North Carolina House Passes Gay Marriage Ban to 2012 Ballot

North Carolina’s proposed ban on gay marriage has been causing a quiet stir for a few months now. Not because a state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage is really anything remarkable at this point — which is a sad story in and of itself — but because this is one of the first proposed bans that doesn’t seem like a foregone conclusion. But now, regardless of what we may have hoped and speculated, it’s come one step closer to reality: The North Carolina House has just voted to add a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage on the May primary ballot.

North Carolina has been the only southeastern state without a same-sex marriage ban; polling in the Elon area indicated that support for a ban was relatively low, and several faith-based organizations like the Universalist Unitarian Church opposed it. Some had hoped that putting the issue on a ballot while these numbers were still current might actually be a good thing, as it could mean the bill was less likely to pass. But based on the upcoming primary situation for North Carolina voters, things are looking less optimistic. From The Independent Weekly:

“…there will very likely be a hotly contested Republican primary for president next May in North Carolina, and a contested Republican primary for governor, and for lieutenant governor … and there will be no contested Democratic primaries at all. At least, no statewide Democratic primaries. In other words, a huge Republican turnout in assured in May, and a very light Democratic turnout is assured unless the pro-gay rights side can produce one.

This is fair? To pass a constitutional amendment when the electorate is skewed so badly in favor or one party and against the other?”

Reverend William Barber of the NAACP points out that placing the a controversial bill with strong support from social conservatives may actually be a ploy to draw out Republican voters in a Presidential election year. Rev. Barber issued an open letter Friday night asking North Carolina voters not to support the bill.

The bill was also passed to the ballot with no public hearing of the language involved, which wouldn’t really have changed the outcome, but would have made the bill feel slightly less like it was being intentionally and personally visited upon the queer community of North Carolina by the Republican majority. The decision passed with a 76-42 majority. Regardless of the message that may seem to send, however, the North Carolina legislature would like to remind you that this is ultimately about the rights of the voters and The People:

“My core belief has always been on the people’s right to vote on any issue,” said Clary, R-Cleveland. “A no vote on any of these issues from a legislator means you are stripping the people of the right to vote, whether you agree with the issue or not.”

As a refresher, North Carolina actually already has a state statute banning same-sex marriage; what’s actually being left up to the voters is essentially the option to block state judges from ever overturning that law. The bill is awaiting a decision in the Senate right now, where it is expected it will also attain the three-fifths majority needed to make it onto the May 2012 ballot. There’s no telling for sure how voters will respond at the polls in North Carolina, but it is for sure that this vote is joining an equally upsetting one in Minnesota, while at the same time the people of Maine try to be the first state to win marriage equality by a popular vote, and Prop 8 maybe meanders its way to the Supreme Court. It will be a big year, and probably a hard year. Our nation will probably look different in a lot of ways by the end of it. This is how that begins.

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Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

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  1. This is why making decisions solely based on popular vote is a bad idea. Who decided that the majority would decide on the rights of a minority?

  2. I hope to the sweet creator of NC tangy barbecue that this does not pass. And we can only hope that the liberal bubble of Chapel Hill/ Carrboro prevents it. This is so stupid!!! Marriages bring in money for the state, why would they want to turn away money? Because it’s rainbow money? THIS IS SO STUPID I JUST WANT TO GET GAY MARRIED IN MY HOME TOWN.

  3. why do they even bother banning it if it’s not legal anyways? erggh. I guess it means that gay marriages from other states are moot but still why you gotta be haters NC, whyy?

    • Because their bile and hatred cannot be contained in just one law. They have to remind us as often and in as many ways as they can how much they hate us and consider us to be unworthy of full citizenship.

  4. Ugh, this makes me so sad. Even if voters’ rights are a core part of our country, how is it fair to give people the option of taking my freedom away? You can’t say, “Oh, by voting that makes it fair for everybody” when you’re voting on something that’s inherently wrong.

  5. My cats got into a huge screeching fight just as I logged in, so I only managed to glance at the AS front page before I had to get up to break up the fight, so I thought the title of this article said “North Carolina House Passes Gay Marriage” and I was all impressed with North Carolina for rising above my expectations.

    Then I sat down and read the whole title and now I’m pissed. Fuck you, North Carolina legislature, for failing to defy stereotypes.

  6. Gay marriage is a crime against nature not to mention God. It cant be right. IT BATTLES NATURE. whats wromg with people these days. Think about what youre feeling and change those feelings.

      • / Well thank GOD for ole Jimbo up there. Jim could you please find the verse in the King Penguin Translation next. Those gay penguins are annoying the SHIT out of me. With all those tuxedos on. It’s like they’re CELEBRATING GAYNESS. And, like, who needs that. /

    • Holy shit! I’ve always lived my life believing that as long as they live their own lives and do others the courtesy of allowing them the same, everyone deserves to be treated with dignity, respect, and equal access to all the benefits and responsibilities of citizenship. Our government was founded on the ideas of religious pluralism, refusing time and again to enshrine one particular view of religion into law, as well as establishing a Bill of Rights in the Constitution designed to protect the rights of the minority from the tyrany of the majority. I thought, even though there’s vastly different interpretations and opinions about homosexuality not only within religions themselves, but even within specific denominations, those on the dissenting side could co-exist with gays and lesbians simply because the freedom to dissagree with each other is a cornerstone of our nation. I mean, it’s not like legalizing gay marriage means dissenting churches/synagogues/whatevers are going to be required to marry homos, any more than dissenting churches are required to marry previously divorced people. I thought, if we couldn’t all come to a consensus, at least we could leave eachother in peace.


    • It’s funny how I read this as sarcasm. Because I have a hard time understanding the fact that people actually say these things when they aren’t being satirical. ugh.

    • You should take your own advice, Jim. Think about what you’re feeling – in this case, “Yeah, I should totally comment on this article on this happy gay website and let them know my total buzzkill assholish opinions” – and then change those feelings. Then you won’t embarrass yourself like this again.

      God, Jim. Get your shit together.

  7. Andddd this is why we can’t leave it to the states. Gay marriage has to become a national issue, otherwise states like NC will put a ban in their constitution and be done with it. The only way to overturn such a ban would be to do it federally.
    Maddow for president, 2016.

    • I am so, so sick to death of this “states’ rights” bullshit. Whenever some asshole tries to turn civil rights and basic human decency into an academic debate on the states vs federal pervue, I want to piss in their lungs just to get them to shut up.

      • …Wow. It’s just occurred to me that the next time I do a ‘Transmetropolitan’ re-read, I should not do it all in one day. It’s probably best to space that shit out or the bile starts to overflow.

  8. I’m from NC, and I really want to cry right now. I’m use to the liberal bubble of my area and the chapel hill/carrboro area I bummed around in college, and they make it pretty easy to forget that the nastiness exists.

    Also, a state senator from Gastonia, I think, called Asheville a cesspool of sin over the protests against the ban and the general…gayness of Asheville. I don’t know whether to continue crying at that, or to laugh and ask if we can put that on a t-shirt.

  9. I’ve never understood why this “person in dress + person in pants” logo is an argument against same-sex marriage. I can think of plenty of lesbian couples I know where only one of them wears dresses, so wouldn’t they count?

  10. i was at the rally against the amendment today in raleigh. there is so much support for us – please believe that. the univeralists were singing hymns, the pflag group was chanting, so many munchkins were yelling and running around, and representatives came out to tell us that the fight was not over. #wehavepeoplefightingforus

    yes, certain haters and assholes pushed this legislation through…but hatred and discrimination is not welcome in north carolina. #standstrong

    also, our signs kicked ass. #justsayin’

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