People in the US state of North Carolina will vote on the definition of marriage next year after politicians approved a referendum on the issue.
But voters in Britain will not get the same chance as the issue will be decided at the Scottish and Westminster Parliaments.
Phil Berger, a Senator in the North Carolina state legislature, said: “It is time for us to let the people of this state decide what they want in their constitution as far as marriage is concerned”.
Last month in North Carolina the House of Representatives voted to allow the referendum by 75 to 42 and the Senate later agreed. The referendum, to amend the state constitution, may take place in May next year.
Marriage is defined as being between a man and a woman in the state but the amendment will prevent courts from forcing a redefintion on people in North Carolina.
Since 1998, in every state where citizens have had the opportunity to vote on the definition of marriage, they have backed the traditional definition.
Senator Berger also commented that the vote “may pass, it may fail”. “But”, he continued, “it is time for them to make that decision about their constitution”.
The Westminster Government has announced plans to hold a public consultation, asking how – not if – the legal definition of marriage should be changed to allow homosexual marriage.
In Scotland, the Government said its initial view is that it supports redefining marriage for homosexuals. It is running a consultation, saying that all views will be listened to.
Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, has warned that redefining marriage would have “huge implications” for Scottish society and schools.
And Philip Tartaglia, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Paisley, has warned that the governing Scottish National Party does not deserve the support of Scotland’s 800,000 Roman Catholics because of its controversial proposal.