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Same-sex couples seek marriage licenses
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Same-sex couples seek marriage licenses




Steve Myszak left without a marriage license Monday, but he believes he won’t always have to take no for an answer.

Two same-sex couples sought permission to wed at the Wilson County Register of Deeds office to protest North Carolina’s ban on gay marriage. Myszak lives in Wilson with his partner, Monty Garrish, and their adopted 5-year-old boy, Sonny.

"It evokes an emotional response — partially empowering, because it’s something we can do to go up and request when we know we’re going to be denied,” Myszak said. "We do want to ask. We want people to recognize that we have that right, that we are equal.”

Myszak and Garrish were married July 17 in New York, one of nine states that, along with the District of Columbia, recognizes same-sex marriage. Because of a federal law undergoing legal challenge, North Carolina isn’t required to honor their spousal status.

"Our family, our friends are here,” Myszak said. "Why would we want to leave them? Our employment’s here. This is our home.”

Register of Deeds Lisa Stith met Myszak and Garrish at the customer service counter and listened patiently as they made their case for marriage.

"Unfortunately, at this time North Carolina does not recognize marriage between same-sex couples,” Stith said. "Sorry, I can’t issue you a license at this time.”

Myszak thanked the register of deeds for her professionalism and courtesy.

"Thank you very much,” he said after Stith denied his application. "I understand you’re doing your job.”

Moments later, Wilson residents Sheila Milne and Susan Myers approached Stith hand-in-hand and asked for a marriage license. They’ve been partners for 26 years and have an 11-year-old daughter.

Myers and Milne also were wed out-of-state. Myers said it’s "ridiculous” that their union isn’t recognized in North Carolina.

"Sometimes, we kid each other when we argue and we say, ‘I’m going to take you up to New York and divorce you,’” Myers joked. "You can’t really get divorced here.”

A crowd of supporters marched with the two couples to the register of deeds office and formed a prayer circle on the Wilson County Courthouse’s side lawn. The demonstration is part of the Campaign for Southern Equality’s We Do initiative, which is designed to boost public support for same-sex marriage throughout the Southeast.

 

LEGAL LANDSCAPE

In May, North Carolina voters approved a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The amendment duplicates a state statute that requires opposite-sex spouses.

"At this time, we have to go by the North Carolina general statutes,” Stith told Milne and Myers. "We have to obey the North Carolina general statutes, and at this time, that’s what it states — marriage is between a male and female. We have to abide by those statutes.”

The federal Defense of Marriage Act, passed in 1996, prevents states where gay marriage is illegal from having to recognize same-sex unions approved in other states. Several courts have ruled the law unconstitutional, and the Supreme Court is set to hear the case in late March.

President Barack Obama pushed for the law’s repeal, and in 2011, he directed Attorney General Eric Holder and the U.S. Department of Justice to stop defending the DOMA against legal challenges. Congress may defend the law’s constitutionality in place of the executive branch.

Proposition 8, the ballot measure that California voters passed in 2008 to restrict marriage to one man and one woman in the state constitution, also is on the Supreme Court’s calendar this spring.

Lower courts have overturned the amendment, finding that it violated residents’ rights to due process and equal protection under the law.

Myers predicts that all laws banning same-sex marriage eventually will be overturned, though the process may take decades and some states may be more resistant to change than others.

"I think it will, but anything like this is going to be slow,” she said. "We keep hoping. The time will come, for sure. We feel sure (11-year-old daughter) Cameron will see it.”

Support for same-sex marriage has increased over the past two decades, but the issue remains divisive. A Gallup poll conducted last May found that 50 percent of Americans believe gay marriage should be legal and 48 percent believe it should be illegal.

"I think whenever you bring a face and a story to the table that helps enlighten other people, the stories are going to change a person’s mind or at least help them open up to new ideas,” Myszak said.

While Myers believes federal and state governments should treat same-sex and opposite-sex couples equally, she said she supports churches’ First Amendment right to oppose gay marriage and to refuse to perform wedding ceremonies.

"I believe people have the right to have their beliefs,” she said. "If their belief is against it, I believe that their church should be able to say, ‘We don’t recognize same-sex marriage.’”

