A constitutional amendment that seeks
to define marriage as a heterosexual union could be considered in the
North Carolina General Assembly as early as this week.
The Associated Press is
reporting that House Majority Leader Paul Stam said he's uncertain
which amendments might come up for consideration, but the marriage
amendment is a likely candidate.
House speaker Thom Tillis earlier told
the Citizen-Times that he believes the House will approve the
amendment and send it to voters for their approval in 2012.
The proposed legislation was introduced
in the Senate in February and in the House in April.
The Senate version explicitly bans
other unions in addition to marriage, which might include civil
unions and domestic partnerships, but the House version only covers
marriage. Gay rights activists worry that the Senate version could
outlaw domestic partner benefits currently offered by private sector
“The defense of marriage is one that
a number of folks in our base feel very strongly about,” Tillis
said. “Generally speaking, it polls fairly high across the voter
base. It's not a particularly partisan thing.”
Tillis said he personally believes
“data” show that heterosexual marriages are more stable and
nurturing when asked about his view on gay marriage.
Approval requires a three-fifths
majority in each chamber.