This is one step toward a North Carolina constitutional amendment—and one giant step back for gay rights. Tuesday, the state’s Senate approved legislation that will put a measure to ban gay marriage on the ballot in May 2012. While gay marriage is already illegal in the state, an amendment would create another hurdle for gay rights in the future. Even more damaging, the ban could hurt the chances of benefits given in domestic partnerships. Since the GOP presidential primary will drive voters to the polls, some think the measure will get the votes it needs to pass. While the move to ban is not a surprise, it sets up potentially heated debate in North Carolina in the coming months.