Group files suit to overturn same-sex marriage ban in North Carolina

Gay marriage stock photo

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A group of clergy in North Carolina on Monday filed a federal lawsuit seeking to overturn the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

The group argues the ban violates the First and 14 amendments and stigmatizes same-sex couples and the people and institutions that would support them.

“Marriage between two loving individuals is both a fundamental legal right and a cornerstone of almost every religion,” says the lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina in Charlotte.

“By depriving the Plaintiffs of the freedom to perform religious marriage ceremonies or to marry, North Carolina stigmatizes Plaintiffs and their religious beliefs, and the State relegates the Couple Plaintiffs to second-class status.”

The lawsuit was filed by the United Church of Christ, a Protestant religious denomination with some 1.1 million members, various religious leaders, including a rabbi, and some same-sex couples.

Among the defendants are North Carolina Attorney General Ray Cooper, several country district attorneys, and register of deeds.

Noelle Talley, a spokeswoman for Cooper, said that as a rule his office does not comment on pending litigation. The state has received the lawsuit, and is currently reviewing it.

“By denying same-sex couples the right to marry and by prohibiting religious denominations even from performing marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples, the State of North Carolina stigmatizes same-sex couples, as well as the religious institutions and clergy that believe in equal rights,” the suit says.

North Carolina voted in 2012 to outlaw same-sex marriage, which was already prohibited in the state. Supporters pushed for — and won — a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as solely between a man and a woman.

Voters approved the amendment by a large margin.

Same-sex marriage is legal in 17 U.S states and the District of Columbia: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

Besides North Carolina, same-sex marriage is banned by state constitutional amendment or state law in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Worldwide, 16 other countries — and parts of Mexico — also have laws allowing same-sex marriage and domestic partnerships. Most of these are in Europe and South America.

46 comments

  • Donnie

    I thought we voted on that issue and said no. So if you don’t like what was decided by the voters, you either sue or just ignore what the people of NC decided? That’s BS

    • Mark

      With your reasoning, what would stop the majority from voting to enact a law outlawing everyone named Donnie? Most people are not named Donnie, therefore it must pass the majority. State government knew this law was unconstitutional when they put it on the ballot, but it’s only millions of tax(someone else’s money)dollars that they are now having to pay to defend it. You don’t have to live here if you don’t like the Constitution of the United States of America.

      • Eagle275

        How is it unconstitutional,eh? prove it. How long has marriage been considered between a man and woman,eh? Maybe you should go to the NC Zoo and pay attention to the animals,eh. Admission to the Zoo isn’t that much.

    • Mark

      Deal with it, JB, while you are cleaning your gun and reading your bible. You don’t have to agree with everything other people do, but you have to let them have the freedom to do it.

  • mary

    I doesn’t matter what we voted. It’s unconstitutional, period!! We HAVE to stop bringing religion into every single issue. This keeps us in the stone ages. I said RELIGION, not GOD. BIG difference, so all you bible beaters spare me your “God says” speeches. God is love and he loves homosexuals just as much as heterosexuals. This is ridiculous that this is still an issue at all in the 21st century. Donnie, if you don’t like homesexuals, take your own advise and sue or just ignore it? Why does it affect the way anyone else lives their lives. It doesn’t, people just hold on to their parents religious beliefs without having the backbone to stand up and say, ” this is NOT MY belief and I will stand up aganish bigotry.” That is what I have decided to do because I want this world to be a better place. I would rather live around homosexuals that biggots any day!! For the record, I am a heterosexual, white, female for all the haters who wish to address my views.

  • Steve

    How again is it a right? Where in the constitution does it say you have the freedom to marry anyone you choose? The only thing that is going to happen is the Supreme Court is going to defer to the lower court’s decision which it will uphold. Remember that this was not a law voted on…it was a constitutional amendment to our state’s constitution.

    • Mark

      Where in the Constitution does it say you have the right to name your son or daughter Steve? If it doesn’t harm you physically or financially, why should you care what others do? Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is what this country was founded on, not your personal beliefs. Please keep your god out of my laws.

      • Steve

        When did I say anything about God? You brought that up. You’re just mad because an amendment was made that you don’t agree with and you’re trying to find ways to say it is not constitutional. So quit whining and move to a state that allows it or just shut it. I don’t complain about laws that I don’t like just because I don’t agree with them. I respect the laws because they were either voted on by the majority or by someone we elected.

  • FaithC

    They have the right to marry. With all the ills in this country why do people focus on this? Keep religion out of it.

    Before JethRo posts under my name, this is my only post.

