News (USA)

North Carolina state Senate OKs voter initiative to ban same-sex marriage

North Carolina state Senate OKs voter initiative to ban same-sex marriage

The North Carolina state Senate on Tuesday approved a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, sending the measure to a statewide vote in May 2012.

The Senate voted 30-16 in favor, just barely achieving the required three-fifths majority.

The House approved the measure Monday by a vote of 75-42.

If approved by voters, the North Carolina constitution would be amended to read that “marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state.”

“North Carolina lawmakers have turned their back on an opportunity to recognize and affirm our common humanity by voting to place this unnecessary and unfair amendment on the ballot,” said Rea Carey, Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, in a statement.

“This is deeply disappointing and hurtful to thousands of North Carolina same-sex couples who simply want to be able to care for each other and their families, as all families do. Challenging times such as these are made easier when people join together, not when they tear each other apart. We urge the fair-minded people of North Carolina to reject this painful attack on their neighbors, co-workers, friends and family members,” Carey said.

The language of the bill effectively prohibits civil unions, domestic partnerships and other relationship recognition for same-sex couples.

However, in lawmaker’s zeal to pass the measure and put it before voters, language of the bill is so restrictive that it would also prohibit recognition of non-marriage unions between heterosexual couples as well.

The the opening debate, primary sponsor Sen. James Forrester (R-Gaston) said he was thankful to get the opportunity to hear his bill, reported Matt Comer at QNotes.

“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.”

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