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Guilford Co. Register of Deeds responds to criticism for reopening office to process same-sex marriage licenses Friday

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Guilford County Register of Deeds Jeff Thigpen responded Monday to criticism from members of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners for his decision to reopen his office to process marriage licenses Friday night.

In a written statement, Thigpen pointed out that he had processed 23 marriage license throughout the day Friday, but for the hour and 15 minutes he and his staff worked late, they processed an additional 24 marriage licenses.

"We effectively addressed an outpouring of applicants on very short notice and caught the front edge of a groundswell of customers that could have effectively overwhelmed my staff Monday morning and disrupted our regular land records services to real property attorneys and citizens visiting our office on other matters," Thigpen said.

The News and Record reported that on Sunday, conservative Guilford County Commissioner Alan Branson questioned Thigpen’s authority to reopen the office because of the possible extra cost for taxpayers.

But in the statement by Thigpen, his seven staff members volunteered to work.

"There was no additional cost or time incurred by Guilford County security," Thigpen said. "The additional time worked by Register of Deeds employees will be absorbed through 'flex time' within their next pay period meaning consistent with Human Resources policies. No overtime pay will be given to these employee for their outstanding performance."