Raleigh – During a special session, the North Carolina House passed a constitutional amendment, 75 – 42, to let voters decide whether or not marriage should be defined as solely between one man and one woman. Ten House Democrats joined Republicans to support the measure. The Senate voted 30 – 16 to concur.
The state’s first attempt to amend the constitution to define marriage was proposed in 2003 by Democrats and Republicans. Subsequent amendments have received bi-partisan support for more than eight years but were held in committee by former House and Senate leaders.
North Carolina is the only state in the southeast that does not have a constitutional amendment defining marriage. Other states have acted because activist judges in other states have overturned state statutes that define marriage. Today, legislators decided to give voters the ability to define marriage at the ballot box.
According to Forbes Magazine ranking of best business climates, eight out of the top ten states have defined marriage in their state constitution.
As business communities look for government to provide stable economic environments, protecting marriage from re-definition by the courts safeguards the freedom and flexibility to offer employee benefits based on business decisions. It protects business from additional government-imposed benefit packages.
The measure will now be put before voters in a statewide referendum to be held during the May primary.