The North Carolina Senate on Tuesday approved a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage in the state, sending it to voters for their approval.

After less than two hours of debate, senators decided to send the proposed amendment to voters during the May primary election. The House gave its approval with a 75 to 42 vote on Monday.

Senators approved the bill with a narrow 30 to 16 vote. Constitutional bans require a three-fifths majority for passage.

Roughly an equal number of supporters and opponents to the measure rose to speak during the debate.

Opponents claimed the measure would put discrimination into the North Carolina Constitution.

Senator Doug Berger, a Democrat from Raleigh, likened the amendment to the holocaust.

“Some of you might not realize that Adolf Hitler came to power through the ballot box. And even though he was elected by the people, he was able to use the instruments of government to take away the rights of individuals. And it wasn't simply communists, it wasn't simply socialists, it wasn't simply trade unions, it wasn't simply Jehovah witnesses, it wasn't simply Jews. One of the target groups that the Nazi regime went after were gay people. In fact, if you were gay, you were required to wear a pink triangle, to signify that you were a member of that despised group.”

“I believe if we pass this motion to concur, we are essentially putting a pink triangle into our state constitution,” he added. (The audio is embedded in the right panel of this page.)

(Related: Opponents of North Carolina gay marriage ban to rally.)