While Massachusetts is waiting to issue marriage licenses to gay couples Monday, two more states, Louisiana and North Carolina, are moving closer to have gay marriage amendment put into vote.
Yesterday, gay marriage amendment received approval by a Louisiana House committee despite resisting arguments made by opponents of gay marriage ban, who expressed their concern over future discrimination, hatred, and state division, saying that there is no legal benefit to adding the ban to the Constitution.
Supporters said the proposed constitutional change by Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Metairie, would further protect its state law which already states that marriage is the union between one man and one woman and that Louisiana doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage from other states.
Supporters said those existing laws could one day be thrown out by the state Supreme Court because of Louisiana’s “due process clause” in the state Constitution.
“Ultimately, I think this issue should be decided by voters instead of a judge or a rogue mayor,” Scalise told the House Civil Law and Procedure Committee, which approved the legislation in a 6-2 vote.
Supporters said the amendment would protect the sanctity of marriage and families and was not an attempt to be mean-spirited. Willie Wooten, a New Orleans minister, said homosexuality was a sin.
“Who’s next to jump on the bandwagon of the civil rights movement? Could it be polygamists or those who desire incestuous marriages? They’re waiting in the wings,” Wooten said.
Meanwhile, gay marriage ban was turned in to the Senate clerk yesterday in North Carolina and will be filed officially today, May 12. Voters would be able to decide this fall whether to place a gay marriage ban in North Carolina's constitution.
"We ought to let the people decide and let them vote on it," said Forrester, R-Gaston. "I think the vast majority of people would be voting as marriage as between one man and one woman."
North Carolina also has a law that already states a valid marriage as one "created by the consent of a male and female person" and another law that was passed in 1996 that doesn’t recognize gay marriages performed in other states.
Forrester said expanding the ban to the constitution would halt litigation from same-sex couples married in other states who may come to North Carolina and argue that the current statute is unconstitutional.
"That will insulate North Carolina from legal challenges in state courts," he said.
North Carolina amendment, if approved, would take effect Jan. 1.
Whereas a group of gay-rights are planning to fight Forrester's bill, about 100 religious leaders have scheduled a news conference today at the Legislative Building to support the bill.
"It's not a partisan bill, it's a family issue bill," Forrester said as he was explaining that the proposed ban was not designed to get conservative Christians involved in voting during a presidential election.
On the other hand, gay activists in Massachusetts are pushing more to allow marriage licenses to gay couples. In Provincetown in Massachusetts, where a large number of gay couples go for vacation, the town’s clerk announced that he would issue marriage licenses to out-of-state gay couples, which is against the state law.
"If they choose to break the law, we will take appropriate enforcement action, refuse to recognize those marriages, and inform the parties that the marriage is null and void," said Gov. Mitt Romney in a statement.