Republican state Rep. Dale Folwell, who is co-sponsoring an effort to make marriage discrimination a part of North Carolina's state constitution, asserted Monday that without the constitutional amendment, LGBT people would actually be at a risk of losing rights.
To back up his argument, Folwell cited a decision by the Univ. of Rochester requiring domestic partners to get married to continue receiving health care benefits after New York legalized same sex marriage.
"I've met with the opposition," Folwell said during a House Rules Committee debate. "And like in every bill that I've ever worked on, when I meet with with the opposition, I learn something. Recently I met with the professor over at -- [Dr. Maxine Eichner] from UNC Chapel Hill -- and I asked this question... Is it possible that if we don't bring certainty to this issue in North Carolina -- give people an opportunity to vote on it -- is it possible that people that she advocates for can actually lose rights?"
"What we just learned after I asked that question, today or last week the University of Rochester, a private institution in New York that previously gave health care rights to same sex couples, are now rescinding those rights by saying that if you want to receive health care benefits then you have to get married. So, that's a right that was taken away from a private institution because of laws being uncertain."
Since North Carolina is banning same sex marriage instead of legalizing it, many may question the logic of Folwell's claim.
The Rules Committee subsequently gave the bill a favorable report, sending it to the House floor.
The full House could vote on the measure as soon as Monday afternoon.