On Tuesday, North Carolina residents rallied in support of a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, asking the state legislature to give the people a chance to vote on the issue.
Hundreds of people crowded outside the Legislative Building for the Marriage Under Fire rally, showing their support for a bill to ban same-sex marriage in the state. Three months have passed since the introduction of the bill, with no action yet from the legislative committee.
Tuesdays rally mobilized members of the conservative Christian community to call legislators to action. During the two-hour event, several top figures in the conservative Christian community spoke on the need to uphold traditional marriage, including Tony Perkins from the Family Research Council and Bill Meyer of Focus on the Family.
North Carolina law already prohibits same-sex marriage, as well as the recognition of same-sex marriages performed out-of-state. Legislators opposed to the constitutional amendment cited these laws, saying that an amendment is not needed.
Supporters of the constitutional ban argue that recent court rulings in other states threaten the existing laws. Legal challenges could also force North Carolina to recognize marriages performed in Massachusetts, which currently allows same-sex marriage.
A constitutional ban on same-sex marriage would uphold the state law and protect it from such challenges, say supporters. Gay-rights groups, however, argue that a constitutional ban would be discriminatory, disrupting the lives of many families within the state.
Opponents of the bill pointed to complications that have surfaced in other states, such as the legality of domestic partnership benefits if a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage passes.
Currently, eighteen states have adopted constitutional bans on same-sex marriage. Several other states have placed the issue on the next election ballot, to be decided by a statewide vote.