Diatribe: Will North Carolina Voters Add Discrimination To Their State’s Constitution?
On Monday, politicians in the North Carolina House approved an amendment to the state constitution that would limit marriage to couples consisting of one man and one woman. Yesterday, by a 30-16 vote the Tea Party-dominated North Carolina Senate voted to place a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage on the May 2012 ballot. Until they lost their majority in the 2010 elections, Democrats had been able to keep the state of North Carolina from writing discrimination into their constitution.
With fifty members in the Senate, the amendment passed by the bare minimum (thirty votes) for a three-fifths majority. It needed 72 votes in the House and cleared that margin by only three votes.
“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. 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.” – Rea Carey, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
A majority of state constitutions (twenty-nine) define marriage as only between one man and one woman. These amendments prevent state courts from extending the benefits of civil marriage to same-sex couples, as has happened in Connecticut, Iowa and Massachusetts. However, they could all become null and void if court cases challenging the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) prove successful and allow for marriage equality on a federal level.