North Carolina House Majority Leader Paul “Skip” Stam on Wednesday reiterated his claim that a proposed gay marriage ban would protect children.

The 61-year-old Stam made his remarks during a town hall meeting on the amendment at the University of North Carolina law school in Chapel Hill. Representing opponents of the amendment was Minority Whip Rick Glazier, a Democrat from Cumberland.

Last Tuesday, the North Carolina Senate approved a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage in the state and sent it to voters for their approval in May. The House approved the measure the day before. The legislation moved from House committee to final approval in the Senate in roughly 26 hours. All together, lawmakers spent less than six hours debating the issue and blocked the public from debating on the divisive legislation.

If approved, the measure would ban North Carolina from recognizing the unions of gay and lesbian couples with marriage, civil unions and possibly domestic partnerships.

Stam told law students that the state became involved in marriage to support children.

“It wasn't about love or romance. It was about children. So that, for example, in medieval Europe as people would go around and have secret marriages nobody really knew whose child was the child of whom. Who was otherwise married and for me to marry that person would then be bigamy, but they maybe didn't tell me about it – there was no licensure, so how would you know? But it's been maintained not because of love or romance, but for the welfare of children.” (The video is embedded in the right panel of this page.)

Earlier, Stam said the amendment would protect children because “all social science research demonstrates [an opposite-sex household is] the best way for children to be raised.”

Glazier said the state constitution “was not designed as a tool to divide citizens of this state one from another.”

“The constitution holds equality as an ideal, and the divisiveness and irrationality and fear at the heart of this amendment cannot be tolerated,” he added.

(Related: North Carolina Senator James Forrester tells lesbian mom to move to New York.)