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By GARY D. ROBERTSON
Associated Press

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.)

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