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Gay Couples Denied Marriage Licenses In Charlotte, NC During Peaceful, Emotional Protest: VIDEO


On Wednesday morning in Charlotte, North Carolina, three couples were denied marriage licenses by the Mecklenburg Country Register of Deeds in accordance with the same-sex marriage ban written into the state constitution in 2012. The couples were taking part in a peaceful protest arranged by the Campaign for Southern Equality in order to bring awareness to the marriage ban. A similar test of the law occurred just last week in Henderson County, North Carolina.

Register of Deeds J. David Granberry met the couples and broke the bad news, but later offered words of support.

GranberryQNotes reports:

Granberry said he and his staff attempted to remain somber throughout the protest and do their jobs. He also said his staff wanted to respect the couples’ rights.

“[We] try to be respectful and let everybody say their piece, and that’s mostly what I think it’s about, to give them an opportunity to be seen and to be heard,” he said. “And, we can’t particularly do something because right now it’s against the statutes and the constitution for the state, but we can definitely let people express themselves and exercise their free speech and, certainly, they have the right to come down and ask for a marriage license.”

Granberry also noted that Mecklenburg County residents voted against last year’s anti-LGBT state constitutional amendment. “I’m hoping that [the protest] will start changing people’s minds,” he said.

The protest was an emotional one for all involved. Scott Bishop and Ron Sperry, the first couple to attempt to retrieve their license, got teary as Sperry recited an eloquent speech to his partner:

“I don’t think it’s hard to imagine that every happily married couple remembers the day they walked up to this counter or a counter like this one to apply for their marriage license,” he said. “I bet that they all remember how they felt and the butterflies that they felt at the time. I want you to know that I feel butterflies, too, and not for all the reasons you would think, but because I get to stand here in front of anyone who will listen and tell them that I want to be with you for the rest of my life. I love you very much.”

SouthernequalityThe other couples were Reverends Robin Tanner and Ann Marie Alderman, and Scott Lindsley and Joey Hewell.

The couples said they deserve to have their relationships recognized in their home states, just as their straight friends’ relationships are recognized. In 2011, Tanner participated in marrying several Charlotte gay couples in Washington, D.C., where same-sex marriages are recognized. Her partner, Alderman, said North Carolina should grant them the same rights.

“We live here,” Alderman said. “It should be here, where we live. We feel really strongly about that.”

Watch a video of the protest and Ron Sperry's emotional speech, AFTER THE JUMP...


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  1. Charlotte would look better if it was turned into radioactive wastleland

    Posted by: litper | Oct 10, 2013 7:43:24 PM

  2. Is there no justice? Some can, some can't. It's tearing me up, but they can still mess around and pretend.

    Posted by: TD | Oct 10, 2013 8:04:29 PM

  3. I would like to ask these hypocrits if they have read the bible and if so how many marriage certificates have they signed of second, third, or more marriages? being from the south I have seen the hypocrisy of the Baptists at its best.

    Posted by: keith | Oct 10, 2013 9:27:36 PM

  4. LIPTER...your face

    Posted by: jd | Oct 10, 2013 10:55:24 PM

  5. I couldn't be more proud of those couples, especially the one in the video, and the officials for their dignity and courage.

    Posted by: Patrick | Oct 10, 2013 11:05:51 PM

  6. We will have justice in all 50 states,it's only a matter of time.

    Posted by: Zack | Oct 10, 2013 11:23:56 PM

  7. This is proof that more than anything that public opinion is not greater than the law in the states. Keep fighting.

    Posted by: Tonez | Oct 10, 2013 11:44:49 PM

  8. North Carolina is a reeking cesspool of bigotry and stinking hatred. Nonetheless, we need to plunge our hands into the excrement and lift up those mired in it to breathe the fresh, clean air of love and acceptance. We can't afford just to treat our hateful adversaries with the same execrable attitudes that sustain their benighted lives. We need to reach out to them with respect and an attitude toward lifting the darkness from their hearts.

    Posted by: Paul Weidig | Oct 11, 2013 3:48:27 AM

  9. North Carolina is a reeking cesspool of bigotry and stinking hatred....BINGO! ..and now alot of the residents Complain iof the Rightwing LOONS whom have taken over the state.....well thats what they voted for....BIGOTRY and HATRED to keep them thar gays from marrying.....FU NC, wouldnt waste a F'N penny in your hate state.

    Posted by: disgusted american | Oct 11, 2013 7:43:34 AM

  10. I agree with Zack that "We will have justice in all 50 states, it's only a matter of time." Legally, that is. Many people in the south are still not over the fact that they lost the Civil War, so I'm not as optimistic that those folks will embrace marriage equality any time soon.

    Posted by: John | Oct 11, 2013 9:36:04 AM

  11. Are the people who comment on this site like seven years old? Wherever you live, your state hasn't had legal gay marriage for very long. Thirty-five states have gay marriage bans, 29 of them constitutional. North Carolina democrats held off a constitutional ban (and protected abortion rights, sustained a great public university system, etc.) until after national democrats bungled the politics of health care and turned governments across the country (including the United States House of Representatives, if you need reminding) over to the republicans. So thanks for that. And I don't remember anyone getting beat down in the street for being gay around here lately.

    Posted by: Patrick | Oct 11, 2013 9:55:45 AM

  12. Sorry, Patrick, but the democrats didn't bungle health care. Democrats were also unable to outspend our unshackled billionaires who bought the House of Reps after the Roberts court decision.

    I don't blame you for being resentful, as many other states are also run by bigots. However, NC has tried to portray itself as a moderate state, instead of being one of the backward deep South.

    Unfortunately, it does remain part of the deep South...

    Posted by: TonyJazz | Oct 11, 2013 3:04:28 PM

  13. Patrick, do you live under power lines?

    Posted by: Robert | Oct 11, 2013 5:56:48 PM

  14. The voters of North Carolina already made their voices heard and they opted to protect marriage.

    “I’m hoping that [the protest] will start changing people’s minds,” he said." - that's like asking if people who want to marry their siblings or parents could change others mind with a protest.

    Posted by: Joe | Oct 13, 2013 10:08:25 AM

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