Amendment One

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

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.

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