A federal judge considering two cases
challenging North Carolina's ban on gay marriage has sided with
plaintiffs, joining another judge who also struck down the ban.
Judge William Osteen, Jr. declared the
state's 2012 voter-approved constitutional amendment, known as
Amendment One, unconstitutional on Tuesday, four days after Judge Max
O. Cogburn Jr. ruled similarly in a separate case.
North Carolina House Speaker and Senate
Leader Phil Berger had asked both judges to allow them to intervene
in the cases.
Cogburn denied the request, but Osteen
allowed the Republican lawmakers to narrowly join the lawsuit.
“Although it is a very close issue,
this court concludes that the motion to intervene should be granted,
but only for the purpose of lodging an objection and preserving that
objection to this court's application of Bostic,” Osteen
Bostic is the recent case from
the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals that struck down Virginia's ban.
After the Supreme Court decided against hearing an appeal in the
case, the ruling created a precedent for states under the Fourth
Circuit's jurisdiction, including North Carolina.
The state started issuing marriage
licenses to gay couples on Friday and Republican Governor Pat McCrory
has said that he will abide by the rulings, though he did not
discourage the lawmakers from pursuing their appeal.