After an extremely lengthy debate with long speeches from both sides of the aisle, the Defense of Marriage Amendment (DOMA) passed the House 75-42. SB 514 began as a Nutrient Management Plan bill but was modified through a favorable House Rules committee substitute today to become a DOMA bill. The legislation was then sent to the House floor, where it was debated beginning around 2:45pm and ending around 6:00pm.
North Carolina is the only remaining Southern state without a DOMA amendment in its state constitution. This legislation seeks to confirm existing law by putting traditional marriage in the state Constitution, making it more difficult for future legislatures or courts to change DOMA down the road.
DOMA continues to have strong support across a broad spectrum of voters. In a December 2010 Civitas Institute poll, 65 percent of North Carolinian voters support a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman. In a special August 2011 Civitas poll focusing on African American voters, 62 percent would vote for an amendment on the 2012 ballot defining marriage between one man and one woman while 59 percent would be more likely to vote for a legislator who voted to authorize a referendum defining marriage as between one man and one woman. Finally, in a August 2011 Civitas Institute poll focused on independent voters, 49 percent of unaffiliated voters support amending the North Carolina Constitution to define marriage as only between one man and one woman.
Such support was further demonstrated by a large rally held today, bringing in North Carolinians from across the state and across cultural and political backgrounds.
The bill now goes to the Senate for debate. A final vote is likely to be made tomorrow. If the Senate passes the amendment, the bill will be placed on the 2012 May primary ballot for North Carolinians to determine its fate.