 

EQUAL RIGHTS RALLY

More than two-dozen people joined Myszak and Garrish and Milne and Myers as they walked to the register of deeds office. They cheered and applauded when the couples emerged and walked across North Goldsboro Street to St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church for a brief prayer meeting.

"Today, we gather to resist laws we believe to be unjust and also to show love and reconciliation for those who support those laws and those whose job it is to enforce them,” Minister Douglas S. Long of Umstead Park United Church of Christ in Raleigh said outside the register of deeds office.

The Campaign for Southern Equality sponsored We Do rallies in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and South Carolina this month. The nonprofit group left Wilson for Winston-Salem, where same-sex couples also sought permission to wed Monday.

"It is going to take everything we’ve got to change the law in our country,” said the Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara of Asheville, the group’s executive director. "But history has taught us that change comes when real people take action in the towns they live in.”

Beach-Ferrara expects to see a considerable increase in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights in the American Southeast.

"This is about as grassroots as a movement can be,” she said. "It is literally growing one person at a time, one conversation at a time. These actions may not change the law right away, but they are having an impact.”

Beach-Ferrara said the Campaign for Southern Equality plans to return to Wilson for more campaigns designed to raise support for same-sex marriage.

Myers said the goal of leaving the office with a marriage license isn’t the only reason to apply for one. She believes her request for equal rights and the graciousness with which she accepts the denial might help change people’s minds.

"We’ve got to keep doing this,” she said on the courthouse lawn. "It’s 30 seconds of Lisa Stith’s life. She’ll go home and she’ll have to think about it.”

Myers and Milne said despite North Carolina’s legal inequities, she doesn’t feel like her home is a hostile place for same-sex couples.

"This is a great community,” Myers said. "We have a wonderful community of friends, gay and straight, who support us.”

 

corey@wilsontimes.com | 265-7821
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View Comments:Show/Hide(51 comments)
said...

Way to go RI. Soon to become the 10th state plus DC.

Saturday, January 26, 2013 at 10:49 PM
said...

that is why S. court are appointed for life no political pressure. Get over it.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at 12:08 AM
Inaugural thoughts and thanks said...

In 1991, I watched 300 people - all identifying as Christians at the General Synod of the United Church of Christ, meeting in Norfolk, VA - rally in a public protest against Virginia's CAN ("Crimes Against Nature") laws. I knew I was watching history being made and I openly wept. I'd never known so many Christians, mostly non-gay, come together and speak out against discrimination toward lgbt people. So much has changed since then. Today, we watched history once again...the President of the United States addressing our "gay brothers and sisters" and the call for equality; the placing of Stonewall alongside Seneca Falls and Selma; of speaking for the love that is no different in commitment between a same-sex couple or an opposite-sex couple. I cried. Thank-you, Mr. President. Thank-you to every courageous lgbt person who's come out to themselves and/or family, co-workers, neighbors, church members, etc. Thank-you to everyone who's marched at PRIDE. Thank-you to Open & Affirming faith communities that publicly announce their welcome and advocacy (my own congregation has a rainbow flag beside its sign and again at the door), thank-you to PFLAG (Parents, Families, & Friends of Lesbians & Gays), thank-you to legislators, judges, and preachers who've spoken on behalf of those who cannot yet speak. I cannot thank-you enough; I weep at the history being made and in so doing, am humbled to be part of it. I relate to MLK, Jr. and all oppressed, spat-upon peoples, their courage, their willingness to go to the grave that all may be free. Let us continue in the work to set all free...we shall overcome, we will not give up the fight we have just begun, we'll walk hand in hand one day. Mine eyes have seen the glory! Hallelujah, Amen!


Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at 10:51 PM
said...

A May 10 USA Today/Gallup Poll, taken one day after Barack Obama became the first sitting President to express support for same-sex marriage,showed 51% of Americans agreed with the President's endorsement, while 45% disagreed.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at 10:21 PM
said...

“It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia, to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for and cherished and always safe from harm.” ~ President Obama

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 4:33 PM
Ready said...

