NC constitutional amendment could ban gay marriage

RALEIGH The clash between religion and lifestyle took center stage as thousands gathered on the Halifax Mall to support a ban on gay marriage, civil unions and domestic partnerships, while opponents said their message was an anti-gay and discriminatory one.

Christian conservatives, who say God does not allow same sex couples the same rights as heterosexuals in relationships, are supporting two proposed laws that would put the question of banning gay marriage and other same sex unions to voters.

"Anyone who reads the Bible and understands it, it's clearly defined ... that homosexuality is an abomination of God," Grifton, NC resident Jo Heltsley said.

"It's not a right that they have," Raleigh resident Diane Bridgeman said. "God designed marriage, between one man and one woman. That's it."

The new Republican-led Legislature has expressed interest in putting the question to voters, but Democrats had blocked a legislative vote on the amendment for years. Currently, both of those bills are in committee.

However inside the Legislative building Tuesday, clergy and leaders in the faith community railed against the proposed measures.

"We have come by faith, in love and with purpose to contradict the public perception that people of faith do not support the sacred worth and equality of our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and questioning sisters and brothers," Reverend Dr. T. Anthony Spearman said.

Meanwhile, North Carolina is the only southeastern state that hasn't approved an amendment restricting marriage to a man and a woman.

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