Claiming he can no longer live with the guilt of denying marriage licenses to “upstanding citizens,” a county clerk in North Carolina said he will start accepting and processing the paperwork for gay couples — despite a state ban on the unions.
A 2012 amendment to the North Carolina Constitution outright denies same-sex couples from obtaining state-backed and legal marriages. But the register of deeds in Buncombe County, Drew Reisinger, said that’s wrong and that he will file the licenses and push the issue to the state’s highest-ranking prosecutor, Attorney General Roy Cooper, to deal with, The State reported.
Mr. Reisinger said his moral compass wouldn’t let him deny the marriage licenses to “upstanding citizens” any longer, even though state law prohibits them from marrying.
The spokeswoman for the attorney general, meanwhile, issued a clear message to Mr. Reisinger: “These marriage licenses cannot be issued.”
Coincidentally, Mr. Reisinger made the announcement of his rogue decision just hours after Mr. Cooper said publicly that he is supportive of gay marriage. At the same time, Mr. Cooper also said he wouldn’t let his personal views get in the way of his legal duty to uphold state law.
• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at email@example.com.
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