North Carolina House Leaders Call for Marriage Amendment

By Julie Bolcer

Originally published on Advocate.com August 31 2011 10:05 AM ET

In a press conference that compared same-sex marriage to "incest" and "polygamy," Republican leaders in the North Carolina House of Representatives urged their colleagues to pass legislation that would present voters with a constitutional amendment to outlaw same-sex marriages.

The News and Observer reports on the remarks Tuesday in Raleigh by House Speaker Pro Tem Dale Folwell and House Majority Leader Paul "Skip" Stam. The leading Republicans called for the legislature to pass the constitutional amendment when it returns for a special session on September 12.

According to audio provided by On Top, Stam compared same-sex marriage to incest and polygamy when a reporter asked whether the amendment represented intrusion by the government into people’s lives.

“Well 90 percent of all laws affect people's lives, so that's an argument without any content to it,” said Stam. “We prohibit adult incest, we prohibit polygamy. What would be their answer to that? We're involved in people's lives. That's a slogan without analysis.”

Stam continued, “What I'm saying is, you cannot construct an argument for same sex-marriage that would not also justify philosophically the legalization of polygamy and adult incest.”

State law already restricts marriage to the union of a man and a woman in North Carolina, but backers of the amendment claim it is necessary to give the existing law extra protection. Folwell and Stam also challenged Democratic governor Bev Perdue and said she was calling Democratic lawmakers and urging them to vote against the amendment despite supporting the restrictive marriage law when she served in the legislature.

In a response reported by The News and Observer, North Carolina Democratic Party chairman David Parker said, "The reality is that this amendment will not put one person back to work; it will not help one small business keep its doors open, and it will not assist one single citizen now trying to recover from the devastation inflicted by Hurricane Irene. The Republicans in the General Assembly have made it clear that their intention is to turn back the clock on our economy by pushing divisive social issues - talk about misplaced priorities. This amendment will only stifle job creation and hinder our economic recovery."