Winston-Salem, North Carolina now
recognizes the marriages of its gay and lesbian city employees for
the purpose of benefits.
According to the Winston-Salem
Journal, Carmen Caruth, the city's human resources director,
sent a letter last month informing employees that Winston-Salem would
recognize any valid out-of-state marriage license.
“This means that if you are currently
married to someone of the same sex, and have a valid marriage license
from any state or U.S. jurisdiction, you can enroll your same sex
spouse and children in all city benefits ...” she said in the
Caruth said the decision stemmed from
the state's recent announcement that it would no longer defend in
court its 2012 voter-approved constitutional amendment limiting
marriage to heterosexual couples. North Carolina Attorney General
Roy Cooper announced the about face soon after the Fourth Circuit
Court of Appeals struck down Virginia's ban. North Carolina is also
in the Fourth Circuit.
City Manager Lee Garrity said he does
not know of any other North Carolina city recognizing such marriages,
but added that “several cities were already extending domestic
partnership benefits prior to this.”