Thank you President Obama for adding this issue to your inauguration speech. The Justices were paying attention and I for one can't wait for them to handle this issue so we can move on. They will want to be on the right side of history. So excited!

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 1:24 PM @ reality said...

Everybody has a mother and a father. Really? Is that your argument for wanting to keep gay couples from obtaining full equality under the law and to protect their families and their children. Yes, while everyone in this world has a biological sperm donor and an biological egg donor (whether married or not), not everyone has a mother and a father. Do you know the difference between the two? Are you saying that adopted children don't have parents? They are not with the egg donor and the sperm donor that created them. What about children left without parents due to war? Are they somewhat less of a person? How about children that lost one or both parents in an accident? How about the 2/3 of the children in this world that separated from parents due to divorce? Very weak argument. I guess if a single lady is pregnant she should choose to abort the child because in your eyes the child is already less than. Is that what you were talking about? My mother was raised by her grandmother due to the death of her parents. She did alright? President Obama and Bill Clinton were raised by single women and well, look at the news today and you will see that they both did very well.

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 11:18 AM 3x @wait and see said...

All of you are very angry but you still know that case law will be a large factor. Since Madison v Marberry the Supremes are only to look at Constitutional law. Those are the facts. I am truly sorry but none of you contradicted what I said about the law when it comes to states rights. Because of that case the court is bound to only rule on the Constitution findings. Marriage is a states rights issue plain and simple. I am not asking you to move. I feel bad for you but the truth is the truth.I am a heterosexual married person but if I had to move to be with my spouse to be in love and enjoy all the things I wanted I would move to any state to seek true happiness. You only have one life and no idea when your time is up. I am very liberal on a lot of things like abortion. Women have the soul right to choose. I welcome women in all forms of government and the military if they can pass the same PT tests that are required. However the truth is marriage is a religious arrangement. As far as gay rights in employment issues I do not understand what you are talking about. This has been in existence for many many years.As far as moving to another country I am retired military. I served so you may have the right to have your say. Please do not insult me by saying I should move. I am pretty sure I have seen more of the "bad" part of the world than you. I have been in countries that would just kill you for thinking about saying the things you have said here. That goes without saying you would openly say you are gay. That would surely be a death sentence.

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 12:59 AM @@@wait and see said...

Gay people do not have equal rights in terms of employment, employment benefits, housing, etc. The Supreme Court for the first time will be deciding on marriage equality, which encompasses inheritance rights, social security benefits, and other federal benefits. Same-sex partners are not considered "next-of-kin" as are legally married opposite-sex partners. Trust me, I know. The argument for states' rights has always been code for allowing states to continue discrimination (slavery, women's suffrage, etc). It's very clear where you're coming from.

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 11:22 PM @ @@wait and see said...

I feel fairly confident that you voted for Mitt Romney. Why don't you move to another country because you surely did not get want you wanted and according to all the whining of late, you are probably not happy here. If you don't like it here....move. That would surely stop all this whining I am hearing and sick to death of. Why would a gay person move and leave their homes, family, friends, communities? Juvenile response. Gay people are getting married in other states and holding steadfast until things change. What if women just moved when they were fighting for equal rights? What if African Americans moved when they were tired of sitting in the back of the bus? Are you serious. I am gay and going no where. You might want to move. What do you care if my partner gets my social security if I were to die. Sure, you can do wills and such. But that is not equality under the federal law and it does not help us with Estate Taxes, Social Security, adoption of our children, other taxes, and more than I can mention. Why do straight people marry? Don't even say that it is only to have children because I know many couples that can't have children and their marriages are just as solid at the couples that have children. I will be glad to help you pack. Maryland is nice...oh wait...they have gay marriage. Hmmm...how about Maine...oh wait they also have gay marriage. Perhaps Washington State...darn...struck out again. Oh I know, you can move to New York or many of the New England states...darn...Well, there is always Canada...good God...struck out again. England is just a short boat trip....pardon me for I have failed you again. Let me see....you could move to Mississippi or Alabama right now...Yea, you would be safe for a few years there I suppose.....and you would probably fit in very well. Good luck to you and happy travels. May you dive deep in your soul and really find the answer to why you "really" spend so much on this issue when it is clearly going to happen. Look at the polls. Oh right, as you watch FOX news, you probably don't believe in polls (remember election night). If you had listened to the polls, you would not have been blindsided and left so darn angry. U-Hauls are fairly inexpensive and most have really good shocks to make your travels more comfortable.

