Same-Sex Marriage

Gavel
www.stockmonkeys.com / Flickr Creative Commons

A new lawsuit challenges the law that allows magistrates to opt out of presiding over same-sex marriages if they oppose it for religious reasons.

Plaintiffs claim the measure is discriminatory and elevates a specific religious belief. But proponents of the law say it balances freedom of religion with the rights of same-sex couples.

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

In a 5-4 ruling today, the U.S. Supreme Court said all 50 states must recognize marriages between same-sex couples. The decision also means those couples can now get married anywhere and have their marriages recognized in all states.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the decision for the majority. Each dissenting justice also wrote his own opinion.

Host Frank Stasio talks with WUNC capitol bureau chief Jeff Tiberii about this morning's ruling.

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

The North Carolina legislature voted to override a veto by Governor McCrory. The move puts a measure into law that allows magistrates who disagree with same-sex marriage to opt out of performing marriages.

And Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton speaks out against voting restrictions like the one’s passed by the North Carolina General Assembly in 2013. Republican leaders push back, saying voting regulation is a state issue. 

Image of the North Carolina Legislative Building in Raleigh, North Carolina
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Jmturner

The legislature considers controversial measures on gun regulations and magistrates performing same-sex marriages.

And Governor Pat McCrory says he will sign a bill that increases the waiting period for an abortion, a move that contradicts his campaign promise. 

NC General Assembly
Jorge Valencia

North Carolina senators voted on Monday night to override Gov. Pat McCrory’s veto of a bill that would allow some court officials to opt out of same-sex marriage duties based on “sincerely held religious” objections.

The Senate, in a largely party-line vote of 32 to 16, confirmed its support to give magistrates the option, although they would be required to stop performing all marriage duties.

Pat McCrory
Dave DeWitt

Gov. Pat McCrory vetoed two bills this week that stirred controversy as they passed through the state legislature. 

House Bill 405- dubbed by opponents as an "ag-gag" bill- would have allowed businesses to sue employees who secretly recorded animal abuse or other illegal activity. The bill applied to farms, along with businesses like restaurants and daycare centers.

Photo: Craig Johnson (left) and Shawn Long (center) with their son Isaiah Johnson.
Equality NC

North Carolina lawmakers pushed through two of the year’s most controversial measures on Wednesday afternoon, limiting debate and quickly ushering proposals that could reduce some same-sex couples’ access to marriage ceremonies and extend the waiting period for abortion procedures.

While House and Senate members debated in separate hearings, the measures over gay marriage and abortions are intertwined social issues that attract vigorous advocacy from conservative and liberal groups.

Same-sex married couple
Reema Khrais

The Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) awarded WUNC  with an impressive six Edward R. Murrow Awards on Thursday. The Murrow Awards honor outstanding achievement in electronic journalism. This is the fifth year in a row WUNC has received regional awards.

Six is the most Murrow Awards awarded by any large market radio station this year. WUNC led its market with awards for a large market radio station. The 2015 regional winners include: 

Breaking News

Reema Khrais

A state House judiciary committee heard public comment Wednesday on a bill that would allow magistrates and registers of deeds to opt-out of performing marriages altogether if they are opposed to same-sex unions for religious reasons. 

Senate Bill 2 quickly passed in the Senate last week and is now before the House for consideration. At Wednesday’s meeting, a group of House lawmakers heard from nine members of the public, most who oppose the legislation.

Two men marry on one of the first days that same-sex marriage was legal in N.C.
Alex Miller via Twitter

North Carolina's Republican legislative leaders plan to appeal a ruling that struck down the state's gay marriage ban. Legal experts, though, say any appeal would face an uphill battle.

Cheyenne and Tish at the Durham County Register of Deeds. Monday 10/13/14
Reema Khrais

On Friday, a federal judge in Asheville struck down the state's gay marriage ban, opening the way for the first same-sex weddings in the state.  U.S. District Court Judge Max Cogburn, Jr. issued a ruling shortly after 5:00 p.m. declaring the ban approved by state voters in 2012 unconstitutional. A few weddings happened late on Friday, more on Monday and Tuesday.

Marcie (left) and Chantelle Fisher-Borne, adoption day. Monday 10/14/14
Reema Khrais

Marcie and Chantelle Fisher-Borne have been together for 18 years. They have two kids, 6-year-old Miley and 2-year-old Elijah. Marcie Fisher-Borne gave birth to Miley and Chantelle Fisher-Borne gave birth to Eli. So each parent has been considered a 'legal stranger' to one of their kids.

They were at the Durham County Courthouse Monday because same-sex marriage is now legal in North Carolina. And that means they can adopt as a family.

