The North Carolina House has approved a bill that would let voters decide whether the state constitution should be amended to include a ban on gay marriage.
The House passed the measure Monday by a 75-42 vote and it now goes to the state Senate. Under the bill, the question would be put to voters during the May primary elections instead of going on the ballot in the November general election.
The earlier vote means the measure would almost certainly secure enough support from Democrats to clear the 72 House-vote hurdle for proposed constitutional amendments, the News & Observer
Democrats who support the proposed amendment had worried that Republicans were pushing the November vote to boost turnout from social conservatives. Putting the measure on the ballot in May alleviates their concerns.
North Carolina already has a law that defines marriage as between one man and one woman, but the amendment’s backers say they fear gay couples who were legally married in New York may move to North Carolina and demand legal rights.
Opponents say the amendment is an attempt to force future generations to live with a discriminatory rule whether or not they support it.
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