North Carolina LGBT Laws

Censorship, Freedom of Association, Freedom of Expression, Freedom of Speech, Right of Assembly Legislation/Cases/References
1. Courts & Tribunals

On 19 June 2017, the US Supreme Court ruled that North Carolina law making it a felony for a convicted sex offender to use social-networking websites violates the Constitution’s First Amendment guarantee of freedom of speech [C1.2], [R1.1].

C1.2 Opinion: Packingham v. North Carolina No. 15-1194 PDF 146.75kb 19 JUN 17
R1.1 ScotusBlog: Opinion analysis: Court invalidates ban on social media for sex offenders 19 JUN 17
Children: Access, Custody, Visitation Legislation/Cases/References
1. Courts & Tribunals

In November 2003, it was reported that courts still deny custody based on sexual orientation alone [R1.3].

In July 1998, in a ruling that both sides said could affect unmarried heterosexual couples, the Supreme Court held that a gay father who admitted having sex with his boyfriend in their home cannot retain custody of his two sons [R1.2].

Previously:

In October 1996, the gay father won his battle to retain custody of his two sons after a State court of appeals found there was no evidence the boys had been exposed to “improper influences” in living with their dad and his male lover [R1.1].

R1.3 365Gay.com UK: North Dakota Strikes Down Anti-Gay Parenting Ruling 14 NOV 03
R1.2 The Advocate: Court Nixes Gay Dad’s Custody 31 JUL 98
R1.1 Capital Q: Gay Dad to Retain Custody of Sons 18 OCT 96
Civil Unions, Partners: Registered, Domestic Legislation/Cases/Documents/References
See also: [INHERITANCE] [MARRIAGE] [PROPERTY]
1. State

On 29 June 2012, Diane Juffras, associate professor of public law and government at the University of North Carolina School of Government outlines the reasons why North Carolina’s recently-approved anti-LGBT state constitutional amendment will not bar benefits offered by local governments to employees’ same-sex partners [D1.5], [R1.4].

On 08 May, voters approved Amendment One 61% to 39% to the constitution making same-sex marriage (already unlawful) and now also making civil unions and domestic partnerships for gay or straight couples unlawful [R1.3].

On 24 May 2011, HB 805 was passed by the House and sent to the Senate where on 25 May 2011 it was referred to Committee on Judiciary II. The Bill seeks to amend name-change laws potentially making it more difficult for LGBT citizens to change their names [R1.2].

In April 2008, a new statewide rule added a provision to the Patients’ Bill of Rights, stating: “A patient has the right to designate visitors who shall receive the same visitation privileges as the patient’s immediate family members, regardless of whether the visitors are legally related to the patient.” The right applies to hospitals statewide. But the new regulation will not provide same-sex partners the right to make medical decisions for which heath care powers of attorney are mandatory [R1.1].

2. County

On 04 August 2015, Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved cutting benefits for domestic partners of gay employees in light of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage. County employees whose partners received health benefits will have to marry if they want their partners listed as dependents [R2.3].

On 19 March 2013, Buncombe County commissioners voted 4-3 to begin offering benefits to the same-sex partners of county employees, allowing LGBT couples and their dependents access to health and life insurance, use of leave time and all entitlements under the Family and Medical Leave Act [R2.2].

On 15 December 2009, the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners split along party lines, approving domestic partner benefits for same-sex couples in a 6–3 vote, effective 2011 [R2.1].

3. Cities & Towns

On 25 June 2012, Charlotte Council passed the 2013 budget giving the City Manager the authority to develop and implement a benefits plan for same-sex partners of city employees. The partner benefits would mirror those currently offered to spouses and dependents of employees and include such items as medical and dental insurance and funeral and sick leave [R3.5].

On 22 February 2011, Asheville Council approved a resolution 5–1 calling for creation of a city registry for people in same-sex relationships and endorsing more rights for same-sex couples [R3.4].

On 01 January 2007, Greensboro domestic partner health and dental insurance benefits became available to employees [R3.3].

In October 2002, Durham unmarried and otherwise unrelated heterosexual and homosexual partners who live with and share expenses with city employees were eligible for city health and dental coverage. Employees are required to sign documents affirming their partnership [R3.2].

In July 2002, Durham City Attorney Henry Blinder said state law neither requires nor prohibits offering the domestic-partner benefits [R3.1].

In 1999, Chapel Hill and in 1996, Carrboro ordinances extended health insurance benefits to domestic partners [R4.1].