  • SherryB

    We said NO..We meant NO..These so-called “clergy” are NOT following God’s word, they make a mockery of Him and His teachings.. They should be stripped of their collars and robes for daring to call themselves men or women of the cloth.. Homosexuality is a SIN.. Look it up “clergy” and read what it says..Man changing laws to fit the mood of certain groups does NOT MAKE IT RIGHT…

  • keith

    This will not end untill the rainbow terrorist shut up any and all opposition to their filthy life style. They will not stop at this, next they will go to churches claim Christianity and try to join churches, if not allowed then they will sue. They are already doing this to cake makers and photographers.

    • Adam

      If you were any kind of a real Christian, you would be 100% ok with anyone joining your (or any) church, poseur.

  • preachercharles

    Rather than have anyone argue about this topic instead of using my on words i want to quote gods words because thats what will stand forever not any of our words, the bible tells us the gods words are forever settled in heaven and will never pass away “Psalms 119-89. As far as the clergy that are handleing this issue, to the public i reccommend to read matthew 7 verses 15 through 23, it tells “warns” us to beware of false prophets.
    Now what god says about homosexuality, not what i have to say but him because it doesnt matter my opionon just gods because he is our judge. God does love the homosexual as a person because god loves everyone but he despises the sin in them.
    *God created woman for a man Genesis chapter 2 verses 21 – 23
    * first recorded marriage in bible Genesis chapter 2 verses 24&25
    *God created male and female Genesis Chapter 1 verse 27
    * God tells them in Genesis chapter 1 verse 28 to be fruitful and multiply a male and male nor female and female cannot do this act properly the way god attended.
    *homosexuality is an abomination Leviticus chapter 18 verse 22

    to sum this topic up if you dont read anything else please read these couple of quick verses
    * marriage is between 1 man and 1 woman Matthew chapter 19 verses 4 through 6
    it says in quick form for those who do not have a bible this is jesus talking’ have ye not read that i made ye male and female in verse 5 it says a man shall leave his mother and father and join his wife” not husband or so on, not trying to be rude’ and they being male and female shall be one. verse 6 they are one flesh and they are no more seperate .

    You can argue with peoples words but thats why i quoted you gods scripture. i am not judging anyone bc there is but one judge and we r not him but i am trying to help and quote his word. at the end of the day sin is still sin no matter peoples oppion so all we can do is seek gods word and put him first, with christain love , be blessed

    • mary

      I realize that your job is to quote the bible and I do respect that. However, what you and every other “bible beater” isn’t comprehending here is this, listen well so that you may possibly get it this time, EVERYONE DOES NOT ADHERE TO YOUR GOD OR YOUR BIBLE!! Why should every single person be expected to live by the rules put into place by a God they may not even believe in. Not everyone has the need for organized religion. I know, I surely don’t. Bigotry exists because of religion and no other reason. Make no mistake, when you discriminate based on a religious belief, that is bigotry at it’s finest. Let’s worry about the REAL issues facing our state and nations future and let me tell you something, homesexuality is NOT one of them.

      #getoffyourhighhorseandletpeoplelivetheirlives

      • Donnie Dietrich

        If this has nothing to do with Bible, they why are the people objecting to what the voters of NC declared representing themselves as clergy? I don’t understand what religion they represent.

    • Bart

      I doubt that any religion is “correct” but the chances that your religion is the right one is less than 1%. Relgious belief has no place in a government over a free people that believe many different things.

      I also see you don’t place that much emphasis on that Golden Rule thing and it is the best chance your religion has for surviving in this country into the next century.

    • Donnie Dietrich

      Perhaps I missed it in the article, but just who are these clergy? What are the names? What church are they from? What Bible are they reading?

      • Mark

        “What church are they from? What Bible are they reading?” Doesn’t matter, Donnie. NO religion has anything to do with The Constitution of the United States of America.

      • Donnie Dietrich

        Then why are clergy involved after every citizen in NC over the age of 18 had the opportunity to vote and the voters said NO. You can read whatever you want into the Constitution or perhaps I should say interpret any way you like. ,

  • mary

    Just like people interpret the bible to mean whatever their particular belief and religion is Donnie? Get it together dude!

  • mary

    The 1st amendment of the constitution of the United States begins: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. NOW, let me hear how making a law based on a RELIGIOUS belief is constitutional again? I’d like to hear it.

      • Mark

        The Constitution of the United States of America supersedes ALL laws whether local, state, or national. You don’t have to like it, but you do have to abide by in this country.

  • mary

    Let’s hear your response now that you have been informed of exactly what the consitution says regarding laws and religion. Since your arguement makes so much sense Mark.

