North Carolina Gay Couples Rejected For Marriage Licenses In Symbolic Protest

Three same-sex couples engaged in an emotional, high-profile attempt to receive marriage licenses at the Mecklenburg Country Register of Deeds in North Carolina on Oct. 9 -- only to be rejected one after another.

The couples involved in the attempt to acquire marriage licenses included Reverends Robin Tanner and Ann Marie Alderman, Scott Lindsley and Joey Hewell, and Scott Bishop and Ron Sperry. This group of individuals were engaged in a peaceful protest in an effort to bring visibility to the constitutional ban on same-sex marriages in North Carolina.

According to Qnotes, Register of Deeds J. David Granberry handled each request for a marriage license with respect and support:

[We] try to be respectful and let everybody say their piece, and that’s mostly what I think it’s about, to give them an opportunity to be seen and to be heard... And, we can’t particularly do something because right now it’s against the statutes and the constitution for the state, but we can definitely let people express themselves and exercise their free speech and, certainly, they have the right to come down and ask for a marriage license.

The "WE DO Campaign," an initiative pioneered by the Campaign for Southern Equality in response to the inability of same-sex couples to legally get married in the majority of southern states, spearheaded the symbolic attempt to garner marriage licenses for these three couples. The organization stages high-visibility attempts to acquire marriage licenses for same-sex couples despite state legislation declaring such unions illegal.

“Amendment One is immoral and unconstitutional. We will keep taking action with the 'WE DO Campaign' until this law changes,” said Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara in a press release, Executive Director of the Campaign for Southern Equality. “Loving, committed couples are harmed by Amendment One because it denies them the basic freedom to marry. In this spirit, we pray that the Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds Office will choose to issue them a license and recognize their equality and dignity.”

This week's initiative comes on the heels of a similar symbolic attempt last week by the Campaign for Southern Equality to gain a marriage license for a lesbian couple in a more rural part of North Carolina. Carole Kaiser and Mary Burson, an elderly lesbian couple who have raised eight children and have a total of 13 grandchildren, met the same result in wake of North Carolina's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

Check out a slideshow of the three couples attempting to apply for marriage licenses below.



Campaign For Southern Equality 10-09