WASHINGTON – Today Federal Judge Max O. Cogburn Jr. ruled against North Carolina’s constitutional amendment banning marriage equality, making North Carolina the latest state to see such a ban struck down since the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its historic marriage rulings last June. In General Synod of the United Church of Christ v. Cooper, the United Church of Christ, who sued the state on behalf of same-sex couples, argued that North Carolina’s ban on marriage equality violates the U.S. Constitution. In his injunction, Judge Max O. Cogburn Jr. wrote, “The issue before this court is neither a political issue nor a moral issue. It is a legal issue and it is clear as a matter of what is now settled law in the Fourth Circuit that North Carolina laws prohibiting same sex marriage, refusing to recognize same sex marriages originating elsewhere, and/or threatening to penalize those who would solemnize such marriages, are unconstitutional.”
“According to today’s District Court ruling and two dozen others over the last year, there is no justifiable reason to keep these discriminatory marriage bans on the books,” said Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. “The truth is, laws prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying serve no purpose other than to harm Americans who simply want to protect and provide for themselves and their families. Ultimately the U.S. Constitution does not allow states to continue discriminating against committed and loving gay and lesbian couples.”
On Monday the nine justices of the Supreme Court announced they had declined to hear any of the cases pending before them challenging state bans on marriage for same-sex couples. This allowed the circuit court decisions striking down the bans to stand.
Gallup puts support for marriage equality at 55 percent – an astonishing 15 point increase from just 5 years ago – with other polls showing support at even higher margins. And support for same-sex marriage rights continues to grow in virtually every demographic group. According to ABC News / Washington Post, 77 percent of adults under age 30 favor marriage equality. 40 percent of Republicans – an all-time high and jump of 16 points in under two years – now support marriage for gay and lesbian couples, while the number of Catholics supporting marriage has grown to 62 percent, according to the New York Times. These numbers continue to grow, with no indication that support will slow down.
The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
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