Same sex marriage (SSM), civil unions, & domestic partnerships
In North Carolina
2014-MAY-01: Current status of SSM and Civil Unions in North Carolina:
Neither civil unions nor same-sex marriages are available to residents of North Carolina. The situation in this state is particularly interesting because no majority opinion exists:
This is every politician's nightmare. No matter what move they make, they will generate a lot of animosity on the part of most voters. Even making no move generates animosity.
A majority of voters favor recognition of the relationships of loving, committed same-sex couples in some fashion -- either by legalizing same-sex marriage or by creating a system of civil unions. Only a minority favors the present system. Many religious and social conservatives remained enthusiastic about trying to preserve the status quo by changing the constitution to prevent the legislature or the state courts from recognizing same-sex relationships in any way. Some describe this position as motivated by simple animus towards the lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) community. However many persons who are opposed to recognition of same-sex relationships sincerly believe that:
A large majority of LGBs, religious and social liberals, therapists and counselors, human sexuality researchers, etc. strongly deny the validity of the first six beliefs.
Most religious and social conservatives want loving, committed couples to be treated as "legal strangers" -- as simple roomates. They wrote Amendment One to the state Constitution to ban SSMs, domestic partnerships, and civil unions. However, the sponsors of the amendment realized that it would be turned down by the voters if the latter became totally aware of its scope. Thus it it was promoted as a simple prohibition of SSM in the hopes that voters would not notice the wide scope of the amendment.
The promoters of Amendment One were successful. The people of North Carolina did not realize that this was a stealth amendment. It passed on 2012-MAY-08 with about a 61% vote in favor. When the people of North Carolina eventually realize that they were deceived, there may well be considerable backlash.
The result is a major controversy.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in North America:
There are more than 60 active lawsuits in federal District Courts seeking permission to marry. They typically involve one or more same-sex couples who are seeking to marry:
However, North Carolina is an exception to the above. On 2014-APR-26, the United Church of Christ filed a lawsuit seeking to have Amendment One declared unconstitutional. They argue that the current law makes it a crime for a member of their clergy to solemnize the marriage of a same-sex couple. This would appear to be an obvious violation of the principle of separation of church and state as required by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.