Thursday, July 28, 2011

NC Marriage Amendment Vote Put on Hold

When word got out Wednesday that the North Carolina legislature was going to hold a vote today on legislation that would put an anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment on the ballot this fall, Equality NC got busy. The vote was not expected to take place until September.

An call to action immediately spread across the web for LGBT's to phone, email and/or write NC lawmakers telling them the amendment was not necessary, as state law already prohibits marriage equality.

By Wednesday afternoon, news agencies reported that the vote would not take place after all. News 14 reports:

The amendment seeks to ban same sex marriage and specify that marriage is only between a man and a woman. There was some confusion among legislators over when a vote would take place.
The second that Equality North Carolina members discovered that a marriage amendment could be voted on Thursday due to an adjournment resolution they picked up the telephoned.
“We originally expected these to be brought up in a special session some time in September or as late as October,” said Equality NC interim executive director Alex Miller.
With no time to waste, 40,000 postcards were ready to go out to legislators asking them to oppose the amendment. The possibility of a vote caught many by surprise. Rep. Joe Hackney said it wasn't fair to the public or to members of the House and Senate that couldn't prepare for the vote this session.
Legislators were even unsure about what would take place.
“That will not be considered this week. What will be considered this week to my understanding is constitutional amendments that have gone through the house process that the Senate has been holding. That's the last word that I got,” said Rep. David Lewis, a Republican from Harnett County.
It was not the last word Sen. Dan Soucek, a Republican of Watagua County, received and he is one of the bill's sponsors.
“While we were here this might be the best opportunity to present this and that was the logic behind it,” he said. “But as you know, if you follow the legislature at all, although that's the plan now plans change quickly.”
They did change and amendments are put on hold, which gives Equality NC more time to get their message across. Legislators are expected to take up the marriage amendment, along with the others, in mid-September.

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