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North Carolina Judge OK’s GOP Intervention, Says It’s a Waste of Time

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

North Carolina MapThe GOP and NOM have been granted the standing to intervene in a marriage equality case in North Carolina. Joe.My.God reports:

United States District Court Judge William Osteen today ruled that the GOP/NOM legal team has the standing to appeal North Carolina’s marriage equality case… But check out this smackdown towards the end of the ruling: Notwithstanding some of the ongoing cases on a national level, this discussion is merely academic in this court. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has issued its ruling in Bostic. As recognized by the district court in General Synod, this district court, sitting in North Carolina and the Fourth Circuit, is bound to apply that law. The parties to this case have the right to expect nothing less, whether they agree with the law or not. The issue presently before this court is solely whether to permit intervention for the purpose of preserving and taking an appeal. Although it is a very close issue, this court concludes that the motion to intervene should be granted, but only for the purpose of lodging an objection and preserving that objection to this court’s application of Bostic.

In otherwords, you’ll get your day in court, but at this point you’re just wasting everyone’s time and money.

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Victory in North Carolina – Asheville Judge Overturns Marriage Equality Ban

Friday, October 10th, 2014

North Carolina MapOK, here we go – the expected ruling in North Carolina has finally been handed down by a Federal judge in Asheville.

Think Progress reports:

District Judge Max Cogburn ruled in a very short decision that North Carolina’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Unlike the many federal rulings that preceded Cogburn’s, he didn’t have to write much, because all he had to do was point to the Fourth Circuit’s now-binding ruling against Virginia’s ban. Still, he noted that same-sex marriage is “neither a political issue nor a moral issue,” but a “legal issue” that is now settled law. Cogburn’s ruling permanently enjoined North Carolina’s ban, and the effect of lifting Idaho’s stay was immediate, meaning marriage equality is now the law in both states.

The ruling opens the door for gay and lesbian couples to marry now in North Carolina.

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Marriage Equality: What’s Going On in North Carolina

Friday, October 10th, 2014

North Carolina MapAnd in North Carolina, the march toward marriage equality in the wake of the non-decision continues. Here’s what happened yesterday.

The state’s GOP leaders hired the Chairman of the National Organization for Marriage, of all people, to head up their attempt to intervene in the case. LGBTQ Nation reports:

House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate leader Phil Berger filed a motion seeking to intervene in legal challenges to the state’s gay marriage ban approved by voters in 2012. They also asked for a one-week delay to file additional documents. The GOP legislators have hired California lawyer John C. Eastman, chairman of the conservative National Organization for Marriage. Berger spokeswoman Shelly Carver said Eastman has agreed to forgo his first $10,000 in legal fees. After that, he will be paid $400 an hour.

Seriously. I guess they couldn’t find an impartial lawyer to take the case? The state asked for an 8 day delay to prepare their case, but a judge shot the request down. Joe.My.God reports:

…the attorneys requested an extension of eight days to make their arguments against same-sex marriage. Late Thursday evening, U.S. District Court Judge William Osteen issued an order denying their request. “In light of the stage of this litigation, and the arguments and positions previously asserted by both parties to this case, this court does not find good cause to extend the time for filing a proposed Answer,” Osteen’s order read. The judge gave them until noon tomorrow to file their motion to intervene.

In the meantime, church leaders and court officials were preparing for same sex weddings. The News Observer reports:

As the legal machinations grind on, prospective spouses, church leaders and court officials are preparing for the unprecedented change in North Carolina’s legal definition of marriage that could arrive any day. There were no lines of hopeful couples at the Wake County Justice Center on Thursday, but court employees cased the lobby, planning for potentially large crowds and trying to keep TV camera crews out of the way. In the office of the register of deeds, Laura Riddick, employees prepared to modify hundreds of marriage documents by hand. The state hasn’t yet given much guidance, according to Riddick.

Gay and lesbian couples are waiting, too. LGBTQ Nation reports:

Same-sex couples in North Carolina are eagerly awaiting federal court rulings they hope will allow them to get married. Lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina filed a request late Wednesday asking Chief U.S. District Court Judge William L. Osteen, Jr. to strike down the state’s gay marriage ban.

And the Asheville City Hall flew a huge rainbow flag to celebrate the coming of marriage equality. Joe.My.God reports:

The Campaign for Southern Equality reports that gay couples are camping out at county clerk offices across North Carolina in anticipation of a ruling to enact same-sex marriage.

