The North Carolina Senate voted on Tuesday in favor of letting voters decide on a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
In a 30-16 vote, the Senate agreed to place the measure on the May 2012 ballot. If the amendment is passed, North Carolina would join the rest of the Southeast states in affirming marriage as between a man and a woman in its state constitution.
"The North Carolina Senate did the right thing, voting this afternoon to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot in 2012, and trusting the people of North Carolina with the future of marriage," said Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, in a statement Tuesday.
"The big lie in politics is that the marriage fight is over. But this vote proves once again the pundits are wrong, the people want the right to decide the future of marriage."
NOM mobilized thousands of North Carolinians to contact their representatives about their desire to vote on marriage. Other conservative groups, such as Family Research Council also took action by launching a radio ad campaign in support of the measure.
Following the Senate's approval, FRC President Tony Perkins stated, "The North Carolina legislature is investing in its future by allowing its citizens to vote on protecting and defending marriage. The well-being of children, parental rights and religious liberty are all at stake in this referendum."
For years, a marriage amendment had been blocked by Democrats. But with Republicans now controlling the state legislature, the measure managed to get passed and make its way to voters.
"We have seen every state where the people have voted choose to preserve marriage, because the American people have a deep appreciation for the unique and irreplaceable benefits that marriage between a man and a woman gives to children and society," Perkins said.
While supporters of the measure were looking to vote in November 2012, the ballot initiative was moved to May during the state's primary election.
Both FRC and NOM have vowed to continue to rally support for the traditional marriage measure in North Carolina until next year's vote.