Just a few minutes after U.S. District Court Judge Max O. Cogburn Jr. issued a ruling shortly after 5:00 p.m. on Friday striking down the North Carolina ban on same-sex marriage several couples were issued marriage licenses and made it official. So many rushed to take advantage of the ruling that no one is quite sure which first same-sex couple was the first to marry.
Cogburn, appointed to the federal bench by President Obama wrote in his ruling:
“North Carolina’s laws prohibiting same-sex marriage are unconstitutional as a matter of law. The issue before this court is neither a political issue nor a moral issue. It is a legal issue.”
Cogburn’s ruling came after the Supreme Court announced on Monday that it would not hear any appeal of a ruling in July by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond which stuck down the Virginia law banning same-sex marriage. That court also has jurisdiction in North Carolina.
Attorney General Roy Cooper, said that although Cogburn’s court only has jurisdiction over the western third of the state, the federal ruling holds statewide. Cooper has said that he will not continue to defend the ban because all legal defenses were exhausted.
Among the first to wed after the ruling were Wake County Sheriff’s deputies Chad Biggs, 35, and Chris Creech, 46. the pair have been a couple for eight years.
“Even before this I was happy, but I think now that it’s on paper and it’s legal — it’s a commitment between two people,” said Biggs.
Amy Cantrell and Lauren White also rushed to the county offices to get their marriage license as soon as they got word of the ruling. They solemnized their marriage on the steps of the building as their two children looked on.
“This is it folks,” said the Rev. Lisa Bovee-Kemper, an Unitarian Universalist minister from Asheville. “By the power vested in me by the state of North Carolina, I now pronounce you married.”
“We’ve been waiting for this day for years,” said the 42-year-old Cantrell who is a minister herself.
“I thought I might pass out at one point,” said White who is 29, “Pretty typical bride stuff.”
Expressing disappointment with the ruling House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate Leader Phil Berger, both Republicans issued a joint statement saying:
“While we recognize the tremendous passion on all sides of this issue, we promised to defend the will of North Carolina voters because they — not judges and not politicians — define marriage as between one man and one woman and placed that in our state constitution.”
Too bad, chumps. You tried that argument with slavery — how did that work out for you?
h/t: Huffington Post