Same-Sex Marriage Applicants to Test NC County
An official in western North Carolina has accepted marriage license requests from 10 same-sex couples, despite a 2012 amendment to the state constitution forbidding such marriages.
Buncombe County Register of Deeds Drew Reisinger said he will hold the licenses and ask state Attorney General Roy Cooper for legal advice. Reisinger said he thinks the state’s ban is unconstitutional.
Cooper said Monday that he supports gay marriage. But he has said he’ll defend the state’s constitutional ban on gay marriage. A spokeswoman for Cooper’s office said the marriage licenses cannot be issued.
Brenda Clark and Carol McCrory, a couple who have been together for 25 years, were the first to ask Reisinger for a license Tuesday morning.
Reisinger congratulated them, then said he would ask the attorney general for permission before signing their license.
"I think it’s pretty clear that there is a contradiction between state law and federal law, and we want some clarification," Reisinger said.
McCrory praised Reisinger for his courage in accepting their marriage license request. "I’m very proud of you," she said.
The Campaign for Southern Equality has been going from county to county, trying to find someone to issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples as part of its "We Do" campaign.
The Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, executive director of the Campaign for Southern Equality, called Reisinger’s action "another step forward in the path to full equality for LGBT people."
Before the 10 couples applied for marriage licenses Tuesday, Beach-Ferrara and 100 supporters gathered in a downtown Asheville church to encourage them.