North Carolina (Quietly) Moves to Ban Gay Marriage Forever

Regardless of the final outcome, the state legislature has sent a message to the people

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The GOP-controlled North Carolina state Senate has quietly passed a measure to put a constitutional ban on same sex marriage on the ballot in May 2012. CNN explains:

If the constitutional amendment is approved by voters during the primary in May, North Carolina would become the final state in the Southeast to add a constitutional amendment regarding same-sex marriage.

Proponents of the measure said they felt it was important that the amendment be added so that it would protect the state's policy on gay marriage. North Carolina currently has a ban on same-sex marriage, but legislators are seeking to protect that ban by chiseling it into their constitution.

The bill zoomed through the state legislature pretty quickly. On Monday, the state's House of Representatives passed the bill only five hours after it came before the members, and the Senate followed suit on Tuesday. Critics say that North Carolina Republicans used their majority vote to rush through a politically complicated issue and in doing so failed to address more urgent issues like the economy. Others took issue with the process. Tyler Kingkade at The Huffington Post reports, "House Rules Chairman Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) chose not to allow public comment on the measure, despite many people reportedly showing up to speak on the issue."

As of last week, the odds are stacked against the public voting in favor of the amendment. According to a Public Policy Polling, 55 percent of North Carolinians would oppose the constitutional amendment--despite 61 percent of them being opposed to same-sex marriage. Regardless of the final outcome, the state legislature's hasty passage of the bill simply proposing a constitutional ban sends a message to the people. "Most of us have gay neighbors, co-workers, friends and family members," Sen. Josh Stein, a Democrat, said before the vote. "Know that if you vote for this amendment, you will cause them pain."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.