North Carolina Is in for a Fight on Marriage
BY Lucas Grindley
July 01 2011 6:20 PM ET
North Carolina is in for a fight about gay marriage, a top state Republican leader confirmed during an interview with an Asheville newspaper.
State House speaker Thom Tillis told the Asheville Citzen-Times Thursday that a constitutional ban on such unions would definitely come up in a special fall session, and if approved, the issue would be sent to voters in 2012.
“The defense of marriage is one that a number of folks in our base feel very strongly about,” he said, before pointing to “data” that he claims shows same-sex marriages are less stable and nurturing than their straight counterparts.
If Tillis has his way, North Carolina would join Minnesota among states with gay marriage bans on their ballots during the 2012 election cycle. And the entire Democratic Party might be forced to address the issue when its convention arrives in Charlotte.
As was the case in Minnesota, the states's Democratic governor has no opportunity to intercede and veto the ballot initiative if state lawmakers approve it. Although North Carolina governor Bev Perdue doesn't support gay marriage, she's said that an amendment to the state's constitution is unnecessary because state law already prohibits marriages between people of the same gender.
Tillis said he is still considering whether to include language in the ballot initiative that would bar employers and localities from recognizing any form of domestic partnership not named "marriage."
Equality North Carolina has been warily watching for signs the ban would be considered by the state Assembly, but it has a message for anyone considering a discriminatory stance.
"Recent local and national polling and data, not to mention the bipartisan victory for NY marriage equality, clearly shows that attitudes are changing on the side of marriage equality, and not in favor of blatant marriage discrimination legislation like the anti-LGBT amendment," said Alex Miller, the group's interim executive director, in a statement. "When you combine these polls with the recent census data showing that same-sex couples are among the fastest-growing demographics in our state, we believe there are a great many legislators who realize that support for such an amendment could ultimately hurt them."
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