same-sex marriage

Lilly Knoepp

Earlier this month, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Tribal Council upheld its ban on same-sex marriage. BPR looked into how widespread these bans are in Native American Tribal governments across the United States:

Lilly Knoepp

Supporters say they will keep showing up until the tribal council for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians hears their call to recognize same-sex marriage. 

Just like last month, tribal council members voted for a second time not to read a resolution that would change the Cherokee code to recognize same-sex marriage.  

But at Thursday’s meeting, almost 20 Eastern Band members turned out to show their support for the measure. 

Updated at 11 a.m., May 22, 2017

State lawmakers were handed their latest legal defeat Monday, when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down two of the state's congressional districts because race played too large a role in their creation. Since 2011, more than a dozen Republican-backed bills have been struck down in federal and state courts.

Asheville Citizen-Times

Employees of Montreat College are speaking out against a covenant that includes anti-gay marriage and anti-abortion language.  The college is requiring employees to sign it and some have chosen to resign.  Several of them told us why. 

Jeremy Loeb/WCQS

Four North Carolina Republicans are taking a symbolic swipe at gay marriage, introducing a measure rejecting a U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex unions in every state.  Bryson City Republican Mike Clampitt is among them.


Love has been the in the air in Buncombe County in recent years.  The marriage rate in the county has increased as the national average has fallen.  Two reasons are largely why - a marketing push showcasing Buncombe County as a wedding destination has led to a drastic rise in out of state marriages taking place here, as well as the legalization of same-sex weddings in North Carolina in 2014.

NC Gay Marriage Opt-Out Law Being Challenged

Dec 9, 2015

A lawsuit has been filed in Asheville challenging a North Carolina law that allows magistrates to opt out of performing same-sex weddings.  The lawsuit was filed by a team of attorneys who also took on the state's constitutional amendment that limited marriage to one man and one woman.  It was overturned by the same judge that will hear this case: U.S. District Judge Max Cogburn.

Updated Monday 8:22 pm

Gov. Pat McCrory's veto of a bill that would allow some North Carolina court officials to refuse to perform gay marriage activities because of religious objections has been negated by the state Senate.

Senators agreed Monday night to override the veto by a 32-16 vote. That's above the three-fifths threshold necessary. The bill still must clear the House again for the veto to be canceled and the law enacted. The House vote set for Wednesday is less certain because of absent lawmakers last week when the bill passed.

Emily Jan/NPR

Updated 11:09 PM Wednesday:

Two controversial bills: one concerning gay marriage, the other abortion, are closer to becoming law after votes Wednesday.

North Carolina legislators are nearing final approval on legislation allowing some North Carolina court officials to opt out of same-sex marriage duties based on "sincerely held religious" objections.

LGBT In The South Conference in Asheville

Apr 16, 2015

Five hundred civil rights activists are expected to attend the two day weekend conference.  The conference is being hosted by the Campaign for Southern Equality.  David Hurand spoke with the organizations Executive Director Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara. 

Gary Robertson/Associated Press via

Attorney General Roy Cooper said Wednesday he supports requiring North Carolina police to wear body cameras and rejects proposals allowing public officials and potentially businesses to cite religion for declining to serve gay couples.

Tom Bullock/WFAE News

Updated Thursday 7:17 am

Clergy and advocates differ whether judicial officials are obligated by law to carry out civil same-sex marriages in North Carolina even if they object to gay marriage based on religious grounds.

Several people addressed Wednesday a House judiciary panel considering a Senate bill approved last week that would allow a magistrate or assistant or deputy register of deeds to refuse to carry out marriage duties.

Tom Bullock/WFAE News

Charlotte has rejected a measure protecting people from discrimination because of their sexual orientation.

City Council voted Monday night against expanding the city's nondiscrimination ordinance to include sexual orientation, gender expression and gender identity to a list of protected groups. It also would have prohibited discrimination based on someone's marital and familial status.

AP/Gerry Broome

Some North Carolina court officials could opt out of marriage duties — including same-sex marriages — under legislation given the state Senate's approval.

The Senate voted 32-16 Wednesday for a bill giving magistrates and some register of deeds workers the ability to remove themselves from the process because of religious objections. The bill comes after federal judges' in October overturned North Carolina's same-sex marriage ban.

One former and one current magistrate have filed a lawsuit against North Carolina court officials, claiming that being forced to preside over same-sex marriages violates their religious freedoms.

Media outlets report Charlie Smoak, who was a Moore County magistrate for 10 years, and another magistrate listed in the lawsuit as "Jane Doe" over fear that she might lose her job, are targeting the Administrative Office of the Courts.

Mountain XPress

A local legislator in the General Assembly is taking a stand for same-sex couples.  Democratic Senator Terry Van Duyn of Buncumbe County joined a press conference this morning denouncing a bill that sponsors say protects religious freedom.  Senate leader Phil Berger introduced the bill that would allow magistrates to opt out of weddings if they have conflicting religious beliefs.  That could mean anyone, but Van Duyn says same-sex couples are the ones being targeted.

AP/Gerry Broome

Gay marriage is front and center on this year's first real work day at the North Carolina General Assembly.

Senate leader Phil Berger filed a bill Wednesday that would allow magistrates to refuse to preside at same-sex weddings and assistant registers of deeds to not issue licenses based on religious convictions. But they wouldn't be involved in traditional marriages either.

Berger had said he'd file a recusal bill after judges last October struck down North Carolina's constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.


A North Carolina gay rights group is voicing concerns over news that a so-called “religious freedom” bill could be introduced by the state legislature.  Equality North Carolina Executive Director Chris Sgro says the law wouldn’t be about religious freedom at all.  He says one goal would be to give magistrates a way to opt out of performing same-sex weddings – which are now legal in North Carolina.  And he says history has shown that businesses are opposed to these sorts of laws.