North Carolina state Senator Jim
Forrester announced his effort to ban gay marriage by saying, “Moms
and dads are not interchangeable.”
Forrester introduced Senate Bill 272 on
Tuesday. The bill aims to amend North Carolina's state constitution
to limit marriage to heterosexual unions and ban any recognition of
gay and lesbian couples.
The bill, and a similar measure set to
be introduced in the House today, face an uphill battle in the
Democratic Senate President Pro Tempore
Marc Basnight assigned the bill to Ways and Means, a committee that
has not met since 2001. The eleven member panel is composed of eight
Democrats and three Republicans and is chaired by Senator Charlie
Smith Dannelly, a Democrat from Raleigh.
Two Democratic members of the
committee, Ed Jones of Bertie and David W. Hoyle of Gaston, have
co-sponsored the bill. Supporters need to find two more Democrats on
the committee to have the bill reach the floor for a full vote.
North Carolina law currently defines
marriage as between a man and a woman and does not recognize legal
gay marriages performed elsewhere. But supporters of the ban worry
those laws could be deemed unconstitutional by the state Supreme
“It only takes one liberal judge to
overturn our statutes and usher in same-sex marriage without a vote
of the legislature and without a vote of the people of our state,”
Forrester said on Tuesday.
Catholic and protestant ministers
appeared alongside lawmakers in announcing the bill.
“Throughout the entirety of Sacred
Scripture, marriage is always and only recognized as a union between
a man and a woman,” said Bishops Michael F. Burbidge and Peter F.
Jugis of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte in a statement. “As
a source of divine revelation, we believe that Sacred Scripture has
made it clear that the traditional understanding of marriage over
several millennia is the only one that should constitutionally exist
in our state.”
Equality North Carolina, a group that
opposes the bill, said it is planning a March 24 day of action at the
North Carolina Museum of History in downtown Raleigh. A spokeswoman
from the organization said the event will consist of an educational
component at the museum combined with direct access to lawmakers at
the Legislature, across the street.
On the Net: North Carolina Equality is