About 500 people turned out Friday for a town hall meeting on North Carolina's proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

Voters will decide on the amendment during the state's upcoming May 8 primary. If approved, it would also ban other forms of legal recognition, including civil unions and possibly domestic partnerships.

Speaking in favor of the amendment was Turek, whose 143-page anti-gay marriage book Correct, Not Politically Correct: How Same-Sex Marriage Hurts Everyone led him to lose speaking gigs at Bank of America and Cisco Systems. Scott Sigman, an openly gay Charlotte School of Law professor specializing in family law, argued against its passage. The debate, held at McGlohon Theater in Charlotte, was moderated by WFAE's Julie Rose.

Sigman said the amendment would be bad for business.

“Businesses hate this kind of controversy,” he told the audience. “Businesses have to compete to attract and retain real talent.”

(Related: Bank of America's Cathy Bessant against North Carolina gay marriage ban.)

In his opening, Turek said gay folks would benefit from the amendment because it would improve the economy.

“Natural marriage lowers social costs to government and thus taxpayers,” Turek said. “One major reason for our soaring deficit is the breakdown of the two-parent family. When the family breaks down, government expenditures swell to deal with increased crime and poverty. … Everyone in society, gay and straight, benefits immensely from government promotion of natural marriage.”

Sigman noted that the amendment would not alter anything in North Carolina because state law already prohibits members of the same sex from marrying. (A video compilation of the debate is embedded in the right panel of this page. Visit our video library for more videos.)