The Rev. John L. Saxon presided over the marriage of Lynn Gaskins, 31, left, and Christy Alston, 34, outside of the Wake County Justice Center
Jorge Valencia

Dozens of same-sex couples have been rushing to county courthouses throughout the state to get married.

While many say they're full of excitement, there are also some nerves: Questions about what it means to get married, and what their family will legally look like.

Some who oppose gay marriage are also making their voices heard.

Lynn Gaskins and Christy Alston got married in Raleigh on Monday. Even after the ceremony, Alston was edgy.

"I'm nervous. Still nervous. It's a big responsibility. I can't believe I'm married now. Wow."

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.

Ronald Williams (left) and David Moore, partners of 36 years, received their wedding license Monday 10/13/2014
Jeff Tiberii

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.

Same-sex couples in Alaska and North Carolina are receiving marriage licenses, after courts in those states recently overturned bans on gay marriage. The two states are part of the cascading effects of the Supreme Court's refusal to review any appeals in same-sex marriage cases in its current term.

Many around the state were on pins and needles Friday, wondering if the state's gay marriage ban would be lifted. WUNC was tracking the information, and reporting all throughout the day.

Update Friday 6:05 p.m.:

A federal judge in Asheville has struck down the state's gay marriage ban, opening the way for the first same-sex weddings in the state to begin immediately.  U.S. District Court Judge Max Cogburn, Jr. issued a ruling shortly after 5:00 p.m. declaring the ban approved by state voters in 2012 unconstitutional.  

Nancy Ruth Best and Wynolia Apple plan to get married next Sunday after being together for 23 years.
Reema Khrais

Same-sex couples are expected to head to Register of Deeds offices across the state today to get marriage licenses. A federal judge overturned the state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage late Friday.

That case was filed by a group of clergy members. They argued that not being able to marry gay couples violated their freedom of religion. This weekend, many churches celebrated the decision, including Pilgrim United Church of Christ in Durham.

Wake County Register of Deeds Laura Riddick after announcing to Chris Creech (left), 46, and Chad Biggs, 35, the first couple who would be getting a license there.
Jorge Valencia

Same-sex marriage is now legal in North Carolina. This comes after a two-year battle in the courts and one week of high anticipation. Late on Friday afternoon, a federal judge in Asheville declared the state's constitutional ban on gay marriage illegal.

Chad Biggs and Chris Creech got married at 6:02 p.m. in front of the bright lights of television and still cameras.

It wasn't the kind of intimacy they'd once imagined, but it was in Wake County and close to home -- unlike the time they flew to another state to try to legally marry.

Winston-Salem City Government has extended benefits to same-sex couples who were married in other states.
www.wxii12.com/

    

The Winston-Salem city government is now offering benefits to same-sex partners who are married. 

Jane Blackburn and Lyn McCoy speak at an ACLU news conference.
Carol Jackson

ACLU attorneys challenging the state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in North Carolina plan to ask a U.S. District Court judge in Greensboro for swift resolution of the issue. This comes after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit struck down Virginia’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage on Monday. Since that court has jurisdiction over North Carolina, supporters of same-sex marriage here say it’s only a matter of time before this state’s ban crumbles as well.

Teachers at North Carolina's military bases are preparing for up to five furlough days due to cuts from the sequester
Fort Bragg

Jasmine Pollard is an Army reservist. She had just gotten back from a nine-month deployment when she and her now wife decided to marry. The ceremony was in California, a state that allows same-sex marriages.

Her wife also serves. She's a medic stationed at Fort Bragg. So Jasmine, 20, decided to move back East so they could be together. She'd hoped to go to school, taking advantage of a federal law the says military dependents can receive in-state tuition rates.

She ran into problems.

She called Fayetteville State University to ask about the waiver.

Photo: Rev. William Barber (center) is the lead organizer of the Moral Monday movement.
Jorge Valencia

Hundreds of protesters gathered outside of the Legislative Building Monday afternoon. It was the beginning of what they say is a second year of rallies in response to laws passed by the state’s Republican-led legislature.

Like many of last year’s Moral Monday rallies, this one started like a party. But it wasn’t exactly a celebration. People protested new laws affecting education, Medicaid and voting.

Mark Chilton
Chilton for Register of Deeds / Facebook

Orange County Register of Deeds is not typically a politically volatile position. But Mark Chilton made national headlines when he won the race to become the next register on Tuesday. That's because a primary focus of Chilton's campaign was that he would effectively break state laws banning gay marriage by signing marriage licenses presented by same-sex couples.

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. 

Pages