NC same-sex couples keeping close eye on Supreme Court
Posted March 26, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — Gay rights advocates held a vigil outside the Wake County Courthouse Tuesday evening, the same day the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in a California case on the constitutionality of state bans on same-sex marriage.
North Carolina voters approved a constitutional amendment last year that defined marriage in the state as being between a man and woman only. Thirty-eight other states also have laws or constitutional prohibitions against gay marriage, and the definition of what qualifies as marriage is where the emotion and the debate reside.
Dave Parnell and Jeff Evans, for example, have been together for 24 years. The Raleigh couple was married in Vermont last year, but North Carolina's amendment means their marriage isn't recognized in their home state.
They said they're hopeful for a landmark Supreme Court ruling to redefine marriage.
"There are benefits that come with this that make a big difference in how we live our lives and making sure we can take of each other," Evans said.
"We would like to be recognized as the couple we are," Parnell said. "We’d like the security going into the next phases of life knowing those protections are there."
Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, said same-sex couples are already eligible for many of the rights they seek through marriage.
"What I honestly believe it's all about is affirming homosexual relationships and normalizing those relationships," Creech said, adding that any change also would affect parenting nationwide.
"Are we to say now, after thousands and thousands of years, that children don’t need a mother and father?" he asked. "I’ve known a lot of men who’ve made good fathers, but I’ve never known one man yet who made a good mama."
Creech noted that, if the Supreme Court declares bans on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional, any business or church that disagrees with gay marriage will suddenly be outside the law.
"It's about redefining an institution that's at the heart of and fundamental to our culture," he said. "It has so many ramifications."
Parnell and Evans said they don't expect to change peoples' minds, but they would like to see their marriage license mean something in North Carolina.
"We know people pretty much have their heels dug in," Parnell said.