North Carolina Marriage Equality Opponents Want To “Put A Big Letter Of Shame On The Behavior” And “Perversity”

Republicans in North Carolina are hoping to pass a state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, even though gay and lesbian couples are already prevented from getting married under statute. One leading proponent of the ban believes that an amendment, which could potentially be included on the 2012 ballot if it passes the legislature with three-fifths of the vote, would pass because “the public in my opinion knows the difference between perversity and diversity” and that residents “don’t want them here.” The News Observer reports:

Supporters of a bill that would ask voters to write a ban on same-sex marriage into the state Constitution say it has its best chance at passage since they started pushing for it in 2004.

Sen. James Forrester, a Gaston County Republican, has filed the bill consistently for nearly a decade, but the proposal never made it to a full vote. Democrats held control of both the House and Senate for most of those years.

With Republicans now controlling the legislature, Forrester is looking forward to hearings and a victory.

“I think we have enough votes to get it passed,” he said. Republicans hold majorities in both chambers, and similar bills in past years have drawn bi-partisan support.

The state already has a law banning same-sex marriage, but supporters of the constitutional amendment said the law isn’t enough. The law is vulnerable to changes by future legislatures, Forrester said, or to a judge who thinks it’s wrong.

The amendment “prevents a liberal judge from saying ‘no,’ ” Forrester said.

Mecklenburg County Commissioner Bill James, a longtime supporter of the ban, said the amendment would make a moral statement.

“The purpose is not just to prevent Massachusetts people coming down,” he said. “It’s also to put a big letter of shame on the behavior. We don’t want them here. We don’t want them marrying. If you’re going to do it in San Francisco, it’s your own business.”

In an e-mail last week, James predicted easy passage. “Bet it will pass with over 60 percent,” he wrote. “The public in my opinion knows the difference between perversity and diversity.”