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Oct 7, 2014

Equality NC, ACLU NC Host Press Conferences on State of Marriage Equality in NC

RALEIGH/CHARLOTTE, N.C. (October 7, 2014) – A day after the Supreme Court declined to hear state appeals in support of a ban on same-sex marriage, Equality NC and the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina joined same-sex couples in Raleigh and Charlotte seeking the right to marry during joint press conferences encouraging a swift resolution to the freedom to marry in North Carolina.

Plaintiff Shawn Long (center) stands with his partner Craig Johnson and their son, Isaiah.

In Raleigh, Chris Brook, legal director for the ACLU of NC, responded to a judges order issued on Monday by Judge William Osteen in two of the same-sex marriage cases pending in North Carolina (Fisher-Borne v. Smith and Gerber v. Cooper) requiring the parties to file reports within 10 days, detailing how the court should proceed in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to review a Fourth Circuit decision rejecting Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban as unconstitutional.

"We don't need to be waiting another 10 days," responded Brook.

North Carolina's constitutional ban on the freedom to marry has been challenged in court since its passage in 2012 and is subject to the ruling by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that overturned Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage. The high court's decision Monday leaves the Virginia ruling in place and, Osteen wrote in an order, leaves him likely to overturn the North Carolina ban.

"Everyone agrees that the Virginia and North Carolina marriage bans are legally indistinguishable," Brook said.

Brook pledged that his group, which represents nine families, would have their update to Osteen well within the 10-day deadline.

Equality NC's Jen Jones encouraged a swift and unequivocal resolution to the freedom to marry in North Carolina and struck back at recent comments by state lawmakers Thom Tillis and Phil Berger who have pledged to continue defending the unconstitutional ban. "Love has won. The time for playing politics with any North Carolina families is done," said Jones.

Families from the two ACLU cases echoed the need for a resolution, emphasizing their similarities to other married couples in the state.

"We rest assured that our love and commitment will be honored by our state," said Marcie Fisher-Borne, who appeared with her wife Chantelle and their two children. "We hope that Judge Osteen will let the celebration of love and commitment begin."

Shawn Long, who stood with his partner Craig Johnson and their son, Isaiah, pointed out that marriage inequality leaves him with no parental rights for his son.

"The complete driving force is our son, Isaiah," Long said. "Our country is based upon the idea of freedom and equality, and this is what this is all about."

The organizations also led a press conference in Charlotte, highlighting couples fighting for the freedom to marry in the Queen City.

CLICK HERE for the latest on the state of marriage in North Carolina.

ABOUT ACLU OF NC: The ACLU of North Carolina (ACLU-NC) is the North Carolina state affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union, and the ACLU-NC Legal Foundation (ACLU-NCLF) is the 501(c)(3) arm of the ACLU-NC that coordinates and carries out its legal and educational work around civil liberties issues.

ABOUT EQUALITY NC: Equality NC is the statewide organization working to secure equal rights and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender North Carolinians. 

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