By GARY D. ROBERTSON
RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- Republican leaders in the North Carolina House say it's time for lawmakers to let the people decide whether to place a gay marriage ban in the state constitution.
House Majority Leader Paul Stam and Speaker Pro Tempore Dale Folwell led a news conference Tuesday explaining reasons why the General Assembly should place a constitutional question on the ballot in November 2012. The Legislature returns to consider amendments in a session that resumes in two weeks.
State law already defines marriage as between a man and a woman, but Stam says the amendment would protect the law from legal challenges.
Alex Miller with the gay rights group Equality North Carolina says it's shameful for lawmakers to put a question on the ballot that would damage the rights of a few people.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)