Sunday, January 20, 2013 at 8:31 PM reality said...

This is not even close to racial issues. This is about common sense. We all have a father and mother.

Sunday, January 20, 2013 at 8:22 PM @@ wait and see said...

So do you honestly feel that with over 50% in
approval at THIS time that "marriage- which is a contract that starts in the court and ends in the court" will not happen for gay couples. 9 states and DC = roughly 20% of the USA (oh and over two dozen countries). This has just started. Of course, the south will be last which is to be expected. The Supreme Justices will base their decision on the law...not religion. I wish I knew who you are so I could propose a friendly wager with you.....because I am 100% sure I will win this one.


Sunday, January 20, 2013 at 8:05 PM @ @ wait and see said...

What you fail to realize or maybe do not wish to see is the process that the circuit courts have used in this matter. They have ruled for marriage rights for G&L but only in the matters to restore what Clintons Marriage Act took away. Their is not one ruling that overturns a state that has voted against G&L marriage for the first time. Remember the Constitution protects equal rights. Gays have those already such as the nondiscrimination work place or housing laws. Gays also have the right to prepare wills and other legal documents to pass along their possessions after death. Like straight people the documents are subject to the standing laws of each state. What G&Ls want is to say they are "married". In other words they want to use the word, however, it implies a religious connotation. As marriage has historically been left to the states as a states rights issue with hundreds of case law episodes to reinforce it I do not see the Supremes overturning it. This is not to argue with anyone but study the case laws and you will see my point. What they will probably is leave it to each state and say if you want to get married then move to that state were you can be recognized.

Sunday, January 20, 2013 at 10:45 AM @ wait and see said...

I agree. I have faith in the Supreme Court. Although some judges may have strong religious beliefs one way or the other, they will recognize what is a constitutional right. They will join the other 9 states and District of Columbia in righting this wrong.

Sunday, January 20, 2013 at 10:57 PM Wait & see said...

I'm quite curious re those who keep referring to the NC vote on Amendment One as the final decision. Eventually the Supreme Court will be ruling on marriage equality and the vote to put that amendment into the NC state constitution may count for naught. It seems that some do not recognize this scenario. Should the Supreme Court rule for equality, I hope folks won't be claiming "judicial activism". We have a federal judicial branch that can overrule state laws, which has often been the case when it comes to protecting civil rights. We should know one way or the other by this summer.

Sunday, January 20, 2013 at 9:47 PM The truth is... said...

On the basis of a remarkably consistent body of research on lesbian and gay parents and their children, the American Psychological Association (APA) and other health professional and scientific organizations have concluded that there is no scientific evidence that parenting effectiveness is related to parental sexual orientation. That is, lesbian and gay parents are as likely as heterosexual parents to provide supportive and healthy environments for their children. This body of research has shown that the adjustment, development and psychological well-being of children are unrelated to parental sexual orientation and that the children of lesbian and gay parents are as likely as those of heterosexual parents to flourish.
In 2004, the APA Council of Representatives adopted a policy resolution including the following statement based on a review of the best available science:
There is no scientific evidence that parenting effectiveness is related to parental sexual orientation: lesbian and gay parents are as likely as heterosexual parents to provide supportive and healthy environments for their children (Patterson, 2000, 2004; Perrin, 2002; Tasker, 1999); See the full resolution on the Sexual Orientation, Parents, & Children webpage.
APA has continued to monitor the research since 2004 and report that research in our amicus briefs, such as in the Gill vs. OPM case. On the basis of the research, APA continues to oppose any discrimination based on sexual orientation in matters of adoption, child custody and visitation, foster care, and reproductive health services.


Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 4:37 PM Shhhh.....don't tell SJM said...

