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North Carolina official to begin accepting same-sex marriage licenses

Buncombe County Register of Deeds [official website] Drew Reisinger, in Asheville, North Carolina, announced [press release] Monday he will begin accepting marriage license applications from same-sex couples and requested review of the decision from North Carolina's Attorney General [official website]. Attorney General Roy Cooper [official profile] has stated that he supports same-sex marriage [AP report] but has also stated that his personal views will not prevent him from defending North Carolina's ban in court. A 2012 amendment [text] to North Carolina's Constitution currently bans same-sex marriage [JURIST report]. Reisinger said, "I have concerns about whether we are violating people's civil rights based on this summer's Supreme Court decision." He will accept the licenses, but he will withhold his signature until the laws are clarified. Same-sex couples first appeared on Tuesday to receive marriage licenses.

The heated debate regarding same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder] is one of the most polarizing [JURIST op-ed] issues currently facing the US legal community. The Supreme Court of New Jersey [official website] last week agreed to hear [JURIST report] an appeal [JURIST report] by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie [official website] challenging a lower court ruling that same-sex couples must be allowed to marry [JURIST report]. Last month Michigan's Treasury Department ruled [JURIST report] that same-sex spouses must file separate tax returns. Also last month a judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio expanded a lawsuit [JURIST report] seeking the recognition of same-sex spouses on death certificates. Judge Timothy Black ruled in July and September [JURIST reports] that the surviving same-sex spouses of two decedents should be listed as spouses on death certificates, because their marriages were valid under the laws of the states where they were performed. Also in September, a Kentucky judge ruled that the same-sex spouse of a woman charged with murder must testify against her at the trial because same-sex partners are not protected by the spousal privilege [JURIST report] under Kentucky state law.

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