Same-Sex Marriage In NC: Deconstructing #DayOneNC
Many around the state were on pins and needles Friday, wondering if the state's gay marriage ban would be lifted. WUNC was tracking the information, and reporting all throughout the day.
Update Friday 6:05 p.m.:
A federal judge in Asheville has struck down the state's gay marriage ban, opening the way for the first same-sex weddings in the state to begin immediately. U.S. District Court Judge Max Cogburn, Jr. issued a ruling shortly after 5:00 p.m. declaring the ban approved by state voters in 2012 unconstitutional.
Buncombe County Register of Deeds Drew Reisinger is keeping his Asheville office open late to begin issuing marriage licenses to waiting couples. Cogburn's ruling follows Monday's announcement by the U.S. Supreme Court that it would not hear any appeal of a July ruling by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond striking down Virginia's ban. That court has jurisdiction over North Carolina.
Update Friday 5:20 p.m.:
The judge overseeing a pair of challenges to North Carolina's gay marriage ban has asked for more briefs in the case, setting a new deadline for early next week. Chief U.S. District Court Judge William Osteen Jr. issued an order this afternoon. He's asking for answers to a series of questions and has set a deadline of 3 p.m. Monday for the responses.
The delay was met with disappointment among scores of same-sex couples. Many had spent hours lined up at county courthouses across the state, awaiting a ruling allowing them to marry. Osteen has appeared poised to strike down the marriage ban approved by North Carolina voters in 2012 since Wednesday, when he issued an order lifting his stays and dismissing all prior motions. But Republican legislators filed motions Thursday seeking to intervene in the case after the state's Democratic attorney general concluded that all possible legal defenses had been exhausted.
Friday 2:30 p.m.:
Same-sex couples at the Wake County courthouse lined up Friday in anticipation of a possible decision on marriages in the state. A judge in Guilford county could issue an order legalizing same-sex marriages in North Carolina as soon as this afternoon. Word and photos have been spreading across social media.
Early Friday, lawyers for House Speaker Tom Tillis and Senate leader Phil Berger filed a legal brief urging U.S. District Court Judge William Osteen to allow them to intervene in a pair of cases seeking to overturn the state's gay marriage ban. We're awaiting word on that ruling - and we'll have updates throughout the day.