Legislature will not consider constitutional amendments this week

Anti-LGBT amendment banning same-sex relationships among proposals yet to be considered

by Matt Comer  Editor  editor@goqnotes.com
Published: July 27, 2011 in News

Originally published: July 27, 2011, 9:28 a.m.
Updated: July 27, 2011, 7:30 p.m.

RALEIGH, N.C. — State lawmakers briefly considered changing their session rules this week in order to hear several constitutional amendments, possibly including an anti-LGBT amendment on same-sex relationships, but decided against the plan today, The Associated Press and several other news agencies are reporting.

Legislators are back in the state capital to consider several matters, including redistricting, election laws and overrides to Gov. Bev Perdue’s several vetoes. Their session rules allow them to consider only those and certain other topics, but, on Tuesday, Rep. Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) filed an adjournment resolution that would have allowed the legislature to quickly adjourn on Wednesday and reconvene on Thursday. The new session would have allowed for consideration of constitutional amendments.

Both the House and Senate are considering anti-LGBT constitutional amendments that could ban all recognition of same-sex marriages, civil unions, domestic partnerships and other public and private arrangements for same-sex couples.

There had been no serious indication the anti-LGBT bills would be heard this week, though the possibility was real. Statewide advocacy group Equality North Carolina emailed their supporters Tuesday evening and urged them to contact their legislators. The group had also issued a call for volunteers to help them staff phone banking efforts on Wednesday.

As originally planned, legislators will come back to Raleigh for special fall session in September when, according to Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (R-Rockingham), legislators will consider constitutional amendments. In June, House Speaker Thom Tillis (R-Mecklenburg) told Asheville’s Citizen-Times that the anti-LGBT amendments would “definitely be brought up in a special fall session.”

North Carolina is the last remaining state in the Southeast without a constitutional amendment banning recognition of same-sex relationships. Amendments to the state constitutional must pass each chamber of the legislature by a three-fifths majority. The governor has no veto authority over amendments. If passed, the anti-LGBT amendment would be placed on the 2012 ballot. : :