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Same-Sex Marriage NC: Some Nervous Even After Wedding Bells

The Rev. John L. Saxon presided over the marriage of Lynn Gaskins, 31, left, and Christy Alston, 34, outside of the Wake County Justice Center
Jorge Valencia

Dozens of same-sex couples have been rushing to county courthouses throughout the state to get married.

While many say they're full of excitement, there are also some nerves: Questions about what it means to get married, and what their family will legally look like.

Some who oppose gay marriage are also making their voices heard.

Lynn Gaskins and Christy Alston got married in Raleigh on Monday. Even after the ceremony, Alston was edgy.

"I'm nervous. Still nervous. It's a big responsibility. I can't believe I'm married now. Wow."

Gaskins and Alston had driven to Raleigh from their home in Franklin County, N.C., in part, because they were worried how they'd be received in their hometown.

Gaskins and Alston are likely not alone in their concern. Two years ago, 61 percent of North Carolina voters approved a constitutional amendment to define marriage as the union between a man and a woman. And though the law has changed, some opinions have not. Some called the local Register of Deeds to register their concerns.

"Good morning to you, Ms. Laura Riddick," said one caller. (Riddick is the Register of Deeds in Wake County.) "I'm just calling [to tell you to] you go ahead and resign from your job, and I'm sure that a lot of people feel the same way as I do."

The caller went on to complain that the Wake County Register of Deeds had stayed open past regular business hours on Friday. (The office processed 49 certificates: 47 for gay couples and two for straight couples.)

There were reports of a few wedding protests in Charlotte, but Lynn Gaskins didn't find any when she got to Raleigh. Christy Alston is a lab technician in Louisberg, and is looking forward to having less costly health insurance.

"Now that I'm married to her, I can take my family and get charged one time. They was charging me before and after tax. Now we can make it just one."

The two are also anticipating a change in the way they file taxes as well.  But, that is not the biggest responsibility of all.

"Raising a kid," says Alston. "It's awesome. It's an adventure. We love it."

Lynn Gaskins was pregnant with her son Tyler when she and Christy Alston got together three years ago. Christy says she's looking forward to the possibility of being able to officially adopt him. Even if, like many new parents, she's a little nervous.

Jorge Valencia has been with North Carolina Public Radio since 2012. A native of Bogotá, Colombia, Jorge studied journalism at the University of Maryland and reported for four years for the Roanoke Times in Virginia before joining the station. His reporting has also been published in the Wall Street Journal, the Miami Herald, and the Baltimore Sun.
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