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Judge Allows Same-Sex Marriage in North Carolina

Cogburn_Max

At 5:32 p.m. this afternoon, U.S. District Court Judge for the Western District of North Carolina, Max O. Cogburn, Jr. (pictured), issued a ruling that struck North Carolina’s marriage statutes and constitutional Marriage Protection Amendment, and initiated the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples in the Tar Heel State. In his judgement, Cogburn determined that the Bostic decision, issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in a challenge to Virginia’s marriage laws, led him to determine ” that North Carolina’s laws prohibiting same-sex marriage are unconstitutional as a matter of law.”

Furthermore, his ruling stated, “Specifically, the court finds Article XIV, Section 6 of the North Carolina Constitution, North Carolina General Statute § 51-1 et seq., and any other source of state law that operates to deny same-sex couples the right to marry in the State of North Carolina, prohibits recognition of same-sex marriages lawfully solemnized in other States, Territories, or a District of the United States, or threatens clergy or other officiants who solemnize the union of same-sex couples with civil or criminal penalties, are, in accordance with Bostic , supra, unconstitutional as they violate the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.”

According to news reports, the Wake County Register of Deeds office planned to stay open until at least 9:00 p.m. in order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

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