State Politics

US Supreme Court decision to decide gay marriage issue welcomed in NC

Those for and against gay marriage had dueling protests in downtown Raleigh on Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010, when the National Organization for Marriage's tour bus stopped by the city.
Those for and against gay marriage had dueling protests in downtown Raleigh on Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010, when the National Organization for Marriage's tour bus stopped by the city. TAKAAKI IWABU - tiwabu@newsobserver.com

Gay rights advocates and critics of same-sex marriage in North Carolina welcomed news on Friday that the U.S. Supreme Court will take up the issue and resolve the national debate once and for all.

Same-sex marriage became legal in the state in October after two rulings in federal court struck down a North Carolina constitutional amendment. In 2012, the state’s voters approved an amendment that defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

By mid-October, Equality NC, a gay rights organization, estimated that some 600 couples had been married in almost 70 counties.

Since there is no central registry that compiles such data, current statewide numbers were not immediately available.

North Carolina legislative leaders who opposed the lower court rulings welcomed the news Friday. “I am pleased to see this important issue will finally receive consideration by our nation’s highest court,” Sen. Phil Berger, president pro tem of the N.C. Senate, said in a statement.

Chris Brook, an attorney with the ACLU of North Carolina, said he thought that the Supreme Court taking up cases related to a U.S. Circuit decision upholding gay marriage bans in four states was an optimistic signal for gay rights advocates. The court declined to take up cases appealing rulings that struck down gay marriage bans. “I think it tells you very clearly the Supreme Court is comfortable with court decisions in support of the freedom to marry,” Brook said.

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