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Judge takes step towards gay marriage in NC

Posted October 8, 2014

— A federal judge in North Carolina has lifted stays in two cases challenging the state's ban on same-sex marriages, a possible sign he's preparing to strike down the prohibition as unconstitutional.

Chief U.S. District Judge William Osteen Jr. issued an order Wednesday lifting his earlier stays and dismissing all motions in the cases. The move came after the office of North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper filed documents with the court essentially dropping all further defense of the 2012 ban approved by voters.

Osteen had issued the stays in July, after Virginia's same-sex marriage ban was struck down by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., which has jurisdiction over North Carolina. The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear an appeal of the Virginia case.

Some legislative leaders have said they will fight to keep the gay marriage ban in place despite Monday's decision. They could ask the Supreme Court for an emergency stay. Justice Anthony Kennedy granted a temporary emergency stay to Idaho on Wednesday.

Shawn Long and his partner, Craig Johnson, were the first same-sex couple in North Carolina to file a lawsuit challenging the state's ban on gay marriage. They now hope to be among the first to get married in the state.

"That's the whole reason we're doing this. This is our home. We want to be married here," Long said.

"I'm feeling fairly giddy," Johnson said of the prospect of finally marrying Long. "I don't usually feel giddy. That's a different experience for me. It's exciting. It's going to feel like, wow!"

They said the driving force behind their fight is their 12-year-old son, Isaiah, and the state recognizing both of them as his legal parents and them as a couple.

"(We like) the idea that, in the eyes of society and the law, we'll be a family, the two of us and our son a legal family," Long said.

Some couples don't want to wait to see what the courts will do. A number of couples from the Charlotte area have already driven up Interstate 77 to Carroll County, Va. The clerk of court will not only issue the license, but also perform the ceremony.

Also, a judge in Charleston County, S.C., accepted marriage license applications from 19 same-sex couples on Wednesday. The state is waiting 24 hours to see if the Supreme Court halts gay marriage there – the state's attorney general has sought such a ruling – but the judge said he plans to issue the licenses Thursday if the court takes no action.

Supporters of North Carolina's ban on gay marriage don't appear to be giving up in the face of one legal setback after another.

"We have encouraged strongly both the governor and our legislative leaders to intervene in order to provide a defense for our marriage laws and our constitutional amendment," said John Rustin, president of the North Carolina Family Policy Council.

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  • KnowsItAll Oct 10, 2014

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    you're the definition of an extremist. To wish a foreign invasion on American soil shows a deep deep hatred of this great country.

    ISIS needs more "patriots" like you to help wage war against America.

  • gunmonkey Oct 9, 2014

    If being gay were a choice, then at some point straight men and women would have also had to make a choice to be straight.

  • cla2870 Oct 9, 2014

    **8** "People of faith" are allowed to do what they want. We only want the same. Just because you don't agree with what we do doesn't mean that we shouldn't be allowed to do it. I'm not asking you to be gay. I'm not asking you to buy me a wedding gift. Hell, you can even still look at me funny when I walk by but you should at least be tolerate and understanding and allow me to have the same rights that you have. If suddenly a majority of the US were against something that you love, wouldn't you fight for it? Look at the gun debate. You can't act as if you are all that matters in this world. Other people have to live here too. And those other people deserve happiness--not constant criticism and negativity.

  • tllight Oct 9, 2014

    Support couples who commit to each other, regardless of their orientation, there's too much hate in the world today.

  • jackaroe123 Oct 9, 2014

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    As a straight, Christian male, I also stand beside you, cody.

    I'm not persecuted for my faith, and neither is any other Christian in the U.S. The bulk of criticism directed at Christians is when we step on others' toes and then get up in arms about it when we're expected to get off.

  • Edward Anderson Oct 9, 2014
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    Beautiful!

  • Pepe Silvia Oct 9, 2014

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    ACTUALLY, if you want to talk about God/nature 'sorting things out' you should consider that that may be exactly why part of the population is gay. There are 147 million orphans in this world, tens of thousands of kids here (all created by heterosexuals) in the US in need of a family and a planet who's resources are being stretched to their limit to try to keep up with the population growth. Homosexuality could very well be seen as natures way of trying to keep things in line. The world simply does not need, nor could it handle, every person of 'reproducing age' to pair up and start making children.

    PS - Homosexual behavior has been observed in over 1,500 species. Homophobia is found in only one.

  • ivanhoe2014nc Oct 9, 2014

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    Yet again wrong. People of faith are loved and embraced by the side of right and justice (a.k.a. Our Side). It's the bigoted and hateful on your side that we can't stomach. It's kinda like dealing with al Qaeda and ISIS.

  • Brandi Gaenzle Oct 9, 2014
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    For gays to be attracted to the same sex is just as natural as straight couples being attracted to the opposite sex. It's a natural attraction.therefore not being a choice. As a straight female I dont just choose oh hey i like men. It's just in me to be attracted to men.It's in the body and the mind. So, dont tell me scientist proved that there isnt anything that causes individuals gay that its by choice. I will forever stand by my quote."Don't like gay people? Blame straight people, they are the ones that keep having gay babies!" It's not a choice. And it's sad the lack of intelligence that are in some of these comments. It saddens me that people are so caught up in hatred and judging others for something that doesn't even personally affect them. It's gays that are affected because they are the ones being denied the rights to being treated equal. Gays deserve the same treatment and rights as everyone else. They are no different!

  • PracticalMagick Oct 9, 2014

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    Kind of only seeing hate on one side of the spectrum, but nice try...

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