“You have to remember, rights don't come in groups we shouldn't have 'gay rights'; rights come as individuals, and we wouldn't have this major debate going on. It would be behavior that would count, not what person belongs to what group.”
? Ron Paul

Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 12:57 PM @Biddle and Baines...keeping watch on their flock said...

“At some point in our lifetime, gay marriage won't be an issue, and everyone who stood against this civil right will look as outdated as George Wallace standing on the school steps keeping James Hood from entering the University of Alabama because he was black.”
? George Clooney

Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 12:56 PM The people spoke....loud and clear said...

“I’ve always opposed gay marriage. I believe that we should provide equal rights to people regardless of their sexual orientation but I do not believe that marriage should be between two people of the same gender.” — Mitt Romney, Jan.
16, 2012, at the Fox News/WSJ debate in South Carolina.


Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 12:53 PM Thanful said...

All men are created equal in the eyes of our Lord. I am thankful that the world is evolving and becoming more "Christlike". Very happy for all that will soon have equal rights under the law.

Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 12:31 PM bottom line said...

All I know is the vote says it all. Surveys, opinions and comments do not matter. The vote is what is counted. Just as those who hate Obama do not matter because he won because of the vote not because of all the surveys, opinions and comments. NC like MANY other states voted and it did not pass. All that other is just fluff so get over it move on or move out!

Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 10:17 AM to gray fox said...

You bring up "nature's way of pro-creating". Many couples, gay and straight, engage in intimate, sexual behavior with absolutely no intention of pro-creating. Does that make their relationship abnormal? immoral? illegitimate? Further, couples where one person is intersexed may be unable to pro-create because their reproductive organs are not congruent with their gender identity or gender expression. Should these couples be allowed to marry - or should the state nullify their marriages when it's discovered that one spouse is intersexed (which is not uncommon for couples to learn at infertility clinics)? Many opposite gender couples enter into marriage with no intention of pro-creating (both younger and older couples). And yes, pedophilia is a crime committed by both heterosexuals and homosexuals. However, our laws do not prohibit imprisoned criminals from marrying someone of the opposite gender. As to morality, the child in this article is legally adopted - yet does not have the same legal rights as children of legally married heterosexual couples. Is our society a moral one when it denies equality to children of legally married same-sex couples? In a few months, the Supreme Court will be ruling on the constitutionality of DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act, passed before any state legalized same-sex marriage). It is quite likely that same-sex couples legally married in one of nine states and the District of Columbia will gain federal recognition of their marriages if the court rules in their favor. When that happens, imagine the headache for states like North Carolina. In this Wilson Times article, we have a same-sex couple legally married in one of those nine states. If their marriage wins federal recognition, they will be able to file their Federal Income Tax forms as a married couple (they must currently file as "single" on federal tax forms). Will NC be required to change its tax rules/tax codes to correspond with federal law recognizing these couples? Smart states are those who voted against such amendments, as this will be a costly enterprise to undo what these states have done. (In other words, if you are a married opposite-sex couple in NC, how would you like to move to another state and have your marriage declared null and void at tax time...and how will businesses feel in the future about relocating to states with restrictive marriage laws? Lots to think about.

Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 12:42 AM @@@one more time said...

For many years, a majority of states believed women did not have the right to vote. That changed as society re-thought the nature of women (which was long believed to be "more emotional than rational - thus, women should not be in the voting booth". Society is once again changing...the majority of states that added constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage did so years ago. In every referendum where a state's people had the opportunity to vote on marriage equality, same-sex marriage was banned. Until 2012 - and then, 3 states (Maryland, Maine, and Washington) bucked the trend and another state voted not to include an amendment to their constitution that would ban same-sex marriage. Our country is changing in its views, though southerners may have difficulty realizing such. The majority of those who believe that homosexuality is a sin live in the south and identify as evangelical, Christian fundamentalists. As an American, if you believe homosexuality is a sin, you are now in the minority. Those who believe homosexuality is a sin can oppose legislation or judicial decisions that offer equality, but expect the comeback: only a minority of Americans believe homosexuality is morally objectionable.

Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 11:12 PM @another thought said...

