NC official accepts gay marriage application, challenges state - WNCT

NC official accepts gay marriage application, challenges state

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ASHEVILLE, N.C. -

The Buncombe County Register of Deeds said Tuesday that he is asking the state Attorney General for a formal opinion on North Carolina law when it comes to the ban on same-sex marriage.

Drew Reisinger said in an email to media members that he has made the request to Attorney General Roy Cooper.

The Attorney General's Office responded with a letter to Reisinger Tuesday afternoon that North Carolina law prohibits the issuance of a marriage license to same-sex couples.

On Monday, Reisinger said he would accept and hold marriage applications from 11 same-sex couples who have applied so far Tuesday in Buncombe County. The letter said that currently, "issuance of a marriage license to a same-sex couple would be a violation of the law."

"Same-sex couples in North Carolina are treated differently and have no benefits or protections," Reisinger said in a statement, "while heterosexual couples in the state and same-sex couples married in other states have their marriages recognized and receive federal marriage benefits. This feels unjust."

Reisinger added, "I understand that the Attorney General will uphold state law, however I am not sure this is a black and white issue under state and federal law.

"That's why I am asking for his interpretations as the chief legal adviser for our state."

In the formal request for opinion, Reisinger asked for interpretation of the implications of the Supreme Court case on North Carolina's same sex marriage ban. Reisinger also inquired about whether equal protection under the North Carolina Constitution creates an internal conflict with the constitutional ban on same-sex partnerships.

On Tuesday morning, Reisinger accepted the request from Brenda Clark and Carol McCrory, who said they have been together for 25 years.

Reisinger believes the state's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

Cooper said Monday he supports gay marriage. But he has said he'll defend the state's constitutional ban on gay marriage. In 2012, North Carolinians voted to define marriage as between a man and a woman with the vote on Amendment 1.

This summer, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a provision banning federal benefits to married gay couples.

Cooper has said he plans to run for governor in 2016.

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