It has been an insane day for anyone trying to follow North Carolina Republicans’ tactics for passing a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. As WRAL pointed out on Twitter, the measure changed chambers, committees, bill numbers, content, and ballot date all in the period of about 75 minutes. Rather than the Senate debating it as was expected after Friday’s leak, the House took up the measure, passing it out of committee in about an hour this afternoon without taking any public comment. Majority Leader Paul Stam (R) said the “public won’t get to speak because they will get to speak at the ballot box.” The proposed ballot initiative has been rescheduled to a May vote because Speaker Thom Tillis (R) wanted to remove the argument that the amendment was politically motivated by being on the November ballot.
During the Rules Committee debate, Stam acknowledged that he worked with lawyer Austin Nimocks in developing the language of the amendment. Nimocks works for the Alliance Defense Fund, an anti-gay Christian group, and he recently testified before Congress in defense of the Defense of Marriage Act.