A constitutional amendment that seeks
to define marriage as a heterosexual union was not heard in the North
Carolina General Assembly's regular session, but proponents insist
the measure will be considered during a special session in the fall.
House Majority Leader Paul Stam told
the Associated Press last week that the marriage amendment
could come up for consideration in the session's final week.
Instead, the measure remained shelved
and its future will be decided during a special session which begins
on September 12.
Gay rights groups said they put in over
4,000 calls in two days to help avert the action.
“The Charlotte and Raleigh HRC
steering committees and Equality North Carolina made calls to
volunteers, voters lists, and the HRC membership lists urging
constituents to call and ask the legislator in their district to vote
no on the bill,” said the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's
largest gay rights advocate.
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
Minnesota lawmakers have already
approved a similar ballot question for next year.