UPDATED: Buncombe County Register of Deeds Drew Reisinger opened the door to his office today (Oct. 15) in North Carolina, he found same-sex couples waiting to apply for marriage licenses.
Reisinger accepted the applications and planned to seek an opinion from North Carolina's top lawyer.
A 2012 amendment to North Carolina's Constitution forbids same-sex couples from marrying. But Reisinger says he will hold the licenses and then ask state Attorney General Roy Cooper for legal advice.
The initial word from the attorney general's office was that the register cannot legally grant the licenses.
The Campaign for Southern Equality has been leading the fight for same sex marriage.
In a statement on Monday night, Reisinger had said, “I will let each couple know that it is my hope to grant them a license, but I need to seek the North Carolina Attorney General’s approva. I have concerns about whether we are violating people’s civil rights based on this summer’s Supreme Court decision."
In a separate statement, the attorney general said he supports marriage equality.
“We are hopeful that Attorney General Cooper will do the right thing and recognize our right to marry after 25 years in a committed relationship and having raised 2 kids together,” said Brenda Clark who, with her partner Carol McCrory, applied for a license in Buncombe County today as part of the WE DO Campaign. Clark and McCrory, residents of Fairview, N.C., have requested – and been denied – marriage licenses at the Buncombe County Register of Deeds Office five times since 2011. They have been denied licenses four times.
Buncombe County is home to 1,200 same-sex couples according to the 2010 U.S. Census. This represents 11.95 same-sex couples per 1,000 households, the highest percentage of any county in North Carolina.
Launched in 2011, the WE DO Campaign has involved more than 90 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender couples requesting marriage licenses in their hometowns across the South.