Bil Browning

NC Senate Passes Marriage Amendment

Filed By Bil Browning | September 13, 2011 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: gay marriage, marriage amendment, marriage equality, North Carolina, same-sex marriage, state senate

If you thought the special session of the North Carolina legislature would focus on assisting those devastated by the recent hurricane or address record unemployment, think again. Republicans have no interest in actually tackling those issues.

Following in the footsteps of the House of Representative's vote yesterday in favor a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage and civil unions, the North Carolina Senate has passed the legislation as well. Thumbnail image for 270px-Map_of_USA_NC.svg.pngThe measure will now be voted on by the general population during the May 2012 primary election as supporters try to sneak it past the average voter by putting it on the ballot when turnout is expected to be low.

Members of the North Carolina Senate barely passed a motion to place an anti-LGBT constitutional amendment on the ballot in May 2012. The body began debate shortly after noon and ended at 1:22 p.m. The final vote tally, 30-16, barely met the three-fifths majority needed for the measure to pass. The measure gained prior approval in the state's House on Monday.

Opening debate, primary sponsor Sen. James Forrester (R-Gaston) said he was thankful to get the opportunity to hear his bill.

"This is the eighth year I put in this bill," Forrester said. "The bill never had a hearing. I'm very happy to have this bill before us at the time."

Forrester said the amendment was intended to defend the "an institution in our society based upon the complementary male and female loin."

Yes, that's right. Republican marriages aren't based on love. They're based on sex and genitals.

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I find Forrester's push for the amendment particularly despicable given that he is a physician who "loves" his gay patients at the same time he promotes junk science about gays having 20-year shorter lifespans.

"Barely met the three-fifths majority needed to pass" isn't very conforting, in that it means that well over a simple majority in both North Carolina were committed to the measure. On the other hand, recent polling seems to show that the NC public feels different, but of course it's those who actually votes next May that count.

In Indiana although only a simple majority in each house of the legislature is needed, the same measure (which passed earlier this year) must pass again after an intervening election, in this case November 2012. So Hoosiers have more time before November 2014, the earliest that HJR-6, a similar constitutional amendment, is on the ballot.

The measure would not only ban same-sex marriage and civil unions, but also anything "substantially similar" to marriage. The right-wing is up to its old tricks of saying that wouldn't affect simple domestic partnership programs with a handfull of benefits, but as usual they've taken the opposite point of view in Wisconsin. Bait and then switch. Maybe by 2014 their duplicity and methods will finally register with a public increasingly favoring at least some legal regognitiion of same-sex relationships.

But Hoosiers, like everyone else, ought not take that for granted.