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From Rockingham County to New Hanover, from Mecklenburg County to Jackson, Register of Deeds offices across North Carolina are issuing their first same-sex marriage licenses this morning.

QNotes reports that as of this morning, all counties are issuing same-sex marriage licenses:

As of Monday morning, all 100 counties in North Carolina were issuing licenses to same-sex couples. Over the weekend, Iredell County Register of Deeds Matt McCall had said he might not issue the licenses, requesting special notice from North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper or other state officials.

The notice came late Sunday evening in an email to all 100 county registers of deeds from officials at the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Service.

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“I will be issuing marriage licenses to all applicants,” McCall said after receiving the health department email. “This is the confirmation I’ve been waiting for.”

More on Qnotes

Equality NC has been busy catching up with many couples at the courthouses, taking photos and celebrating. Check out some of their intagram photos below or follow them here.

Equality NC has also compiled some helpful information for those LGBTQ couples looking to get married.

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Legal heroes of winning UCC lawsuit stand with newly married couples and @equalitync staff on #DayOneNC #CLT

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Fred and James getting married in Cumberland County!!!! #DayOneNC

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#DayOneNC #MarriageEquality #Raleigh Gabriella and Shawn looking beautiful while getting married.

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#DayOneNC #MarriageEquality #Raleigh ACLU wedding favors.

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#DayOneNC #MarriageEquality #Raleigh People in the park getting an officiated marriage ceremony with John from UCC.

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Commentary

Gay marriage 3Same-sex couple are marrying tonight in the Old North State. And what a marvelous triumph it is for the forces of love, tolerance and progress over those of hate, discrimination and backwardness. Hallelujah!

It’s also a moment in which it’s hard not to take note of the fact that with this momentous change, a prediction of one of the chief architects and defenders of the old, discriminatory law, North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis, came true — just a little early.

As you will recall it was in the spring of 2012 — just weeks before Amendment One was passed by voters during a primary election and while he was campaigning for it — that House Speaker Tillis predicted the Amendment’s ultimate demise:

“If it passes, I think it will be repealed within 20 years,” Tillis said.

As it turned out the repeal came in just 29 months and Tillis, who always seemed weirdly unconvincing in his support of the Amendment (perhaps even as he was cynically trying to stand in the courthouse door to block same-sex couples from gaining equality this week) is left to consider the ruins of one of his signature “accomplishments” as a state leader.

In a way, it’s seems somewhat fitting that things happened this way and at this moment in time in the state’s political history. A long, dark era in state history came crashing down today. Perhaps it will be just the start of several dramatic turnarounds for the state as supporters of change and modernity finally take note of their own power and move rapidly to send the purveyors of fear and reaction into forced retirement.

News

Shortly after Judge Osteen gave plaintiffs until Monday to respond to intervention of legislative leaders in one same-sex marriage case in Greensboro, a federal judge in the Western District struck down a same-sex marriage ban in a case brought by the United Church of Christ and has denied legislative leaders’ request for intervention. QNotes reports:

A federal judge in North Carolina’s Western District has issued an order permanently prohibiting defendants in a United Church of Christ lawsuit against North Carolina’s anti-LGBT amendment from enforcing the ban. Additionally, the judge denied Republican state leaders’ motion to intervene in the case.

U.S. District Court Judge Max O. Cogburn, Jr., issued his two orders shortly after 5 p.m.

“Defendants are PERMANENTLY ENJOINED from enforcing such laws to the extent these laws prohibit a person from marrying another person of the same gender, prohibit recognition of same-sex marriages lawfully solemnized in other States, Territories, or a District of the United States, or seek to punish in any way clergy or other officiants who solemnize the union of same-sex couples,” Cogburn wrote.

More from QNotes

From WRAL

Equality NC has information for LGBTQ couples looking to get married here: http://equalitync.org/marriage/dayone/

Commentary

It’s frequently the case with last-ditch efforts in politics that the groups or individuals trying to stave off the final chapter in an inevitable drama — the classic example would be the last days of a corrupt regime like, say, Richard Nixon’s — are forced to turn to a rather motley cast characters for support. Think about it: when the handwriting is on the wall and there’s dirty work to be done in order to cling to power or to fan the dying embers of a discredited belief system, one can usually expect some troubled (and troubling) souls to emerge looking for their brief 15 minutes of fame.

And so it is in North Carolina right now with the last-ditch efforts of state House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger to block marriage equality in the face of an irresistible tide of court rulings. Faced with abandonment by responsible mainstream lawyers and advocates, Tillis and Berger have scraped the bottom of the barrel by turning to the rabidly anti-gay haters at a group that calls itself the National Organization for Marriage.

As the good people at the Human Rights Campaign explain here, NOM is an ironically-named outfit whose real goal is to marginalize LGBT people throughout modern society. Moreover, John Eastman, the NOM lawyer who slithered into handle the dirty job is a champion hater. This is from a Human Rights Campaign profile:

Eastman has a history of speaking out against homosexuality, and not just marriage equality. Back in 2003, Eastman pushed a very anti-LGBT/pro-”ex-gay” column penned by noted extremist Scott Lively (Google “Scott Lively” and “Uganda” and prepare to be mind-blown). In 2000, Eastman positioned homosexuality as, along with abortion, one of the twentieth centuries’ “twin relics of barbarism.” In that same year, he referred to gay-straight alliances as “incubators of moral relativism.”  He also defended the Boy Scouts’ gay-exclusionary practices in court, applauding the organization for standing against the “currently fashionable view that homosexual conduct is just another legitimate lifestyle choice.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has more on this scurrilous group and some of the people behind it here.

News

Thursday night after Tillis and Berger filed a motion seeking 8 days to compile legal arguments against marriage equality, Chief U.S. District Court Judge William Osteen Jr. denied the legislators’ request for delay, giving them instead a deadline of noon Friday to lay out their case. WRAL reports:

Chief U.S. District Court Judge William Osteen Jr. set a noon Friday deadline for them to lay out their legal arguments in the case, rejecting their request to delay any decision in the matter until at least Oct. 17.
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