Five North Carolina state lawmakers held a town hall Thursday night to discuss the pending constitutional amendments the legislature is scheduled to take-up next week, including one measure to outlaw same-sex marriage. A majority of North Carolinians say they oppose changing the constitution but that didn’t stop state Sen. James Forrester (R) — who is also a medical doctor — from describing homosexuality as an “unhealthy lifestyle” and urging gay people to “change their lifestyle” back “to the normal lifestyle we can accept”:
FORRESTER: I’ve got a few homosexual patients and I treat them just the same as anybody else. I love them perhaps even more because I know they are going to die at least 20 years earlier and it’s something I have no control over and we need to reach out to them to try to get them to change their lifestyle and back to the normal lifestyle which we can accept.
He added that the gay “lifestyle” is decreased by at least 20 years and predicted that “If this bill does not pass then homosexuality will be taught into public school as the norm.” “Do you want that? No. The homosexuals want to have their lifestyle considered normal,” Forrester said.
The amendment would have to pass both the House and the Senate by a three-fifth majority and would then go before voters on the November 2012 ballot. A 1996 state law already outlaws same-sex marriage, but supporters of the measure argue that a constitutional amendment would prevent judges from overturning it and instituting marriage equality.