UPDATE: Growing momentum to defeat NC’s anti-gay amendment

As NC's General Assembly debates the anti-gay amendment today, we'll be keeping this post updated with what's happening in Raleigh. Scroll to the end of the post for the latest updates. 

Last week, we told you about the harmful constitutional amendment that anti-gay legislators are fast tracking through the North Carolina General Assembly. State legislators are back in Raleigh today for a special session and a vote is expected on the constitutional amendment by early this week at the latest.

In the days leading up to the special session thousands of North Carolinians have made it clear to their state elected officials that they oppose this discriminatory legislation. Since we emailed Freedom to Marry supporters in North Carolina last week, hundreds of have taken action and contacted their legislators. And today in Raleigh, Equality NC will deliver over 50,000 constituent messages in opposition to the anti-gay amendment.

Business executives, civil rights leaders, and a majority of North Carolinians know that writing discrimination against loving families into the state constitution is wrong. Among the prominent voices in the state speaking out against the amendment include North Carolina's chapter of the NAACP. Last Friday, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, President of the the NC NAACP, issued a strong statement opposing the amendment (h/t Pam's House Blend):

"The NAACP strongly urges you to reject the so-called same sex amendment and any other present or future proposals of constitutional amendments that would permanently deprive any person in our great state of his or her inalienable rights." 

Facebook co-founder and NC-native Chris Hughes is also speaking out against the amendment. Along with his fiance, Freedom to Marry's Sean Eldridge, Chris pledged to donate $10 for every first 1,000 new "likes" on Equality NC's Facebook page. Like dozens of other business leaders, Chris expressed deep concern that the amendment will prohibit NC businesses from recruiting and retaining top talent. From the statement he released on Friday:

"The proposed discriminatory legislation will only perpetuate this stigma for a new generation of creative, talented youth, uninterested in second-class citizenship in a state they call home. Gay and lesbian North Carolinians work hard, contribute to society, and want to protect their families like everyone else. Their families deserve the same respect and the same treatment as everyone else, and they should not be exposed to the derogatory and harmful anti-gay rhetoric that inevitability accompanies these kinds of campaigns. North Carolina deserves better than that. The next Facebook or Apple or Google could be created by another North Carolinian. Be mindful of how you treat them and their families." 

Time is running out for North Carolinians to contact their legislators and urge opposition to the amendment. If you live in North Carolina, don't wait another second to contact your legislators and urge your family and friends to do the same. As the General Assembly debates the amendment this week, we'll be sure to keep you updated on the latest from Raleigh. 

----UPDATE, 1:30 PM EST----

The House Committee is now discussing on the constitutional amendment. You can follow the debate by following the #ncga hashtag on Twitter or watch the live feed here. So far, anti-gay legislators have announced amendments to the legislation that would refer the question to the ballot in May 2012 instead of November 2012. These same legislators are also prohibiting public comments on the bill, saying that the "public won't get to speak because they will get to speak at the ballot box." Guess they don't want to hear from the majority of North Carolinians who oppose this harmful amendment?

----UPDATE 2:00 PM EST----

The House Rules Committee just passed the amendment by a voice vote. It now moves on to the full House for a floor vote, likely later today. 

----UPDATE 2:47 PM EST----

The House is now in session and debating the constitutional amendment. Click here to watch it live. If the actions of anti-gay legislators so far today are any indication, it looks like we're in for quite the debate.