4. Courts & Tribunals

In May 2000, Orange County Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson allowed a motion for summary judgment upholding Chapel Hill and Carrboro ordinances extending health insurance benefits to domestic partners [R4.1].

D1.5 Public Employment Law Bulletin: Amendment One, North Carolina Public Employers, and Domestic Partner Benefits No 39 PDF 493.21kb, 29 JUN 12
R1.4 QNotes: Legal brief: Amendment One does not prohibit domestic partner benefits 06 JUL 12
R1.3 Orlando Sentinel: North Carolina passes ban on gay marriage 09 MAY 12
R1.2 QNotes: Statute revision could affect LGBT name changes 01 JUN 11
R1.1 365gay.com: New North Carolina Hospital Rule To Benefit Gay Families 23 APR 08
R2.3 qnotes: Mecklenburg County rescinds domestic partner benefits 05 AUG 15
R2.2 qNotes: Buncombe County adds domestic partner benefits 21 MAR 13
R2.1 QNotes: Mecklenburg commissioners approve DP benefits 16 DEC 09
R3.5 Qnotes: Charlotte council approves domestic partner benefits … 26 JUN 12
R3.4 Citizen-Times.com: Asheville council passes anti-discrimination resolution 5–1 23 FEB 11
R3.3 [Citation required]
R3.2 Associated Press: Durham Votes to Allow Benefits for Domestic Partners 08 OCT 02
R3.1 Durham Herald Sun: City Council May Revist Benefits Plan 03 JUL 02
R4.1 Raleigh News & Observer: Court Upholds Towns’ Domestic-partners Laws 09 MAY 00
Discrimination Legislation/Cases/References
1. State

On 21 December 2016, lawmakers failed to reach a deal to repeal House Bill 2, a divisive and costly law restricting protections for transgender people, ending a daylong special session without coming to agreement on anything [R1.6].

On 20 December 2016, it was reported that Governor-elect Roy Cooper called for repeal of the controversial House Bill 2 and outgoing Governor Pat McCrory had summoned lawmakers for a special session on Wednesday to reconsider the law [R1.5].

On 12 April 2016, Governor Pat McCrory signed Executive Order No. 93 making limited changes to House Bill 2. The Order creates protections against discrimination in the provision of public services and state employment though it affirms that private businesses, nonprofit employers and local governments may establish their own non-discrimination employment policies [R1.4].

On 23 March 2016, the House of Representatives passed 83-24 House Bill 2 and the Senate passed the Bill 32-0 (the Democrat senators walking out of the chamber in protest). House Bill 2 rescinds all local LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination policies throughout the state. The governor promptly signed the Bill into law that comes into effect 01 April [R1.3].

On 09 May 2013, the Senate passed Bill S719 which would if passed by the House and signed into law, prohibit public institutions in the University of North Carolina System and the state’s community colleges from enforcing their non-discrimination policies among student group leadership [R1.2].

On 09 April 2013, Reps. Tricia Cotham (D-Mecklenburg), Marcus Brandon (D-Guilford), Susi Hamilton (D-Brunswick, New Hanover), and Darren Jackson (D-Wake) introduced state employment non-discrimination House Bill 647. Unlike a similar bill introduced in late March, this bill would also extend protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity to teachers and other school staff across the state [R1.1].

2. County

On 21 September 2015, Wake County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to add sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression to its anti-discrimination policy protecting LGBT workers and job applicants [R2.4].

On 16 October 2013, the Mecklenburg County commissioners voted 6-3 to add the phrase “actual or perceived gender as expressed through dress, appearance, or behavior” to the equal employment and non-discrimination policy for county workers [R2.3].

On 02 April 2013, county commissioners voted 4–3 to amend Buncombe County’s employee non-discrimination statement to include sexual orientation and gender identity. The Ordinance is subject to a confirming vote on 16 April [L2.2], [R2.1].

3. Cities & Towns

On 19 December 2016, the Charlotte City Council voted 10-0 to rescind its expanded nondiscrimination ordinance, prompting Governor Pat McCrory to call for a special session to consider the repeal of House Bill 2. The repeal of the ordinance includes language which will reinstate it if the NC General Assembly doesn’t repeal HB2 by 31 December of this year [R3.5]. Now see above at [R1.6].

On 22 February 2016, the Charlotte City Council voted 7-4 to add sexual orientation, gender identity and marital status as attributes protected from discrimination when it comes to public accommodations including restaurants, retail stores and other businesses, effective 01 April, however the State legislature may overrule the city [R3.4].

