North Carolina's top Republican, State
House Speaker Thom Tillis, has said a proposed gay marriage ban is
not about rights.
At a Student Government
Association-sponsored town hall meeting on Monday at the Appalachian
State University, Tillis was asked about the proposed constitutional
amendment, which will go before voters in May.
When student Catherine Hopkins
questioned how Tillis reconciled the amendment with the Pledge of
Allegiance, he denied the measure was about rights.
“My understanding of the Constitution
is, it's largely in place to protect the rights of the citizens. How
do you see that amendment defending liberty and justice for all?”
“My difficulty [with the measure] has
to do with the role of government and the extent to which government
imposes its will on personal lives,” he said, the Watauga
Democrat reported. “But there are a large number of
members who felt very passionately about it.”
“Anyone, whether they be gay,
lesbian, transgendered, will still be afforded the same basic rights
guaranteed under the Constitution, before or after the amendment. It
has continued to be a debate that has gone on for years. … I felt
the best thing for us to do is put this to a vote before the people.”
The proposed amendment would bar North
Carolina from recognizing gay and lesbian couples with marriage,
civil unions and possibly domestic partnerships.