A bill would allow mayors to officiate at weddings.
Senate Bill 992 was sponsored by freshman Democratic Sen. Don Davis, the former mayor of Snow Hill, N.C.
The Senate had little debate on the issue, though Sen. Jim Forrester said that he had hoped to add an amendment that would have put a constitutional ban on gay marriage up for a statewide referendum.
Forrester filed a separate bill on the gay-marriage ban that Senate leadership essentially killed by leaving it in committee.
"If we don't get it in the constitution, I'm afraid it's going to happen to us just like Vermont," he said.
The bill passed 35-9 and now heads to the House.
Several other bills this session have also sought to expand who can perform weddings. One already signed into law by Gov. Beverly Perdue, allows Superior Court judges to officiate.
Another bill stuck in a House committee would have allowed any judge, while a third would allow retired judges. A Senate bill to allow any judge passed and is now before a House committee.