High court ruling could affect NC same-sex marriage ban

Posted June 26, 2013

Gay marriage debate, same-sex marriage

— The U.S. Supreme Court rulings Wednesday on federal and California laws on same-sex marriage have no immediate impact on North Carolina's ban on such unions.

A professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law said, however, that the language in one ruling could set the stage for future challenges to the state's year-old constitutional amendment that recognizes marriages only between one man and one woman.

The court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, allowing couples married in states that recognize gay marriage to receive federal tax, health care and pension benefits. Meanwhile, the court sidestepped ruling on Proposition 8, which outlawed gay marriage in California, saying it lacks jurisdiction.

The Prop 8 decision means a lower court ruling overturning the law remains in place, allowing gay marriages to resume in California, but it doesn't change laws on same-sex marriages in other states, including North Carolina.

UNC law professor Maxine Eichner said Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy's majority opinion in the DOMA case states that the law passed in 1996 violates the Constitution's equal protection guarantees. Because state constitutions cannot allow something deemed unconstitutional at the federal level, she said, gay marriage bans in North Carolina and elsewhere could be challenged.

LGBT Center of Raleigh, gay rights Gay community in NC heartened by court ruling

"It struck DOMA down on equality grounds, and that has much broader implications," Eichner said. "What this does, it sets up the next wave of challenges to states who ban same-sex marriage."

Bishop Michael Burbidge of the Diocese of Raleigh said he also believes the ruling opens the door to future legal challenges.

"The decision of the court will contribute to the unraveling of what has been a vital cornerstone of our society, the protection of the rights and responsibilities of husbands and wives to one another and to the children they bring into the world," Burbidge said in a statement.

In the short run, Eichner said, the DOMA ruling allows same-sex couples in North Carolina who were receiving Social Security benefits in a state that recognized their marriage to once again receive them. Also, she said, a North Carolina resident can sponsor a same-sex spouse for citizenship if they were married in a state that recognized their union.

Stuart Campbell and Jeff Engle Local gay marriage debate furthered by Supreme Court rulings

Gay advocates in North Carolina said the DOMA ruling gives them hope and a goal, if few legal rights now.

"The impact in North Carolina is going to be the inspiration and hope and empowerment of this community," said James Miller, executive director of the LGBT Center of Raleigh.

"Because (gay marriage) is not legal here, we can't use those rights, however, again, that gives us something to fight for," Miller said. "It gives us somewhere to go; it gives us a target. ... We have something to work toward now."

Ann Marie Sugrim celebrated the decision with the partner she hopes to someday marry.

"We've made history, and I've been a part of history in my lifetime," Sugrim said. "I could not have asked for anything more. I can die happy."


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  • slowpoke4333 Jul 1, 2013

    JustOneGodLessThanU: Can you provide a reference for your assertion that "the Christian Bible commands followers to kill non-believers like me." I'd love to see exactly what passage(s) you are referring to.

  • Orthodox Celt Jul 1, 2013

    Yup! I see you didn't have one. Not surprised really, y'all never do.

  • Orthodox Celt Jun 28, 2013

    "Ahh yeah I have. Check and check."

    Fine...then what is your logical, constitutionally valid, argument against SSM.

  • Bartmeister Jun 28, 2013

    Doesn't mean you actually thought about it though. That's the thing.
    Pagan Patriot


    Ahh yeah I have. Check and check.

  • Orthodox Celt Jun 28, 2013

    "@PP - How about in front of your lemonade stand tomorrow morning?"

    It isn't your challenge to accept. Now, if you'd like to be his second, he still has to pick the time and place.

  • Orthodox Celt Jun 28, 2013

    "It's been years and still against it. Next............"

    Doesn't mean you actually thought about it though. That's the thing.

  • Orthodox Celt Jun 28, 2013

    "Even from a Biblical perspective the followers of God often did things that their teachings disagreed with. and that God didn't either. "

    They were still Christians acting as they believe Christians should, so...the point isn't false.

  • Bartmeister Jun 28, 2013

    If they'd only spend 5 seconds thinking...but then they wouldn't be against SSM if they did that.
    Pagan Patriot


    It's been years and still against it. Next............

  • sweetlyght Jun 28, 2013

    ">>>WHAT? What kind of world do you live in? Christians are helping every culture every people ALL over the world that are different, your sad... DNUT"

    Christians have caused more death and destruction throughout history than any other group.

    That's not a fact it is an opinion. You can't can't align every act of a society that claims Christianity with Christianity and not the Society that actually did the deeds. Even from a Biblical perspective the followers of God often did things that their teachings disagreed with. and that God didn't either.

    Basically you're blaming Chirtianity for Society when the truth is peoples were fighting and killing eachother before Jesus was born on Earth.

  • Orthodox Celt Jun 28, 2013

    "lwe1967: City of prostitutes, of all configurations. The gay ones were highlighted for your easy persecution, but the fact is it was a city of prostitutes."

    Also S&G weren't destroyed because of homosexuality...not even in the bible.