I don't go to church, don't follow any religion, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out homosexuality is not natural. Surely you sat through sex ed in school and figured that one out on your own??? We all have a mother and a father and if whatever started life here on earth followed your advice we would have had only couple and the human race would have died with them, right? And I have to assume God (if he exists) doesn't care about statistics either right? Just because a minority believes or doesn't believe never changes right or wrong does it? Oh how our society has been duped into being so politically correct that they are blind to ethics and morals. And we wonder why we are in the shape we are in these days.

Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 11:06 PM Another thought said...

Since a minority of Americans now believe homosexuality is a sin (survey results from Baptist LifeWay Research), wouldn't it be appropriate to label their thinking as deviating from the norm, i.e., abnormal? What goes around comes around....

Friday, January 18, 2013 at 7:42 PM Gray Fox said...

@ One more time..you are exactly right. And @to one more time..."homosexuality is not unnatural"? Good luck with that one with Nature's way of procreating. Also, Sodom and Gomorrah evolved in it's understanding of homosexuality.

Friday, January 18, 2013 at 7:38 PM @ to one more time said...

If what you say is true, then why does the majority of states (people)vote to NOT have what you keep saying so many want?

Friday, January 18, 2013 at 5:21 PM to one more time said...

Homosexuality is atypical, not unnatural (like red hair or being left-handed). When sexual behaviors are understood to be immoral, the elements of willfull power and control over and against another's will are the defining immoral characteristics (as in rape and pedophilia, both of which are behaviors not limited to any particular sexual orientation. Pedophilia assumes that an adult-child sexual relationship is not mutually consensual, because children by their nature are vulnerable to adult power/control). Your opinion is just that: an opinion. Furthermore, it is a minority opinion - which does not make it an unnatural opinion, but one that is simply atypical. BTW, a new Southern Baptist affiliated survey released last week by LifeWay Research indicates that the number of Americans like you who affirm homosexuality as sinful/immoral is now at 37 percent, with the majority of those in that category living in the south and identifying as Christian fundamentalists. So, enjoy the new reality: you now have minority status in regard to what you and your belief system define as immoral. Prayer is not likely to change the American landscape in regard to its evolving understanding of human sexuality and homosexuality in particular. So weep if you like.

Friday, January 18, 2013 at 2:09 PM One more time said...

Every time this topic comes up, I feel the need to comment. Homosexuality is no different from other sexual deviations for which we would never think of allowing marriages. Pedophilia, bestiality, necrophilia...these are just as unnatural as homosexuality. There should be no unions of this type, whether for emotional, religious, or economic reasons. Perhaps homosexuals can't control their sexual urges, but they can control acting on them. It's all about control.

Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 6:07 PM said...

I was going to comment also but the majority on NC did last May so I do no have to .

Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 7:49 AM Thanks Wilson Times said...

So very proud to be part of this community and see it evolving. People need to realize that although their own personal beliefs may differ from that of others, that everyone deserves to be treated equally at a federal level. Thank you Wilson Times for doing such a fantastic job covering this event.

Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 7:49 AM @ increasing majority said...

I was going to comment on this story but I would only duplicate your comments. Well said!

Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 1:36 AM Increasing majority said...

