Press Room

July 18, 2004

Category: Civil Unions, Domestic Partners

Attempt to Put Discrimination in North Carolina Constitution Fails

'No constitution should be used to discriminate,' said HRC President Cheryl Jacques.

WASHINGTON - An attempt to amend the North Carolina Constitution to prohibit marriage between same-sex couples - as well as civil unions and domestic partnerships - failed when the Legislature adjourned July 18.

"No constitution should be used to discriminate," said Human Rights Campaign President Cheryl Jacques. "Every North Carolinian deserves to have the same rights and freedoms under their constitution."

The statewide gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights group, Equality North Carolina, worked arduously to defeat the measure. HRC's North Carolina Steering Committee worked closely with the group in opposition to the discriminatory amendment and granted Equality NC $10,000 to help pay for a lobbyist to work against the bill.

"Equality NC appreciates the strong support we received from the Human Rights Campaign field staff and the local steering committee, which helped make this success possible," said Ian Palmquist, Equality North Carolina's executive director of programs. "This victory sends a message that our community can effectively mobilize to stop discriminatory state constitutional amendments."

Twenty-five states introduced legislation this year that sought to amend the state constitution to prohibit the performance and/or recognition of marriages between same-sex couples and in some cases more (civil unions, domestic partnerships, etc.):

Fifteen state legislatures staved off discriminatory amendments. Those were Alabama, Arizona, Delaware, Kansas, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Vermont and Washington.

Amendments (initiated by legislators or citizens) will appear on ballots in 11 states: Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oregon and Utah. (Discriminatory amendments will appear on the November ballot except in Missouri, which will appear in August, and Louisiana, which will appear in September.)

Signatures continue to be gathered in Ohio and North Dakota to put amendments on the November ballot in those states.
Three state legislatures - Massachusetts, Tennessee and Wisconsin - must re-approve amendments that were passed in the 2004 legislative session in their upcoming legislative sessions.

The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.