Amendment One

Chad Biggs (left), 35, and Chris Creech, 46, were the first gay couple to be wed in Wake County.
Jorge Valencia / WUNC

The North Carolina Senate approved on Wednesday a plan to allow magistrate judges who oppose same-sex marriage on religious grounds to refuse to preside over any wedding.

The proposed legislation, which passed on a mostly party-line 82 to 16 vote, is a direct response to federal court rulings in October of 2014 that struck down North Carolina’s constitutional ban on same-sex unions.   

Betty Mack and Carol Taylor of Asheville, partners of 41 years, show their marriage certificate
Casey Blake via Twitter

A judge's decision last week to legalize same-sex marriage in North Carolina has brought out many polarizing opinions.  Political candidates and office-holders have come down on either side of the debate.  Among them are the two men who may face off for governor in 2016. 

Andy Taylor is a political science professor at N.C. State University.  He says Roy Cooper and Gov. Pat McCrory could see the fallout from this legal issue spill into their potential campaigns.

A sign stating "Vote Here".
flickr.com/photos/zen

  

When North Carolina voters go to the polls this year, many will quickly fill-in their decisions for major elections.

On the ballot they’ll find the U.S. Senate race, state legislature races, county commissioners, and the North Carolina Supreme Court race.

But way down at the end of the ballot will be a proposed constitutional amendment. Unlike Amendment One in 2012, most changes to the constitution do not receive national media attention.

Photo: The U.S. Supreme Court building
Flickr user Sno Shuu

A federal judge in Greensboro could clear the way for gay marriage in North Carolina, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal on Monday to hear five pending same-sex marriage cases.

Middle District Court Judge William Osteen, who has the authority to order North Carolina to allow same-sex unions, said on Monday that he wanted to hear from both parties in a case challenging the state’s constitutional Amendment One, defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

Shana Carignan (left) and Megan Parker with Jax
North Carolina ACLU

The national and state ACLU have filed lawsuits in federal district court in Greensboro, asking a judge to block the state's marriage amendment.
 

The ACLU has asked for a preliminary injunction to prevent Amendment One from remaining in effect for one of the families in a pre-existing lawsuit seeking to overturn the state's ban on same-sex marriage. It's also filing a separate lawsuit on behalf of three other same-sex couples in the state. Chris Brook is the legal director of the ACLU of North Carolina.

Gold Seal For United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
ca4.uscourts.gov / United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

  

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals is preparing to hear the appeal of a federal judge’s ruling that struck down Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban in February. The decision could have implications for North Carolina's ban on same-sex marriage. 

North Carolina voters recently approved an amendment to the state constitution defining marriage as between one man and one woman. The amendment outlaws same sex marriage and threatens the recognition of civil unions and domestic partnerships.

North Carolina is now the thirty-first state to add an amendment banning same-sex marriage to its constitution.

Jessica Jones: Backers of North Carolina's amendment to ban same-sex marriage and civil unions celebrated last night at the North Raleigh Hilton. Kim Creech made a seven-layer white wedding cake that she helped distribute to other supporters.

Kim Creech: was praying that it would happen. And I was glad that it wasn't any more drawn out than it was.

The amendment to ban gay marriage and civil union is now part of the North Carolina constitution. Voters passed the amendment by 20 percentage points. It was a decisive victory for those who believe marriage should legally be between only one man and one woman. The Amendment’s direct legal effects are unknown, but could be wide-ranging and take years to realize. But its impact on same-sex families in the state will be more direct and immediate. Dave DeWitt spent the evening with such a family and has their story.

Advocates are furiously trying to sway undecided voters in the last day before a decision is made on a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage and civil union.

North Carolina's early voting period comes to an end today.

Gurnal Scott: Several key races and a controversial amendment question on marriage has kept voters coming out up to this last day to vote before Tuesday's primary. State board of Elections executive director Gary Bartlett says the last two weeks have had ebbs and flows.

