ACLU moves to challenge NC same-sex marriage ban
by Anna Oakes
The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina Legal Foundation on Tuesday announced plans to challenge the state's same-sex marriage ban, joining a number of challenges in other states in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling against the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 June 26 that the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act -- which denied federal benefits to same-sex married couples -- violated constitutional rights to equal protection.
The ACLU-NCLF and national ACLU are asking N.C. Atty. Gen. Roy Cooper to agree to allow an additional claim challenging the state's same-sex marriage ban to be added to Fisher-Borne v. Smith, a lawsuit filed last year in U.S. District Court that challenges the state's ban on second parent adoption, a process by which one partner in an unmarried gay or straight couple adopts the other partner's biological or adoptive child.
North Carolina prohibits same-sex marriage by statute and, as of 2012, in the state constitution, which states that marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that is valid or recognized.
The constitutional amendment was approved by referendum in May 2012; statewide, 61 percent voted for the amendment, while 39 percent voted against it. In Watauga County, 49.2 percent voted for the amendment, but 50.8 percent voted against the measure.