NC House OKs Vote on Gay Marriage Amendment

It will be held during Republican primary

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 13, 2011 8:56 AM CDT

(Newser) – North Carolina took a big step toward a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage last night, when the House passed a bill that would let voters decide the matter during next May’s GOP primary. The vote was 75-42 in favor, according to the Raleigh News & Observer. Afterward, hundreds of gay marriage opponents rallied in support of the bill, which must still pass the Senate, chanting, “Let the people vote!”

Holding the vote in May, as opposed to during the November general election, was a concession to Democrats who support the ban, but don’t want it drawing more social conservatives to the poll to vote against President Obama. But the date also essentially guarantees the referendum’s passage, since it’ll be mostly Republican primary voters at the polls. The vote comes in spite of a major lobbying effort by Equality NC, and a letter from 76 North Carolina CEOs opposing the referendum.

An attendee of a rally in support of a North Carolina constitutional amendment banning gay marriage holds a sign near the Legislative Building in Raleigh, NC on Monday.
An attendee of a rally in support of a North Carolina constitutional amendment banning gay marriage holds a sign near the Legislative Building in Raleigh, NC on Monday.   (AP Photo/Ted Richardson)
A crowd overflows from a committee meeting of the North Carolina General Assembly where a Senate bill was introduced to amend the state constitution to ban gay marriage, in Raleigh, NC on Monday.
A crowd overflows from a committee meeting of the North Carolina General Assembly where a Senate bill was introduced to amend the state constitution to ban gay marriage, in Raleigh, NC on Monday.   (AP Photo/Ted Richardson)
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