  • Donnie Dietrich

    If I were a liberal, i would not take offense at someone calling me one. However, you are stepping over the line at calling anyone a bigot just because they disagree with you. I am a conservative, but I still do not understand why clergy are involved with this discussion in NC. I am proud to be a conservative and live my life accordingly. I however, am not a bigot.

  • mary

    I am was not offended by the word liberal. I was offended by your content. Let’s be honest here, that was meant as an insult and everyone knows it.I suggest you look up the definition of a bigot because apparantely you aren’t aware of what it means. People like you really annoy me because you use religion (clergy as you refer to it) as a shield in order to tell other people what and who they should be. WHY DOES IT CONCERN YOU? If it isn’t about religion (clergy, again, so you comprehend) then why are you so offended by the homesexual lifestyle? Because your parents are? Because you are told you’re supposed to be? Our generation is brain washed by our previous generation into thinking and feeling that we have to believe in and feel the exact same way as them. Well, we don’t. I was brought up that way too, so I totally understand. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I woke up and thought you know what, that is NOT my belief and it’s ok that it isn’t. I want change in this world. Being completely honest with you, not to argue, I truly feel that it is our job to change the world and make it better for our children and grandchildren. Teaching them tolerance is what will make our world better. Not perpetuating the hate cycle. This is not something worth spending time on. Let everyone have the same rights, regardless of sexual preference and let us all MOVE ON with our lives. We should be focused on much more important things that will truly affect our futures, not this.

    I also did not see a response for what I posted regarding what the constitution said regarding laws and religion. THERE is the clergy explanination you keep asking for. When it’s put in front of you in black and white, it’s a little hard to dispute isn’t it?

    • Donnie Dietrich

      The Constitution of the US is for Congress to uphold. You can call me all the names you want but my point is this. Who are these clergy to try to defy what the voters of NC voted for. That’s what i don’t understand. I disagree with your opinion but that does not make me a bigot. I do believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman but I certainly do not hate my friends that are homosexual. I fully know what a bigot is, however, I do not think that just because I disagree with the homosexual lifestyle or that they should be considered “married” makes me one. I do think that they should have all the benefits afforded a traditional married couple.

      I do strongly object to people from other states coming into NC and pushing their beliefs onto us which is what I think is going on.

      By the way, I feel that abortion, in most cases, is totally wrong too.

      I don’t like our president either, but I don’t consider myself a racist. It’s not the color of his skin, it’s everything else about him that I can’t stand.

      As I said I am a conservative, a mother of 6 and grandmother of 6 and I have never asked for nor received any government funded services such as WIC, Food Stamps, etc. I am proud that what I have is what I have worked for.

      So go on with your bashing and have a wonderful day. You can do all the changing you wish to achieve, however, I prefer to stand for I believe in and I’m not planning on changing with the wind or with what seems to be politically correct, depending on what day it is, like so many people do.

      • mary

        I love the way that you say you don’t consider yourself racist. Sounds suspect to me. I also will not be changing my opinion and will continue to stay off of the band wagon that everyone around here is always on. I too, agree that abortion is wrong. I am not liberal on every issue but when it comes to discriminating aganist someone based soley on their sexual preference, then I guess I’m liberal. BTW, I was born and raised in NC. Like I said before, there are A LOT of people born and raised here in NC who share my opinion. Around here, politically correct means agreeing with the local religious belief. If you don’t then you’re discriminated against just like homesexuals. That’s why most people never admit how they feel aloud. Just because I said bigotry was created from religion does not constitute bashing. It’s a fact, look what they did to Jesus because he was a JEW!! Exhibit A

  • mary

    I think you should stand by what you believe if it is truly what you believe. There are so many people that feel the same way I do, but because we are in the bible belt people are afraid to tell their real feelings on issues such as this. Just so we are clear, you threw the first insult out , not me. I was merely defending myself against your insult. You go on living in your fantasy world because eventually, this country will stop using religion as a means to stop everything they don’t agree with. Enjoy it while it lasts, Meanwhile, I will be spending my time on issues that really make a difference for the well being of our country.

    • Mike

      Mary Mary why you buggin”?

      Why don’t all the Gender confused people quit trying to change our State, and move to a state that VOTED to allow their type of behavior?

      • Mark

        Because the Constitution allows the “gender confused people” to enjoy their lives freely, just as you enjoy your right to be ignorant. Neither of you have to move, but you all must respect others rights to live as they see fit to.

  • Mary

    Mike, just so you know, I am not confused about anything. I am a hetersexual, married woman with children. This debate has not been for my benefit but for all those that are denied rights based on sexual preference.

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