Since NC added an amendment to its constitution forbidding recognition of same-sex marriage, the number of states making same-sex marriage has risen to 10, plus the District of Columbia. A Republican-controlled legislature in New Hampshire voted to keep same-sex marriage legal in that state. Several other states are considering making same-sex marriage legal. Another state decided not to add an amendment to its constitution forbidding same-sex marriage. In the courts, the only arguments against same-sex marriage are coming from a religious orientation that uses fear as its primary defense (the wrath of God, destruction of the family, etc). Unfortunately for religious conservatives, the number of Americans who support marriage equality as a civil right has increased dramatically in the past few years. Millions of religious people are among them - so the hell, fire, and damnation rhetoric of conservative religious people is clearly being relegated more and more to the fringe. Many religious people are now recognizing the conservative viewpoint of denying civil marriage to same-sex couples a narrow viewpoint. Conservative Americans living in the southeast seem to be in denial about this changing trend, probably because the religious climate in the south is majority conservative. The majority of Americans elsewhere are increasingly better able to distinguish between a civil right and a religious rite. For example, my brother and sister-in-law were denied marriage in the Roman Catholic Church because she is divorced and refused to seek an annulment of her first marriage (she is Cathoic). The Catholic Church believes they are living in sin and had every right to exercise its theological understanding in denying them the sacrament of marriage. The government, however, did not stand in the way of their being married. And so it is with same-sex couples in an increasing number of states: marriage may be denied in a religious setting (thoough it's not difficult to find Jewish, Protestant, or Unitarian congregations where same-sex couples can marry in states where it's legal) - but the government, free of a particular religious viewpoint, legally sanctions same-sex marriage. As are most civil rights, this will ultimately be decided for all of us by the Supreme Court of this country - and probably in the not too distant future. When marriage equality is the law of the land (and that's no longer far-fetched), conservative North Carolinians against marriage equality can choose to do several things: continue to fume (anger is ultimately unhealthy); move to another country where marriage is denied to same-sex couples, or try to get a majority of citizens to vote for secession from the Union (not likely to happen). You will, however, continue to have the legal option of being part of a religious institution that denies same-sex marriage (though in North Carolina, there will be no shortage of Jewish, Christian, and Unitarian congregations that will permit same-sex marriages).

Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 9:50 PM To Give It Up said...

"The will of the majority should never bend to that of the minority." If this were the case, you'd be living in an America that still practiced slavery and disenfrancised African-Americans and women the right to vote.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 9:28 AM Resident said...

Repent America!!!!!!!!! before the wrath of God fall.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 9:24 AM Christian said...

My two views: 1) If you are a Bible believing Christian you can't overlook Romans 1. It can't be any clearer. 2) But that does not mean hate gay people, turn your back on them nor ignore them. Christian people should be the first people to offer support, help, prayers, whatever. ALL Christians are SINNERS even after accepting Christ. It also says in the Bible your body is a temple and that gluttony is a sin yet I've seen many a Christian overweight, fat, in poor health, smoking, not exercising, eating fatty foods, etc. Funny how Christians pick and choose and don't apply the same spot light on their own sins. That's why the Bible says to pull the beam out of your own eye before pointing out the spec in your fellow citizen's eye. Matt 7:5 (better known as being a hypocrite).

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 8:30 AM My opinion said...

im not gay. but if the worst thing two people want to do is be married and love each other. let them. it doesn't affect the sactitity of your marriage. dont worry about what others do. take care of your own family and be happy. you can say "the bible says this and that" but not everyone beleives in YOUR religion so no argument there plus. god loves everyone and is forgiving.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 7:42 AM to God Created.... said...

Why shouldn't that man kill his wife? She was a nag and man wasn't put on this earth for his wife to nag him. He is superior.
Why shouldn't that man love that 13 year old girl? She is all grown up like an adult and she loves him too.
The problem with these things is that they're not only illegal, they're immoral. According to the article, these couples are all ready married. I was married out of the country, not here in NC where I live. I didn't feel the need to have a ceremony here (which, of course, would have only been a formality for our friends and family since we were already married).
Christianity has given up so much in this PC world. God is becoming smaller and smaller to many Americans. Why do we have to give marriage up? Can we not leave anything to be sacred for God fearing people?
Having said all that, I do believe in equality for people who pledge themselves to each other. I don't think the marriage ban should have dissolved civil unions. I believe that same sex couples who are together should be able to receive benefits from not only employers but from social security too. I just want marriage to mean a man and a woman.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 8:44 PM Give It Up said...

We had a referendum during the last election cycle. Your side lost. The people of the state of NC have spoken. Deal with it. You are in the minority on this issue. The will of the majority should never bend to that of the minority. That is part of the reason this country is in such a mess today.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 8:36 PM God created all people. . . said...