Expect a ruling in North Carolina SOON.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in North Carolina.

Asheville Rainbow Flag

Marriage Equality: What’s Going On in North Carolina

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

North Carolina MapNorth Carolina is another of the states that was impacted by the Supreme Court’s rejection of the Virginia case. Here’s what’s happening there.

There are two cases in the state that could bring down the ban once and for all. The News Observer reports:

Two federal judges – one in Asheville and another in Greensboro – have cases before them that could nullify North Carolina’s constitutional amendment that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. News of a possible ruling in either case late Wednesday afternoon sent same-sex couples across the state to county offices with hopes of getting a marriage license and being a part of North Carolina history.

Stays in both cases were lifted. NBC reports:

A federal judge has lifted stays on two American Civil Liberties Union lawsuits that could clear the way for same-sex marriages in North Carolina. Judge William Osteen of the federal Middle District in Greensboro on Wednesday lifted a stay in two cases involving same-sex couples who wish to marry. Mike Meno, a spokesman for the ACLU of North Carolina, told WNCN that Osteen asked for a motion from the ACLU on the gay marriage issue. Meno said the ACLU expects Osteen to rule that gay North Carolinians may marry as soon as late Wednesday afternoon or Thursday. Federal courts generally close at 5 p.m., so Meno said the ACLU lawyers were working urgently to get a motion to the court in Greensboro.

But o rulings have been handed down yet. The News Observer reports:

In Wake County, Chad Biggs, 35, a sheriff’s deputy, was working inside the Justice Center in downtown Raleigh when he learned that marriage licenses might be available soon to same-sex couples. “I got the news, and I was the first one to rush here,” Biggs said. “This is historic, a truly memorable time for North Carolina.” But history did not happen before the register of deeds office closed for the day. There were no rulings on the ban from the federal courts in North Carolina before 5 p.m. Wednesday.

The GOP in the state is not giving up, yet:

Phil Berger, the N.C. Senate president pro tem, and Thom Tillis, the speaker of the N.C. House, said they planned to hire outside counsel and try to become parties in the lawsuits. By late Wednesday, though, the legislative leaders had not submitted court documents asking a judge to allow them to intervene.

So now we wait for the ruling or rulings.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in North Carolina.

Marriage Equality Updates: North Carolina

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

North Carolina MapWe’re running down some of the updates in the aftermath of the shocking Supreme Court decision to turn down all the pending marriage equality cases.

Next, North Carolina.

North Carolina was not one of the five states with a case before the Court, but it’s in the same Circuit as Virginia, so it won’t be long now. The ACLU is pushing for the state to start issuing licenses as soon as possible.

Pink News reports:

Chris Brook, of North Carolina’s American Civil Liberties Union, said the group will file a request today with District Judge William L. Osteen, urging him to strike down the state’s ban/ He said: “The Supreme Court’s decision means that the freedom to marry for same-sex couples must be recognized here in North Carolina without delay. We are asking the district court here in North Carolina to immediately issue a ruling striking down North Carolina’s unconstitutional and discriminatory ban on marriage for same-sex couples.”

North Carolina’s GOP leadership wants to keep fighting. Joe.My.God reports:

Phil Berger [photo], president pro tem of the N.C. Senate, and Thom Tillis, speaker of the N.C. House of Representatives, two of the Republican leaders who helped shepherd Amendment One to a statewide referendum, said late Monday they planned to take on the legal battle to defend the ban that North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper has said he no longer would fight to keep. “The people of North Carolina have spoken, and while the Supreme Court has not issued a definitive ruling on the issue of traditional marriage, we are hopeful they will soon,” Tillis and Berger said in a joint statement. “Until then, we will vigorously defend the values of our state and the will of more than 60 percent of North Carolina voters who made it clear that marriage is between one man and one woman.”

Let’s hope the judge sets them straight. Pun intended.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in North Carolina.

Marriage Equality Updates: Colorado

Monday, October 6th, 2014

ColoradoWe’re running down some of the updates in the aftermath of the shocking Supreme Court decision to turn down all the pending marriage equality cases.

Next, Colorado.

Colorado wasn’t one of the five states with a lawsuit pending with the Supremes, but the AG has ordered all 64 counties to prepare to issue licenses to same sex couples.

