By GARY D. ROBERTSON
RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- North Carolina voters will get to vote next May on a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in the state.
The Senate voted 30-16 Tuesday in favor of putting the question on the statewide primary ballot. The number of yes votes was just enough to approve the constitutional amendment. The House approved the measure Monday.
While 30 states already have similar prohibitions in their constitutions, North Carolina is the only state in the Southeast without one.
State law already defines marriage as between a man and a woman, but amendment supporters argue traditional marriage would be better protected against potential legal challenges by same-sex couples in six other states.
Opponents say the question will diminish the state's business climate by perception that gays and lesbians aren't welcome.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
STATEMENT FROM SENATOR THOM GOOLSBY:
"Our vote today will place this issue on the May ballot and allow the people of our state -- not some activist judge -- to defend marriage. I completely trust my fellow North Carolinians to make the right decision."