Gay rights advocacy groups have been fighting the state's ban on gay marriage in court since it was passed two years ago, and now they're demanding that Gov. Pat McCrory stops fighting them back.
The state has four lawsuits in the district courts challenging N.C. Amendment One, and in the past month, several developments have given fresh momentum to LGBT rights advocates:
1. Advocates with Equality N.C. on Wednesday delivered more than 10,000 petitions to McCrory’s offices in Raleigh, Charlotte and Asheville asking him to stop defending the gay marriage ban. Maybe that number doesn’t speak for the state's entire population, but it’s a considerable number all the same.
2. The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals declared Virginia’s ban against gay marriage unconstitutional last month. Since North Carolina falls under the 4th Circuit's jurisdiction, and Virginia and North Carolina have similar constitutional amendments prohibiting gay marriage, the lawsuits in North Carolina could have claimed the circuit court ruling as a precedent. The legal move would have bolstered their cases and might have put the state's ban in jeopardy. But…
3. The day before gay couples in Virginia were able to legally tie the knot, the Supreme Court issued a stay — meaning the 4th Circuit's ruling has been halted until the High Court decides whether to hear the case next term. While this slows down North Carolina's lawsuits, it might speed up the verdict on the constitutionality of gay marriage bans. It’s likely the Supreme Court will hear the case next term, and they’ll have to come up with a decision by the end of June 2015.