North Carolina

STATUS:

Marriage

WINNING MARRIAGE:

On October 10, 2014, a federal judge in North Carolina agreed that the ruling in favor of the freedom to marry in the 4th Circuit applies to NC’s Amendment 1, which bans same-sex couples from marrying. Same-sex couples were immediately issued marriage licenses, and on Monday, October 13, same-sex couples statewide began marrying. 

The ruling was in General Synod of the United Church of Christ v. Cooper, a federal legal challenge filed in April 2014 on behalf of same-sex couples and clergy members from North Carolina seeking the freedom to marry and the freedom to perform marriages for same-sex couples. On Monday, October 13, another federal judge ruled in two cases from the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of NC, Fisher-Borne v. Smith and Gerber and Berlin v. Cooper, also affirming the freedom to marry. 

HISTORY:

On May 8, 2012, anti-gay forces in North Carolina pushed through Amendment One, a constitutional amendment that excludes same-sex couples from marriage and prohibits same-sex couples from attaining any form of legal family status. 

In January 2012, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of NC filed a federal lawsuit, Fisher-Borne v. Smith, seeking the freedom to marry for same-sex couples across the state of South Carolina. In April 2013, the ACLU filed an additional case seeking immediate relief for three same-sex couples with serious medical conditions, Gerber and Berlin v. Cooper. In 2014, a case filed by the United Church of Christ seeking the freedom to marry and respect for marriages from other states was also filed. The UCC case was the case in which a federal judge struck down Amendment One, on October 10, 2014. Read more about marriage litigation in North Carolina.

GROUPS ACTIVELY WORKING ON MARRIAGE: 

  • Equality NC is a statewide advocacy organization that works to secure equal rights and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender North Carolinians.
  • The Campaign for Southern Equality is a national effort to assert the full humanity and equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in American life and to increase public support for LGBT rights. 
  • The ACLU of North Carolina is a statewide chapter of the American Civil Liberty Unions, devoted to ensuring that all North Carolinans are protected from inequality. 
  • Freedom to Marry is the campaign to win marriage for same-sex couples nationwide. 

POLLING DATA: 

A majority (62%) of North Carolina residents say they support marriages or civil unions for same-sex couples, with 33% opposed. (Public Policy Polling, April 2014)

NUMBER OF SAME-SEX COUPLES:

According to The Williams Institute's analysis of the 2010 U.S. Census, 18,309 same-sex couples are living in North Carolina, representing 4.9 same-sex couples per 1,000 households.

Blog Posts Related to North Carolina

Finishing the Job: how marriage is moving forward nationwide

Now, as momentum surges across the country, it is more important for supporters to do all they can to speak out for the freedom to marry nationwide. Here's what's going on in the 4 other states set up for the freedom to marry soon, plus the 15 where same-sex couples continue to be denied the freedom to marry.

It’s official: Same-sex couples have the freedom to marry in North Carolina

After this week’s historic announcement from the United States Supreme Court that ultimately secured the freedom to marry in six states, including Virginia, a federal judge in North Carolina has agreed that the ruling applies to NC’s Amendment 1, which bans same-sex couples from marrying.

PHOTOS: The freedom to marry arrives in some South Carolina counties

Today, same-sex couples rejoiced in South Carolina as some county officials began taking action and issuing marriage licenses. In other counties, advocates at South Carolina Equality and the Campaign for Southern Equality pushed for the implementation of the 4th Circuit ruling in SC.

See All »

Resources Related to North Carolina

North Carolina Census Snapshot

Demographic and economic information about same-sex couples and same-sex couples raising children in North Carolina.

Geographic Trends Among Same-Sex Couples in the U.S. Census and the American Community Survey

Groundbreaking research showing a huge increase in same-sex couples identifying themselves as "unmarried partners".

See All »