Many same-sex couples across the state received wedding licenses today after a federal judge ruled late Friday that North Carolina's ban on same sex marriage was unconstitutional. Although it's a federal holiday, county officials were at work processing marriage applications this morning. Many couples held ceremonies immediately afterward, while others are waiting until later this week.
Ronald Williams and David Moore met on this day in 1978. Jimmy Carter was president, a stamp cost 15 cents and the movie Grease was still in theaters
"It was a little bar here, near UNC-G called Davies. I remember drinking Seven-and-Seven," remembered Moore. (A Seven-and-Seven mixes Seagram's Seven Crown and Seven Up.) "Standing at the front of the bar and I said 'You got to dance with me tonight.'"
"We danced a couple of times and the night was over. And the next day I called him and asked if he would like to go to Charlotte the next night. He said sure. And we've been going ever since," Williams said.
Williams and Moore are now 59 and 57. They admit they never thought this day would come.
"It's a surprise and I'm just glad the discrimination is over with, because that's what it was plain and simple, was discrimination - it has been a long-time coming," Moore said.
Change Hard For Some
Jeff Thigpen is the Guilford County Register of Deeds. He says his job is to act as an officer of the state constitution, adding that his staff has been exemplary even though they don't all necessarily agree with the change.
"What will make it an easier transition is if we learn to listen to one another and to hear each other out and move this into a place where we can protect and respect and do it in a way that has a sense of integrity, no matter what your personal position is," Thigpen added.
About 40 same-sex couples had filled out licenses to wed as of mid-day Monday. Thigpen expects a steady stream of partners to fill out the new non-gender specific forms in the next few weeks. He's fielding lots of questions:
- How do I change my name?
- Do second parent adoption rights apply now?
- What are the tax implications of marriage?
Thigpen says couples should consult an attorney for accurate answers to those questions.
As for Ronald Williams and David Moore, the two who first danced 36 years ago, they plan to make it official with a small ceremony on Wednesday.