NC House Speaker: Amendment One ‘Will Be Repealed Within 20 Years’

North Carolina Speaker of the House Thom Tillis (R)

When North Carolinians head to the polls on May 8, one of the issues they will vote on is Amendment One, a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnerships. (The state already has a law making same-sex marriage illegal.) Polls have sometimes split on the issue, but one released earlier this week found 58 percent of voters supported the discriminatory amendment. It appears, however, that one of its more prominent supporters does not think it will succeed, at least in the long term.

In a visit to the campus of North Carolina State University last night, House Speaker Thom Tillis (R) took questions from students on a variety of issues, including Amendment One. Tillis predicted the amendment would ultimately pass, but expressed doubt that it would stay in the constitution for long:

A question and answer session prompted questions on students’ minds, among those issues the upcoming Amendment One that would constitutionally ban homosexual marriage. “It’s a generational issue,” Tillis said. “The data shows right now that you are a generation away from that issue.”

According to Tillis, researchers have predicted Amendment One will pass with approximately 54 percent, but Tillis, who voted to pass the amendment, believes it won’t remain long. “If it passes, I think it will be repealed within 20 years,” Tillis said.

Tillis was a strong backer of the bill at one point, trotting out “data” on how heterosexual marriages were “more stable and nurturing” and fast-tracking the bill through the House without public comment. Since then, Tillis has tried to dodge responsibility for his role in pushing the referendum as other Republicans have walked back their support over fears it would be too far-reaching. (A spokesman said that Tillis still supports the bill.)

This was not the first time a college student had questioned his support of Amendment One, which may have influenced his statement that marriage equality is a “generational issue.” College students are not the only one who oppose Amendment One, however: President Obama, Gov. Bev Perdue, and the North Carolina Libertarian Party are a few of the individuals or organizations who have stated their opposition.

Zachary Bernstein