News

With same-sex marriages expected to start any moment, NC DHHS delays issuing new marriage license forms

While North Carolina awaits a federal judge’s signal that same-sex couples can marry, county registers of deeds don’t know when they’ll get the necessary forms from the state health agency to marry those couples.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision earlier this week to not take up cases about same-sex marriage paved the way for gay couples to marry in North Carolina, after a federal judge found a state ban on the marriages unconstitutional.

A federal judge lifted a stay late Wednesday, an indication that an order declaring North Carolina’s ban on same-sex marriages unconstitutional will be forthcoming.

Once that happens, county register of deeds can immediately start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

But, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services has yet to respond to requests from county-level registers of deeds for a gender-neutral application form for marriage licenses, as was first reported Tuesday by Q-Notes, a Charlotte-based LGBT publication. Several registers of deeds have said the state have already developed a form.

In the meantime, registers of deed will simply cross out terms like “bride” and “groom,” said Crystal Crump, the register of deeds for Union County and past president of the state association for register of deeds.

“We hate crossing through” on the forms, Crump said, but would prefer that to having to delay issuing marriage licenses.

DHHS said it is aware of the impending changes after the Supreme Court decision, but does not have the authority to release a gender-neutral form until the actual law is changed.

“At this time, N.C. DHHS is bound by existing state law and has no legal authority to issue a gender-neutral form in the absence of a court order or a statutory change,” DHHS spokeswoman Alexandra Lefebvre wrote in a written statement. “N.C. DHHS is aware of the Supreme Court decision and is closely monitoring how it may be applied in several pending cases that involve North Carolina’s marriage law.”

Note: This post changed from the original to include the correct spelling of DHHS spokeswoman Alexandra Lefebvre’s name.

Check Also

UNC Board of Governors face protest, chooses new board chair and interim president

It was a busy day at the final ...

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

On a cozy autumn evening at the luxurious Umstead Hotel in Cary, a medley of corporate luminaries, s [...]

A fix for North Carolina’s class size crisis in March? A GOP senator from Wake County tells his cons [...]

Back in September, the N.C. Historical Commission put off a decision on removing three Confederate m [...]

449,235 - Total undergrad enrollment in North Carolina 19,767 - Total for-profit undergrad enrollmen [...]

Mounting student debt is a nagging problem for most families these days. As the cost of higher educa [...]

Latest racist attacks on immigrants could be an important tipping point As bleak as our national pol [...]

Grand constitutional questions in this country aren’t settled until the Supreme Court has its say, e [...]

The post Gerrymander struck down appeared first on NC Policy Watch. [...]

Featured | Special Projects

NC Budget 2017
The maze of the NC Budget is complex. Follow the stories to follow the money.
Read more


NC Redistricting 2017
New map, new districts, new lawmakers. Here’s what you need to know about gerrymandering in NC.
Read more