On 22 February 2011, Asheville Council approved a resolution 5–1 calling for creation of a city registry for people in same-sex relationships and endorsing more rights for same-sex couples [R3.3].

In March 2010, Winston-Salem Central YMCA refused membership to a same-sex couple who tried to join the club as a family [R3.2].

In July 2002, Durham city’s current policy stated that it will “foster, maintain and promote” non-discrimination, including regarding sexual orientation, “in all aspects of employment” and that the city will “take those steps necessary to implement this policy.” [R3.1].

4. Courts & Tribunals

On 09 February 2018, the ruling of Administrative Law Judge Michael J Devine that the State of North Carolina violated federal law when it forced Magistrate Sandra G Myrick to resign, because of her religious beliefs about marriage prevented her from personally performing same-sex wedding ceremonies, reportedly became final. Under a settlement agreement Myrick will receive $210,000 in damages and $115,000 in attorneys fees [C4.5], [R4.4].

On 04 August 2017, US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Deputy Director Thomas M Colclough found evidence that Charlene Bost faced discrimination and a retaliatory hostile work environment in her position as a cashier supervisor at Sam’s Club (a subsidiary of Walmart) from 2013 through her firing in 2015 in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 [C4.3], [R4.2].

On 09 May 2016, the US Justice Department and North Carolina’s Republican governor, Pat McCrory, and the state’s secretary of public safety commenced proceedings against each other in different Federal Courts on the legality or otherwise of HB2, the controversial so-called bathroom law [R4.1].

1. State
R1.6 CNBC: HB2 Stays: North Carolina Lawmakers Decline to Repeal Controversial Anti-LGBTQ ‘Bathroom’ Bill 21 DEC 16
R1.5 ReutersUS: Stakes high as North Carolina considers repealing ‘bathroom law’ 20 DEC 16
R1.4 North Carolina Gov. Alters Discriminatory Law ­ Barely 12 APR 16
R1.3 TheAdvocate: North Carolina Governor Signs Repeal of LGBT Protections 23 MAR 16
R1.2 qNotes: Bill would allow discrimination in college student groups 09 MAY 13
R1.1 qNotes: New state non-discrimination bill introduced, includes teachers 10 APR 13
2. County
R2.4 IndyWeek: Wake County extends protections to LGBT workers 21 SEP 15
R2.3 qNotes: Mecklenburg commissioners vote to add transgender protections US (NC) 16 OCT
L2.2 Buncombe County: Resolution Adding Sexual Orientation and Gender to Buncome County Non-Discrimination Statement PDF 9.7kb, 02 APR 13
R2.1 qNotes: Buncombe County advances LGBT worker protections 04 APR 13
3. Cities & Towns
R3.5 qNotes: Charlotte rescinds nondiscrimination ordinance in hopes of HB2 repeal 19 DEC 16
R3.4 EdgeMediaNetwork: North Carolina Lawmakers Vow to Overturn Charlotte Transgender Law 23 FEB 16
R3.3 Citizen-Times.com: Asheville council passes anti-discrimination resolution 5–1 23 FEB 11
R3.2 365Gay.com: North Carolina couple denied family rate at YMCA 23 MAR 10
R3.1 Durham Herald Sun: City Council May Revist Benefits Plan 03 JUL 02
4. Courts & Tribunals
C4.5 Initial Decision and Order: Sandra G Myrick v. Marion Waren et al No. 16-EEOC-0001 PDF 1.11MB 08 MAR 17
R4.4 NationalReview: A Little Case with Big Implications 09 FEB 18
C4.3 Determination: Charlene Bost v. Sam’s East Inc. No. 430-2014-01900 PDF 10.51MB 04 AUG 17
R4.2 TLDEF: Victory! EEOC Finds Evidence of Job Discrimination by Walmart Against TLDEF Client in North Carolina 29 AUG 17
R4.1 ReutersUS: U.S. government and North Carolina escalate legal fight over transgender law 09 MAY 16
Gender Identity, Intersex,
Transgender, Transexual
[?]
Legislation/Cases/References
See also: [DISCRIMINATION]
1. State

On 30 March 2017, Governor Roy Cooper signed into law bill HB142, a compromise replacement bill for HB2 transgender bathroom law. Under the new law, transgender people are free to use the bathroom of their choice, but they also lack any recourse should any person, business or state entity eject them [R1.7].

On 23 August 2016, legal opinion was reported to the effect that the Federal preliminary injunction in the State of Texas et al., v. United States of America does not displace the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, whose 19 April 2016 decision supporting a transgender student’s bathroom choice in Virginia sets a precedent for the Carolinas as well [R1.6].