SDGLN reports:

The state’s Attorney General John Suthers on Monday said all 64 county clerks must begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear all appeals on gay marriage bans. A same-sex couple in Pueblo County received the first license within hours — apparently the first gay marriage in Colorado after the high court’s action. Clerks in Boulder and Denver said they were awaiting final clearance. Once the legal formalities are finalized, same-sex marriage will be legal throughout Colorado.

Governor John Hickenlooper had this to say:

“Today marks a historic day on the march towards marital equality. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision not to review the same-sex marriage cases in other states means that 10th Circuit’s decision is binding in Colorado. While there are a few more steps in the process, we are that much closer to declaring marriage equality for all Coloradans.”

Colorado will soon have full marriage equality – get ready for wedding bells across the Rockies.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Colorado.

North Carolina Marriage Equality Support Reaches 45%

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

titleA new poll shows support has outpaced opposition to marriage equality in North Carolina.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

An Elon University Poll surveyed more than 1,000 North Carolinians and found that 45 percent support gay marriage. Opposition stood at 43 percent. Twelve percent of respondents said they didn’t know or had no opinion. The results are still within the poll’s margin of error, but pollsters say it’s the first time in the history of their polling they’ve seen support for gay marriage rise above opposition. “Support for gay marriage has picked up 4 percentage points since a spring poll and opposition has dropped 3 percentage points,” Elon University Poll said in a release. “It is the first time that Elon University Poll has found support for gay marriage to be greater than opposition, though it is within the margin of error.”

Remember, the state’s ban passed 61% to 38% just two years ago.

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North Carolina Marriage Equality Stayed Until Virginia Decision

Friday, August 29th, 2014

North Carolina MapA federal judge just put the brakes on North Carolina marriage equality until the US Supreme Court either takes up or passes on the Virginia case.

Joe.My.God reports:

Yesterday a federal court stayed any further action on North Carolina’s same-sex marriage battle until SCOTUS rules on Virginia’s Bostic case. According to the order, should SCOTUS decline to hear Virginia’s case, the stay will be lifted. Also yesterday AFER followed Virginia AG Mark Herring and the Alliance Defending Freedom in asking SCOTUS to hear Bostic.

If the Supremes take up the case, this means no marriage equality North Carolina until next year. If it doesn’t, the stay will be lifted shortly thereafter.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in North Carolina.

Virginia Marriage Equality Ruling – North Carolina AG Will Stop Defending Ban

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

North Carolina Attorney General Roy CooperIN the wake of the Fourth Circuit ruling striking down the Virginia marriage equality ban, North Carolina AG Roy Cooper says he will no longer defend it.

Joe.My.God reports:

Following a ruling today from the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in favor of marriage equality, North Carolina’s Attorney General Roy Cooper held a press conference in response, saying that as a result of the ruling, North Carolina’s own ban on the freedom to marry, “will almost surely be overturned.” He added that the North Carolina’s ban, known as Amendment One is now indefensible, saying “It’s time to stop making arguments we know will lose.”

Cooper, who supports marriage equality, had previously said he was obligated to defend the ban.

The battle there might not be over yet.

WNCN reports:

Republican Sen. Phil Berger, however, tweeted Monday afternoon that, “North Carolinians voted to put the marriage amendment in our Constitution” and he expected “our AG to uphold his oath by defending it.” Berger’s tweet underscored the acrimony between Cooper, who is expected to run for governor, and Republican leaders who led the bid to define marriage as between a man and a woman in the state Constitution.

So will the General Assembly try to step in and defend the ban? We’ll have to wait and see.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in North Carolina.

USA, North Carolina: New County Official Said He Would Give Marriage Licenses to Same Sex Couples

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

North Carolina MapMark Chilton campaigned on a promise to give marriage licenses to gays and lesbians, and he won his election yesterday.

Joe.My.God reports:

Chilton announced earlier this year that, if elected, he would violate state law and the Register of Deeds’ oath of office by issuing same-sex marriage licenses. Doing so could bring misdemeanor charges and removal from office. The real estate attorney said Article 1 and Article 6 of the N.C. Constitution, which includes the oath of office, defer to the U.S. Constitution when there are conflicts. Chilton said he would stop if a court orders it.

So will he keep his word in defiance of state law? Stay tuned…

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