Buncombe County, North Carolina will
begin accepting marriage applications from gay and lesbian couples
starting Tuesday. However, Drew Reisinger, the county's register of
deeds, has said that he will withhold his signature from the
applications until he is given permission by Attorney General Roy
Cooper said Monday that he supports gay
marriage but is committed to defending a constitutional amendment
limiting marriage to heterosexual unions approved by 61 percent of
voters last year.
Carolina AG Roy Cooper endorses gay marriage.)
Gay couples can begin filling out
applications at 8 AM on Tuesday, Reuters
Reisinger said that he was moved to act
by the recent Supreme Court decision striking down the Defense of
Marriage Act (DOMA), which led to the federal government's decision
to recognize the legal marriages of gay couples.
“Lord knows I've had a handful of
close friends who are in same-sex relationships come in and ask for a
marriage license,” Reisinger said. “It's hard to get the words
out to tell them, 'No.'”
“I have concerns about whether we are
violating people's civil rights based on this summer's Supreme Court
decision,” he added.
According to the 2010 U.S. Census,
Buncombe County has the highest percentage (1.2%) of same-sex couples
of any county in the state.
As part of the Campaign
for Southern Equality's We Do Campaign, launched in 2011, gay and
lesbian couples routinely ask for and are denied marriage licenses in
several Southern states, including North Carolina.
In 2011, Reisinger tweeted a video from
the group, along with caption: “Powerful video of people requesting
a marriage license & being denied.”