Same-Sex Couples Register Marriage Licenses in NC
For Lisa and Cindy Bovee-Kemper, the Tuesday morning trip to the Buncombe County Register of Deeds office was a symbolic one.
Despite North Carolina’s ban on gay marriage, the women, who were married in New York two years ago, became the first same-sex couple to register their out-of-state marriage documents at the county’s office in Asheville. While their registration has no practical effect, they believed it was significant.
"This was important because we are legal strangers in North Carolina," said Lisa, an assistant pastor. "Even though North Carolina doesn’t recognize our marriage, there’s something important about existing in public records."
The couple signed up as part of the Campaign for Southern Equality’s effort to bring attention to the state’s gay marriage ban.
The Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, who is the group’s executive director, said it was critical for same-sex couples to register their licenses - something she will do later this week.
Beach-Ferrara and her partner, Meghann Burke, were legally married Oct. 25, 2008, in Massachusetts. They live in Asheville.
"When we register our marriage license at the Buncombe County Register of Deeds office, we will create a public record that demonstrates our love and commitment. No one will be able to deny that," she said.
Last week, the Buncombe County register of deeds became one of the first officials in the South to take marriage license applications from same-sex couples. Drew Reisinger believes the state’s ban is unconstitutional. State officials have said his office can’t issue such licenses.