Both of these couples are in loving, committed relationships (longer than most heterosexual marriages) so it is unfair that they can't be legally wed. People should stop promoting their interpretation of the Bible on everyone. These gay individuals were born that way--it is not a choice--as GOD created them. How do you dispute that? Do you think these people are CHOOSING to be discriminated against? Really? What will it harm if we allow them to get married? NOTHING. It will NOT hurt heterosexual marriages. You are denying these people a basic right. I am Christian and I will gladly meet my maker one day with a loving heart as someone who accepts ALL people and thinks we ALL deserve the same rights. God Bless.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 4:15 PM to Christian with gratitude said...

"Thank you to all who participated in this rally, especially the couples who applied for a marriage license. I am from one of the states where marriage is legal (voted on not by so-called "activist judges" or an "activist legistlature," but by the people themselves)."
We here in NC also voted, and when the votes were tallied the majority of the people who voted, voted against homosexual marriage.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 4:11 PM Prophet said...

The headline is correct (one day they will all be welcomed with open arms....but whose?)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 3:40 PM ET said...

I do not agree because its not in the bible where two same sex suppose to be together it was one woman and one man not two women and two men. SORRY DO NOT AGREE..this is my opinion

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 3:17 PM Hello Identity Theft.... said...

Obviously it is time for the WDT to brush up on Identity Theft do's and don'ts after posting a picture of the two ladies detailed personal information. Brilliant.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 2:16 PM Supporter said...

I was at the We Do action. The lady holding the camera was from Carolina 14 news. Also, the point of this action is not a legal one. That can be saved for the ACLU not the Campaign for Southern Equality.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 1:10 PM At Peace said...

Whether you agree or disagree with what occurred the point of the protest was a peaceful one. There are always extremists on both sides of the "isle." This was a different approach that appears to have treated everyone involved with dignity. Also, it appears that it is starting/continuing conversations about human rights. I for one am glad that this action occurred in our town and that it continues an educational and intellectual conversation. For those who state gays and lesbians should just leave and go elsewhere shows immaturity as well as shows a lack the ability to have a conversation.
Thank you to the Wilson Daily Times and to the groups and couples for bringing attention to this human rights issue.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 1:06 PM Amen @the key said...

This is just ridiculous. Just bc I don't agree with their lifestyle don't mean I detest them or wish harm upon them. See, true Christians love all people.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 12:53 PM concerned said...

to christian withs gratitude....since u r so into this "thing", why dont u just take all the G&Ls backa to your state and get them married there??? Thanks for coming.....

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 10:39 AM Joke said...

Does not look like much of a turnout for G&L supporters. In picture #3 Mrs. Stith has a camera shoved in her face while talking to the gay male who was applying for a license. What are they wanting her to say something wrong so they can have it on tape and file a lawsuit? I feel bad for her regardless of how polite they were.Why are all looking down in the picture of the march ? If you are so vocal for your cause look at the camera and shout at the top of your lungs. This crowd looks like a funeral persecution. What a dog and pony show.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 8:13 AM the key said...

The article states "“This is a great community,” Myers said. “We have a wonderful community of friends, gay and straight, who support us.” I think that is the key that many people overlook. Just because we all do not agree does not mean we hate people or want ill will to come to them. Should gay people hate straight people? Absolutely not and the same goes visa versa. I don't agree with same sex marriage but if someone wants to be with the same sex that's their business and does not make them a bad person in my opinion. I'll never vote for a law other than the traditional marriage because that's my belief but I'll be the first person there to help anyone and everyone with anything they need.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 8:02 AM Christian with gratitude said...

Thank you to all who participated in this rally, especially the couples who applied for a marriage license. I am from one of the states where marriage is legal (voted on not by so-called "activist judges" or an "activist legistlature," but by the people themselves). My church (the United Church of Christ, formerly the Congregational Church that Americans recognize as the church of our Pilgrim mothers and fathers) actively works to educate citizens on the importance of marriage equality. It is so heartwarming to know that the majority of Americans now recognize that while churches may choose to deny the rite of marriage, the government should not deny the right of marriage to any citizen based on gender. I am proud to have personally been a part of this movement for lgbt justice for almost 25 years. I have been threatened and many have tried to silence me. My congregation is currently working on issues of justice for transgender citizens and people of faith. Thank-you again.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 4:09 AM
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