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By GARY D. ROBERTSON
Associated Press

RALEIGH, NC (AP) — A divided North Carolina House committee has sent to the floor a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage if voters statewide agree next spring.

The House Rules Committee approved Monday the question after about a half-hour of debate. The full House was expected to take up the matter later in the day. Three-fifths of the House members must vote yes twice on the measure before it can move on to the Senate.

The Republican chairman of the committee didn’t allow any public comment from the audience about the bill. House Democratic leader Joe Hackney said the question was being rushed through and its contents could have long-term unintended consequences.

The referendum would be held on next May’s primary date.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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