On September 12th, the General Assembly will convene for a special session to consider amendments to the state constitution. One of the amendments under consideration would define a recognized marriage as one only between a man and a woman. House Majority Leader Paul Stam (R-Wake) said Democrats voted for a law in 1996 that restricted legal marriages to those between a man and a woman. That included Governor Beverly Perdue, who was then a Senator. Stam said those Democrats should vote for the amendment considering similar laws have been nullified in other states.
Those who oppose the Defense of Marriage constitutional amendment point to a poll that indicates waning support for the measure and increasing support for legalizing same sex marriage.
A Civitas Institute poll in December, on the other hand, showed just the opposite. It found 65 percent of voters want the constitution amended to protect traditional marriages.
House Speaker Pro Tem Dale Folwell (R-Forsyth) said there is wide support for an amendment.
Folwell noted even those who voted for Barack Obama as President supported a constitutional amendment on marriage in several states.
Folwell pointed out North Carolina is the one state in the southeast that has not amended the constitution to define a traditional marriage.
It would take the 3/5 of those voting in each chamber of the legislature to pass the amendment. But then voters would have to approve it in either the May primary or November general elections.
While gay and lesbian groups want to first defeat the amendment they also are pushing to have the vote in May when fewer voters would be at the polls. Folwell wants it on the November ballot because of what he calls the “Brock dilemma.”
No doubt those opposed to an amendment on marriage will show up for the special session. GOP leaders hope many more supporters of traditional marriage will gather at the legislature to counter opposition rallies.