothing to preclude the possibility that courts will read that language to invalidate other rights and obligations connected with the relationships of unmarried partners that do not involve contracts.  For example:

The Amendment still has the potential to invalidate domestic violence protections for members of unmarried couples, as an Ohio court did with even narrower language in its state’s marriage amendment.[5]

The Amendment could still interfere with existing child custody and visitation rights that seek to protect the best interests of children.

The revision does not preclude courts from reading that language to invalidate trusts, wills, and end-of-life directives – which are not “private contracts” – in favor of an unmarried partner.

Further, the revision would still invalidate domestic partner benefits now offered by several municipalities.

[Read more here.]

The referendum would be held May 8 2012.

The Senate is set to take up the legislation Tuesday.

Related Reading:

NC Rep: Gay Marriage Philosophically Same as Incest, Polygamy

NC Gay Marriage Ban Destined for Special Session

University’s Gay Friendly Church List Riles Professor


UPDATE: The NC Senate approved the measure Tuesday and the constitutional amendment now heads to the ballot May, 2012. Read more here.

Image used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to netsu.

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Sylvia M.
Sylvia M.3 years ago

North Carolina stands on a precipice, much like an Olympic Athlete. Will they execute a heretofore unfamiliar but daring and flawless dive that puts them on the cutting edge and moves them forward, or will it be a safe return to basic moves learned and reinforced countless times?

joe lee C.
Joseph c.3 years ago

Emmanuel (more like UnEmmanuel--no God with us) V:
I guess you would rather have human culling via wars.
All resources are limitted(petroleum for instance). We need NO MORE extra human lives on earth.

Lynne B.
Lynne Buckley4 years ago

Very sad. One step backwards in the road to progress. The ignorant and bigoted may have succeeded here, but they won't win the battle for gay marriage equality

Nancy L.
Nancy L.4 years ago

That's too bad.

Lilithe Magdalene

Who are these people in North Carolina? Remind me never to go there - unless it is to hire me to spank the entire population into their senses. Oh William! There's one! Glad to see there are other N. Carolinians fighting your bigotry. But it saddens me to read that the people support this ban.

Ed Gould
Ed G.4 years ago

@Emanuel v.

Get you head out of your ass. Who do you think gives a lot of the straight peoples' children a chance for adoption? Hint a lot of gay people thats who. These kids just do not pop out of the air they were created by the straight people.

kenny s.
Kenny Stidham4 years ago

@Emanual V.....You are full of it. I guess sex using birth control isnt "REAL" sex either because reproduction will not happen there either. What a disgusting loser. Too bad your mother wasnt using birth control when she had sex and conceived you.

J.C. H.
Jc Honeycutt4 years ago

Emanuel V., you are an idiot--or woefully misinformed, the two not being mutually exclusive. For anyone who is interested, Agenda 21 of the UN has NOTHING to do with homosexuality, abortion or Zionism--or indeed any of the right wing's paranoid fantasies. If Emanuel V. had taken the trouble to actually read Agenda 21, he would have learned that it deals with sustainable development, ecological and climate concerns, and full participation by such "subversive" groups as women and young people in deciding public policy. The full Agenda 21 can be read at

I wish the Republicans--especially those in the NC General Assembly--could see themselves as many of their constituents see them. Like the national Republican Party, they gained office by claiming they could solve our financial problems, and as soon as they got into office, they starting getting into our bedrooms again. Sorry, GOP (Grandiose Obsolete Posturers), "barefoot and pregnant" won't solve NC's or the nation's problems, nor will putting gays back in the closet and/or out of work; and cutting taxes for millionaires won't either.

"Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me." Now that I'm jobless (long story short--too old, made too much money), I'll be spending the next 14 months registering voters who can think & making sure they get to the polls to vote you bastards out!

K s Goh
KS Goh4 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Charlene Rush
Charlene Rush4 years ago

Consider the source.
What can you expect, from people who are godless, and pretend to be Christians?