On 09 May 2016, the US Justice Department and North Carolina’s Republican governor, Pat McCrory, and the state’s secretary of public safety commenced proceedings against each other in different Federal Courts on the legality or otherwise of HB2, the controversial so-called bathroom law [R1.5].

On 04 May 2016, in a letter to Gov. Pat McCrory, the US Justice Department said federal officials view the state HB2 law as violating federal Civil Rights Act protections barring workplace discrimination based on sex. Provisions of the state law directed at transgender state employees violate their anti-discrimination protections and can’t be enforced [D1.4], [R1.3].

On 23 March 2016, the House of Representatives passed House Bill 2 in an 83-24 vote and the Senate passed the Bill 32-0 (the Democrat senators walking out of the chamber in protest). House Bill 2 rescinds all local LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination policies throughout the state. The governor promptly signed the Bill into law that comes into effect 01 April [R1.2].

On 01 January 2010, changes to the Hospital Patient’s Bill of Rights came into effect, prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity [R1.1].

2. Cities & Towns

On 22 February 2016, the Charlotte City Council voted 7-4 to add sexual orientation, gender identity and marital status as attributes protected from discrimination when it comes to public accommodations including restaurants, retail stores and other businesses, effective 01 April, however the State legislature may overrule the city [R2.1].

See: 1. State above at [R1.2].

3. 3. Courts & Tribunals

On 30 October 2018, US District Judge Thomas D Schroeder found that House Bill 142, the 2017 law that replaced North Carolina’s notorious anti-LGBT measure, House Bill 2, does not bar transgender people from using public restrooms and other facilities that match their gender identity, holding that H.B. 142 partially returned North Carolina to the pre-H.B. 2 ”status quo” by repealing language that restricted restroom access for transgender people, writing ”Nothing in the language of Section 2 [of H.B. 142] can be construed to prevent transgender individuals from using the restrooms that align with their gender identity” [C3.9], [R3.8].

On 04 August 2017, US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Deputy Director Thomas M Colclough found evidence that Charlene Bost faced discrimination and a retaliatory hostile work environment in her position as a cashier supervisor at Sam’s Club (a subsidiary of Walmart) from 2013 through her firing in 2015 in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 [C3.7], [R3.6].

On 26 August 2016, US District Judge Thomas D Schroeder granted in part an application for a preliminary injunction preventing enforcement of Part 1 of HB2 (Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, 2016) against the plaintiffs until further order. HB2 requires people in schools, universities and other government facilities to use bathrooms matching the gender on their birth certificates [C3.5], [R3.4].

On 23 August 2016, legal opinion was reported to the effect that the Federal preliminary injunction in the State of Texas et al., v. United States of America does not displace the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, whose 19 April 2016 decision supporting a transgender student’s bathroom choice in Virginia sets a precedent for the Carolinas as well [R1.6].

On 09 May 2016, the US Justice Department and North Carolina’s Republican governor, Pat McCrory, and the state’s secretary of public safety commenced proceedings against each other in different Federal Courts on the legality or otherwise of the controversial HB2 law [R1.5].

On 14 November 2012 and 10 February 2014 respectively, before the Superior Court in the Counties of Wake and Durham, Síle Kelleher and Hadassah Chayim obtained orders enabling them to change their names from Michael Damian Kelleher and David Gravri’el Hobbs, the Court finding in both cases that denying the name changes would cast doubt on the constitutionality of N.C.G.S. § 101-6 [C3.3], [C3.2], [R3.1].

