A North Carolina House committee on Monday approved a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage in the state.

The House Rules Committee approved the amendment with a voice vote after little debate and sent the measure to the House for debate.

House Minority Leader Joe Hackney called the amendment a “terrible idea” and criticized the amendment's fast-paced consideration.

“This is no way to conduct constitutional business for the State of North Carolina,” Hackney told colleagues. “It ought not to be done this way and ought to be given a fair hearing. We have people in the audience, experts on constitutional interpretation. They are not allowed to speak. The language itself is put together – apparently finalized last evening. There are so many unanswered questions about this that we don't have time to go into here at this meeting.”

A new version of the measure would put the question before voters during the May primary election, not during the general election in November as previously assumed.

Supporters of the amendment rallied in Raleigh on Monday.

North Carolina's largest gay rights group, Equality North Carolina, delivered more than 50,000 postcards to lawmakers from constituents who oppose the amendment.