Bil Browning

3 Lesbian Couples Walk Into a NC Registrar's Office

Filed By Bil Browning | October 04, 2011 6:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality
Tags: gay marriage, lesbian couples, marriage equality, North Carolina, same-sex marriage

It sounds like the setup to a joke doesn't it? Three lesbian couples walked into a North Carolina registrar's office and... marriage-license.jpgSadly, the punchline is no laughing matter. The couples knew they'd be rejected by the state and they were.

The demonstration was intended to draw attention to what participants say are unjust and intolerant laws, as well as challenge a proposed amendment to the North Carolina constitution that would ban marriage, civil unions and domestic partnerships for same-sex couples. North Carolina voters will get to decide the amendment's fate in May.

The unsuccessful applicants, surrounded by about a dozen supporters, kicked off The Campaign of Southern Equality's We Do Campaign, which will continue through Oct. 14.
Even though Cartledge understood that her application with Eve would be rejected, she didn't anticipate her intense emotional reaction to denial.

"But when I heard the rejection out loud, it took away my breath," said Cartledge, an ordained United Church of Christ minister. "It took my heart."

The campaign says it has a dozen couples who will be asking for licenses this month at various registrar's offices. They plan to expand the campaign to all of the southern states next year.

The article quotes a spokesperson from one of the North Carolina religious fundie orgs who says she thinks the campaign will backfire and end up helping the amendment pass the popular vote. What do you think? Will it do more damage than it helps? It seems pretty innocuous to me.

(img src)

Leave a comment

We want to know your opinion on this issue! While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising. Repeated violations of the policy will result in revocation of your user account. Please keep in mind that this is our online home; ill-mannered house guests will be shown the door.

Bil I am under the impression that any 2 people in any state in this country can get married but most states do not recognize the validity of such a marriage nor does the federal government. Doesn't that mean that the real issue is such things as tax free inheritance, inclusion on health care plans, hospital visitation rights and a myriad of about 1,300 other economic benefits including, of course, federal joint income tax returns and social security benefits?

It all reminds me of Denny Crane on Boston Legal proposing to Allen Shore because of the fantastic financial benefits as Denny faced death. So isn't it a bit disingenuous to speak of love and commitment when the two people in a relationship already have that and it requires no recognition by a governmental authority? Let me suggest the Gay Marriage campaign would be better served by a bold faced assault on the economic benefits. In essence challenge traditional marriage and threaten all their economic benefits as special privilege because they amount to unequal treatment under the law.

Perhaps I am wrong but it seems to me this whole issue is being looked at from the wrong perspective.

Deena you are right. However most of us would not like to attack the majority so forthrightly.

Why Dawn I had no idea you were the voice for "most of us". But since you assert that let me say it is a losing strategy in my opinion to focus on the emotional issues. Rather the focus should be on the unequal treatment of couples under the law. If the economic privileges of heterosexual marriages are attacked in the courts as unequal treatment the game will suddenly change. Simple Alinsky approach of raising the stakes if you are on the losing side of a win/lose situation. Rules for radicals 101 if you will.

I think it helps.

When we leave who we really are to the imagination, we give prejudice an opportunity to fill in the missing information.

The application required the clerk to say "no" to real people. People who appear to be authentically decent: People with genuinely kind faces, tastefully dressed, who conduct themselves in a polite and respectful way, members of the community who have had lifelong relationships and who have raised children, and so on.

Prejudice can still makes its appearance, but it's going to look a whole lot uglier when it's directed against a person, instead of a monster conjured up by a radio talk show host, or a political newsletter writer, etc.

I agree with Eva. I think it helps. I work in courthouses in Virginia. I have been there when these actions have taken place. Some of these clerks have never known a gay person. They typically respond with words to the effect that they are sworn to uphold VA law, but the effect on clerks and all who witness can have a ripple effect. People will remember the faces. They will remember the hurt, anger, or pain it caused, and it will be discussed. We know this is tough on participants, those who put themselves out there, but they should know they are making a difference. Push on. Do more. One or two can change history.

Angela Brightfeather | October 5, 2011 12:43 PM

I think this move will hurt the chances of the NC amendment from failing and enhance it's passage.

As a NC resident, but with a Yankee background, and after some of the input made over the last few weeks noted by Matt Comer of Q-Notes, it is apparent to me that heigntening the rhetoric will just turn of southern sensibilities and provide those who would not normally care, and provide more impetus to be contrary, just to prove a point. Which is, "we don't stand for those ways down here."

My opinion is that proponents should be going to their own churches in NC and ask for time behind the pulpit to make their case and why it is so important to them. In fact, that approach would be respected, more than trying to force someone's hand to make a point.

I like the people here in NC just as much as in NY where I lived most of my life and I find they respect common sense arguments and listen when treated with respect. To most people in NC who will be voting in May, their entire arguement is based on the bible and what it says. The only way to change minds on this is to publicly and outwardly challenge the government systems that enterpret the bible as a right to incorporate discrimination against GLBT people and their families and how such discrimination affects their lives negatively. The home turf for that discussion is inside the churches that allow this to happen and encourage it. If we do not represent ourselves by actually facing the problems courageously by entering the lion's den, then we will lose in May. An example of someone who has done just that and has influenced North Carolinians to change their minds is Rev. Jimmy Creech, who has brought the argument to the churches and challenged them. The fact that many voters in NC still are not aware that there are already two laws in the existing NC statutes barring SSM in this state and that a consitutional amendment is just a waste of time, duplicative and downright mean, should be the first approach. Beyond that point, people should be asked why they support discrimination against the children of GLBT people and why they think that is the correct thing to do?

Angela Brightfeather, As a Southerner, a Christian (United Church of Christ but from a Methodist family), and a former North Carolina resident, I think your approach definitely sounds like the correct one. If people realized that the Bible actually supports treating gay families and individuals equally, then they would vote in our favor. While you may not be able to get time behind the pulpit to support love, fairness, and non-judgmentalism, particularly in some fundamentalist Southern Baptist congregations, you can still discuss these issues during coffee hour, Bible study, Sunday school, and church council meetings.

Don Sherfick Don Sherfick | October 5, 2011 12:59 PM

I somethimes wonder about using the argument against these types of amendments by saying "we already have a law on the books". A friendly straight friend recently told me that came across as "don't worry, all you folks who think gays and gay marriage is an undersirable icky thing, you're already protected from all that stuff anyway." In other words, if we really want something, why do we dwell on the fact that the law already doesn't give it to us? Food for thought.