North Carolina has been the only state in the Southeast without a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, but that may change. A state House committee approved a measure that, if passed by a supermajority of legislators, would put the amendment to a public vote in May.

The vote was moved from November to May over criticism that Republicans might have ulterior motives — just as George W. Bush’s political allies are said to have engineered similar votes in 2004 to help turn out a more conservative electorate. This way legislators can be sure their motives are purely bigoted and not political. Wouldn’t that be unsavory. — PZS

AP via the Houston Chronicle:

Republicans pushing the question said they move up the proposed referendum by six months as a way to try to bring on board more undecided legislators. It’s also designed to put aside criticisms that having it on the ballot next November was designed to boost turnout among conservative Christians and others opposed to gay marriage, House Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg.

North Carolina is expected to be a battleground state next year, since Barack Obama won the state’s electoral votes in 2008 by only 13,000 votes and North Carolina is hosting the Democratic National Convention. Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue also faces a tough re-election fight next year.

“I think what we’re trying to do is respect some who thought this (amendment) was solely a political consideration,” Tillis said at a news conference, adding that the bill is “about putting a question to the people.”

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