On Monday October 14, the Buncombe County Register of Deeds Drew Reisinger officially announced his plan to challenge North Carolina’s gay marriage ban by accepting applications for same-sex marriage and unions. Couples have unsuccessfully applied for same-sex marriage licenses from Reisinger’s office in the past, but now, he has begun to accept them.
In May of 2012, North Carolina approved the constitutional amendment that declared marriage was solely a union between a man and a woman. The amendment went above and beyond, also voiding other domestic unions of legal status. At the time, there was a lot of controversy and outrage over North Carolina’s amendment, including Obama speaking out to say he did not support it.
Partners Brenda Clark and Carol McCrory have applied for licenses from Reisinger four times in order to legally cement the couple’s 25 year long relationship. On October 15 Reisinger was finally able to accept their application.
Brenda Clark and Carol McCrory’s request was one of ten applications as part of an effort by the Campaign for Southern Equality to find someone to issue same-sex marriage licenses. However, the couple’s successful application does not guarantee that they will receive a marriage license.
Reisinger openly supports the gay community but due to the ban on same-sex marriage in the state, he is unable to sign or issue the licenses until Attorney General Roy Cooper is willing to officially agree to the marriages.
“I was frustrated turning down marriage licenses from upstanding citizens from my community again and again. I had a handful of friends come into my office and request licenses and we had to deny them specifically because of their sexual orientation,” Reisinger told The Associated Press.
Cooper’s spokeswoman Noelle Talley, said in a written statement “these marriage licenses cannot be issued.” Last week Cooper showed his support for same-sex marriage but due to his official duties, he must continue to defend the state ban.
Although this is a bold step by Reisinger, implementing the marriage licenses is out of his control. But his attempt to stand against the ban and voice his support of the LGBT community is a stepping-stone for equality in North Carolina.