Adam Polaski

North Carolina Postpones Talk of Anti-LGBT Amendment

Filed By Adam Polaski | July 28, 2011 3:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: anti-gay amendment, marriage equality, Matt Comer, North Carolina, Q Notes, same-sex marriage

NorthCarolinaSign.jpgThis week, LGBT advocates braced themselves for a blow, as both the state House of Representatives and Senate considered adding an amendment to the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage.

Same-sex marriage is already illegal in the state. The constitutional amendment, however, would restrict the state's legislative body from introducing new legislation for marriage equality.

Discussion of the possible constitutional amendment would have required lawmakers to change their session rules. NC legislators were in session to discuss redistricting and election laws, but a change to the rules would have allowed debate over proposed amendments. Last night, word surfaced that the lawmakers decided against changing the rules.

That doesn't mean, however, that North Carolina is safe from a same-sex marriage ban.

Bilerico contributor Matt Comer explained further at Q Notes:

As originally planned, legislators will come back to Raleigh for special fall session in September when, according to Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (R-Rockingham), legislators will consider constitutional amendments. In June, House Speaker Thom Tillis (R-Mecklenburg) told Asheville's Citizen-Times that the anti-LGBT amendments would "definitely be brought up in a special fall session."

North Carolina is the last remaining state in the Southeast without a constitutional amendment banning recognition of same-sex relationships. Amendments to the state constitutional must pass each chamber of the legislature by a three-fifths majority. The governor has no veto authority over amendments.

If the House and Senate do approve the amendment, it will be put to a vote on the 2012 ballot.

Equality North Carolina has additional information.

North Carolina joins Minnesota and Indiana as states facing potential anti-LGBT marriage amendments in the next year.

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Don Sherfick Don Sherfick | July 28, 2011 4:24 PM

As to Indiana, as I've said a number of times before, anti-equality forces have pulled their usual "bait and switch" tactics, and in this world of short attnetion spans and 15 second sound bites few really "get it" at present.

Indiana is one of those handfull of states where a constituional measure must pass both houses in one two-year session, and then pass the same way again with the same language after an intervening election. In 2005 both GOP-controlled houses readily passed SJR-7, with sponsors claiming it only applied to "activist judges", that the legislature could be free to pass even full civil union legislation if it wanted. The Democrats came to control the Indiana House in 2007 so the measure died anyway.

Then, without any fanfare, a new version got introduced which would, like in North Carolina, totally tie the hands of future legislators, too. It passed the GOP-controlled House and Senate earlier this year and if the political situation remains the same after the 2012 elections, it will likely pass again and then be voted on in November 2014.

twinkie1cat | July 29, 2011 3:53 PM

North Carolina is one of those states that is not thoroughly conservative because it has a massive university community at Chapel Hill as well as a large technology community and an economy that is partially tourist based. Part of that tech community recently relocated out of Louisiana because it was too conservative for the employees and they felt they would have to send their children to private (mostly parochial) schools in order for them to get a decent education. There is a realization that if the South does not accept change it will remain poor and mostly rural. Trouble is, some people like it that way. But there is hope that NC would buck the bigotry that the rest of the South, even, sadly, Georgia has buckled under to.

This is why there is a need for a national marriage amendment that would nullify all these state laws. Even if they were not forced to accept gay marriage in their own state, they would have to recognize those performed in other states as an equal rights issue.