RALEIGH, North Carolina, September 13, 2011 ( – North Carolina voters have been granted a chance to vote on a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman next year.

The state Senate voted 30-16, with one Republican absent, to approve the measure Tuesday afternoon.

State Senator Warren Daniel of Morganton told that the amendment will go on the GOP primary ballot in May 2012. 

“The people of this state, not judges, bureaucrats, or politicians, should define marriage, which I personally believe should be between one man and one woman,” said Daniel.

The amendment says that marriage “between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state,” effectively banning homosexual domestic partnerships and civil unions as well.

The amendment effort faces high-profile opposition: yesterday, Facebook co-founder and North Carolina native Chris Hughes and his homosexual partner Sean Eldridge announced a campaign to raise money against the marriage amendment.

Hughes and Eldridge plan to donate $10 for every person who “likes” the gay activist group Equality NC by Tuesday, for up to 1,000 new members.

While North Carolina already has a 1996 law defining marriage as between a man and a woman, it is the only southeastern state without a constitutional marriage amendment. A majority of states has a similar constitutional amendment.

Tuesday’s vote required three-fifths of the Senate, or 30 votes, to pass, and followed Monday’s 75-42 vote by the North Carolina House to let voters decide on the marriage amendment. Monday’s vote met the 72 House-vote requirement for proposed constitutional changes.

The question had been set to appear on the November 2012 general election ballot, but supporters moved it to May to secure the support of Democrats who called the proposed amendment a political move designed to draw conservative voters to the polls in the battleground state. President Barack Obama won North Carolina by just 13,000 votes in 2008. 10 House Democrats wound up voting for the amendment.

However, the May vote makes it more likely that the amendment will succeed because Republicans will be drawn to the polls by the GOP presidential primary. A simple majority of primary election votes would be needed to write the marriage amendment into the Constitution.

A Civitas poll in August found that 49% of North Carolina’s unaffiliated voters supporters a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman.