03/10/09 — Officials say 'no' to putting marriage issue on agenda

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Officials say 'no' to putting marriage issue on agenda

By Steve Herring
Published in News on March 10, 2009 1:46 PM

One vote by county commissioners happened so quickly last Tuesday amid the confusion and turmoil of a standing-room-only crowd opposed to a proposed housing project that most people probably missed it.

With little discussion, county commissioners by a 3-4 vote rebuffed an attempt by Commissioner Steve Keen to secure a spot on the March 17 agenda for consideration of state Sen. James Forrester's Defense of Marriage Bill.

The bill, which has been referred to the Senate Ways and Means Committee, seeks a constitutional amendment that in effect would ban gay marriages in the state.

The amendment would recognize marriage between one man and one woman as the only form of marriage valid and recognized by the state.

It calls for a referendum on the Nov. 3 ballot in which people would simply vote "for" or "against" the measure.

Keen and commissioners Andy Anderson, both Republicans, and J.D. Evans, a Democrat, voted for the motion.

Democrats Bud Gray, Jack Best, John Bell and Sandra McCullen voted "no."

There was no discussion by the board.

"All I had wanted to do was to get the resolution on the agenda," Keen said in an interview. "I had just wanted to bring it up for discussion during the commissioners' comments (section of the meeting)."

Keen said commissioners had received a copy of the resolution and had been asked for their support by Joe Haas, executive director of the N.C. Christian Schools Association.

"It is now up to Dr. Joe Haas and organizations that support it to get it on the November ballot," Keen said.