Differing Views Of Amendment In Hickory Church

May 2, 2012
Reverend Doctor T. Anthony Spearman
John Biewen

North Carolina voters will decide on Tuesday whether to join thirty other states that have amended their constitutions to ban same-sex marriage. North Carolina law already defines marriage as between a man and a woman; the amendment would enshrine heterosexual marriage in the constitution, and ban civil unions. Those for and against the measure have focused their efforts on mobilizing people of faith. Reporter John Biewen followed the debate over gay marriage in an African American church in Hickory.

The debate over a proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and civil unions includes its potential economic impact.

With the May 8th vote less than two weeks away, the battle over a proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and civil unions is heating up. For our series examining the arguments over the amendment, Isaac-Davy Aronson looks at one of the claims made by its opponents.

A proposed amendment to the state constitution banning gay marriage and civil unions has divided religious communities. For our series examining the arguments over the amendment, Isaac-Davy Aronson spoke to two North Carolina faith leaders.

Isaac-Davy Aronson: Michael Curry is the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina. He opposes the amendment.

Michael Curry: This is coming out of my faith, as a Christian, as an Episcopal bishop, as an African American man, you don't do harm to people.

NC’s Amendment Decision

Apr 24, 2012

North Carolina voters have been asked to decide on a constitutional amendment to provide that marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union recognized in the state. There's a lot of information and debate surrounding the ballot question and the implications of the amendment are fraught, but polls suggest many North Carolinians don't really know what it is or what it would do.

A proposed amendment to the North Carolina constitution would define marriage between one man and one woman as the only valid or recognized domestic legal union in the state. Opponents of the amendment claim its wording would put certain protections and benefits at risk for all unmarried couples and their children. Among them: child custody and visitation rights.

Official Amendment Language And Explanation

Apr 17, 2012

Official language and explanation of the proposed amendment to the North Carolina Constitution from the State Board of Elections:

The 2011 General Assembly approved a measure (Session Law 2011-409) that would put language into the North Carolina Constitution related to legally recognized marriages in the state.

The proposed amendment to Article 14 of the North Carolina Constitution would add a new section, to be called Section 6. It would read as follows:

Yesterday we heard from a volunteer who belongs to the main advocacy group working to pass a constitutional amendment barring gay marriage and civil unions on the May 8th ballot. Yesterday’s profile focused on one man’s belief that the state constitution should follow the Bible when it comes to same-sex marriage. Today’s profile features a middle-aged mother of two who says she opposes the measure because she understands how discrimination feels.

Kevin Daniels
Jessica Jones

A few weeks from now, North Carolinians will go to the polls to decide whether to add an amendment to the state constitution defining marriage as between a man and a woman, and banning civil unions. State law already defines marriage as only between a man and a woman, but proponents of the measure called Amendment One, saying it would be an additional safeguard to protect traditional unions. In the first of a two-part series profiling volunteers for and against the amendment, Jessica Jones introduces us to one who's for it.

A proposed amendment to the North Carolina constitution banning gay marriage and civil unions is just two sentences. But opponents of the measure say if voters approve it on May 8th, protections and benefits for unmarried couples and their children could be jeopardized. As part of our series examining the arguments over Amendment One, Isaac-Davy Aronson looks at whether a few words could change so much.

On May 8th, North Carolinians will vote on an amendment to the state constitution that would ban gay marriage and civil unions. Opponents of Amendment One claim the measure would have far-reaching consequences for gay and straight families alike. One claim is that some unmarried people and their children could lose health care coverage. Isaac-Davy Aronson reports for our series examining the arguments over Amendment One.

Multiple perspectives will get an airing at a panel this evening on the proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and civil unions in North Carolina.

The discussion at Meredith College will be moderated by religious and ethical studies assistant professor Steven Benko. He says legal experts on both sides of the issue will offer analysis of the law. And religious leaders will also participate.

The Wake County Board of Commissioners voted to endorse the upcoming statewide ballot measure to ban gay marriage. Dave DeWitt reports that the vote was along party lines.

Dave DeWitt: Board Chair Paul Coble spearheaded the Wake Commissioners’ effort to support the amendment that would ban gay marriage. Three of his Republican colleagues also voted yes. The three democrats voted no.

About 20 people spoke out before the vote was taken, just one was in favor of the ban. The majority of speakers called it heavy-handed and an intrusion of privacy.