Judge lifts stay on cases moving N.C. closer to gay marriages

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A federal judge in Greensboro has lifted stays on two ACLU of North Carolina lawsuits challenging the state’s anti-LGBT constitutional amendment, allowing the cases to move forward and bringing the state a step closer to legal same-sex marriages.

The ACLU told WNCN that Judge William Osteen asked the group for a motion on the two cases. ACLU spokesperson Mike Meno said his group was trying to get the motion to strike down the constitutional ban to court before it closes at 5 p.m.

qnotes has been unable to confirm if that motion was successfully submitted. Even if it was and even if the judge somehow ruled this evening, it seems unlikely marriages would proceed until Thursday morning now that register of deeds offices have closed across the state.

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In Charlotte, one couple had been waiting to for the marriage ruling nearly all day. Scott Lindsley and Joey Hewell arrived at the Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds around 11 a.m. this morning. They were once turned away for a marriage license application, but they left with some hope this evening.

As soon as the Greensboro judge lifted his stay, County Register of Deeds J. David Granberry allowed Lindsley and Hewell to fill out a marriage application with one catch — Granberry wouldn’t begin processing it until a final court order was issued.

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Hewell and Lindsley, who have been together for 13 years, say they plan on being at the Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds office bright and early on Thursday morning, when they hope a final order will finally allow them to wed.

In neighboring South Carolina, marriages will likely proceed on Thursday. Today, local officials in Charleston and Richland Counties began allowing same-sex couples to apply for marriage licenses, with couples eligible to wed after a mandatory 24-hour waiting period.

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Posted by Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.