State Politics

Proposed gay marriage ban is dead in NC House, speaker says

Republican legislators’ proposal to defy a U.S. Supreme Court ruling and restore the state constitution’s ban on same-sex marriage won’t get a hearing in the N.C. House, its leader said Wednesday.

House Bill 780 was filed Tuesday and says the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage across the country “is null and void in the State of North Carolina.” The sponsors argue in the bill language that it’s “clear that laws concerning marriage are for each state to establish and maintain severally and independently.”

House Speaker Tim Moore, a Republican, said Wednesday that he won’t allow the bill to move forward this session.

“There are strong constitutional concerns with this legislation given that the U.S. Supreme Court has firmly ruled on the issue, therefore House Bill 780 will be referred to the House Rules Committee and will not be heard,” Moore said in a news release.

The Rules Committee is typically where bills that lack support from leadership go to die.

The “Uphold Historical Marriage Act” was sponsored by some of the House’s most conservative legislators: Republican Reps. Larry Pittman of Concord, Michael Speciale of New Bern, Carl Ford of Rowan County and Mike Clampitt of Bryson City.

It would have ordered state government to return to the constitutional amendment known as Amendment One, which was approved in a 2012 voter referendum. It also says that same-sex marriages performed in other states wouldn’t be recognized in North Carolina.

The bill – and the national news coverage it received – prompted criticism from several Republican House legislators in the hours before Moore shot it down Wednesday.

Rep. Chuck McGrady, a Hendersonville Republican, posted on Twitter indicating what he called “stupid” bills are often filed without support of most legislators. He mentioned a 2011 bill that called for North Carolina to issue its own legal currency backed by silver and gold.

And Rep. Scott Stone, a Charlotte Republican, suggested that the bill was undeserving of media attention because it was the least likely to pass of 127 House bills filed Tuesday. Stone included an image of actor Robert Downey Jr. rolling his eyes.

Colin Campbell: 919-829-4698, @RaleighReporter