An official in western North Carolina has accepted marriage license requests from 10 same-sex couples, despite a 2012 amendment to the state constitution forbidding such marriages. Buncombe County Register of Deeds Drew Reisinger said he will hold the licenses and ask state Attorney General Roy Cooper for legal advice. Reisinger said he thinks the state’s ban is unconstitutional. Cooper said Monday that he supports gay marriage. But he has said he’ll defend the state’s constitutional ban on gay marriage. A spokeswoman for Cooper’s office said the marriage licenses cannot be issued.
The Buncombe County Clerk has asked the state AG to answer three questions. The Progressive Pulse reports:
Reisinger has formally asked the Attorney General to give his legal opinion on the following points:
1. Under the precedent created by the Windsor decision by the US Supreme Court, does our current practice of treating North Carolina same sex couples differently than both straight couples in North Carolina and same sex couples married outside of the state violate the federal and North Carolina Equal Protection constitutional clauses?
2. Under Windsor and the US Equal Protection Clause, can I, and Registers of Deeds across North Carolina, begin to provide marriage licenses to same sex couples in North Carolina?
3. Does Section 6, Article XIV of the North Carolina Constitution violate state and federal equal protection requirements?
I’d like to see the AG try to answer no to any of these.