See also: “Transgender legal issues and family law” 02 NOV 18


R1.7 CNBC: North Carolina governor signs bill replacing transgender bathroom law 30 MAR 17
R1.6 TheBrownsvillHerald: Experts: NC case unaffected by Texas transgender ruling 23 AUG 16
R1.5 ReutersUS: U.S. government and North Carolina escalate legal fight over transgender law 09 MAY 16
D1.4 US Justice Department: Letter to Governor Pat McCrory PDF 547.51kb 04 MAY 16
R1.3 ChicagoTribune: Feds: North Carolina LGBT bathroom law violates civil rights protections 05 MAY 16
R1.2 TheAdvocate: North Carolina Governor Signs Repeal of LGBT Protections 23 MAR 16
R1.1 Q Notes: Trans hospital protections go into effect 04 JAN 10
R2.1 EdgeMediaNetwork: North Carolina Lawmakers Vow to Overturn Charlotte Transgender Law 23 FEB 16
3. Courts & Tribunals
C3.9 Memorandum Opinion and Order: Joaquin Carcano et al. v. Roy Cooper et al. No. 1:16-cv-236 PDF 332.63kb 30 OCT 18
R3.8 LambdaLegal: Court Says NC Law Does Not Bar Transgender People from Public Facilities 01 OCT 18
C3.7 Determination: Charlene Bost v. Sam’s East Inc. No. 430-2014-01900 PDF 10.51MB 04 AUG 17
R3.6 TLDEF: Victory! EEOC Finds Evidence of Job Discrimination by Walmart Against TLDEF Client in North Carolina 29 AUG 17
C3.5 Memorandum Opinion: Joaquin Carcano, et. at. v. Patrick McCrory and Phil Berger No. 1:16cv236 PDF 288.46kb 26 AUG 16
R3.4 TheNews&Observer: HB2 blocked in part by US judge before trial 26 AUG 16
C3.3 Order: In Re: Change of Name from David Gavri’el Chayim f/k/a David Gordon Hobbs to Hadassah Gavriella Chayim 13 SP 1523 PDF 1.45MB, 10 FEB 14
C3.2 Order: In the Matter of the Name Change of Michael Damian Kelleher 12-SP-4876 PDF 1.45MB, 14 NOV 12
R3.1 TLDEF: TLDEF Name Change Victories in North Carolina 21 FEB 14
Homosexuality, Sodomy Legislation/Cases/References
1. State

North Carolina General Statutes, Chapter 14 Criminal Law, Article 26 Offenses against public morality and decency [L1.2].

§ 14-177. Crime against nature

If any person shall commit the crime against nature, with mankind or beast, he shall be punished as a Class I felon [L1.2].

See 2. Courts & Tribunals below.


In August 2003, it was reported that Police and sheriff’s deputies are still enforcing North Carolina’s crime against nature law despite a US Supreme Court decision [R1.1].

2. Courts & Tribunals

On 26 June 2003, the US Supreme Court ruled in Lawrence & Garner -v- Texas that a similar the law in Texas was an unconstitutional violation of privacy, nullifying or invalidating the North Carolina law [C2.1], [R2.1].

L1.2 General Assembly of North Carolina: § 14-177 (Accessed 09 JUN 09)
R1.1 Associated Press: North Carolina Sodomy Law Still Enforced Despite Ruling on Texas Measure 25 AUG 03
C2.1 US Supreme Court: Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U. S. 558 (2003) 26 JUN 03
R2.1 Associated Press: Supreme Court Strikes Down Gay Sex Ban 26 JUN 03
Marriage Legislation/Cases/References
1. State

North Carolina General Statutes, Chapter 51 Marriage, Article 1 General Provisions [L1.11].

§ 51-1.2. Marriages between persons of the same gender not valid.

Marriages, whether created by common law, contracted, or performed outside of North Carolina, between individuals of the same gender are not valid in North Carolina.

See now 3. Courts & Tribunals below.


On 11 June 2015, the State House overrode Governor Pat McCrory’s veto of Senate Bill 2 that is now law, allowing magistrates to opt out of performing same-sex, or even interracial or interfaith, marriages [R1.10].

On 01 June 2014, the Senate overrode 32-16 the veto of Governor Pat McCrory to Senate Bill 2, that would allow magistrates and registers of deeds to opt out of performing civil marriage services and ceremonies for same-gender couples. The bill passed the House 67-43 on 28 May with McCrory vetoing it later that day. The House has not yet held a similar vote [L1.9], [R1.8].

On 28 July 2014, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruling the Virigina case of Bostic v. Schaeffer made it highly likely North Carolina’s same-sex marriage ban will be overturned and accordingly, it will no longer be defended [R1.7].

On 08 May 2012,, voters approved Amendment One 61% to 39% to the constitution making same-sex marriage (already unlawful) and now also making civil unions and domestic partnerships for gay or straight couples unlawful [R1.6].

On 30 March 2012, it was reported that a poll conducted by Public Policy Polling between March 23rd and 25th suggested that the Amendment One vote on 08 May may approve the proposed constitutional ban on same-sex marriage [R1.5].

On 13 September 2011, State senators voted 30–to–16 to put a same-sex marriage constitutional ban on the State’s May 2012 primary election ballot, following their colleagues in the House who took the same action Monday in a 75–to–42 vote [R1.4].

Previously:

On 06 April 2011, an anti-gay constitutional amendment that could strip away marriage rights for same-sex couples was filed in the North Carolina House of Representatives. The House version reads “Marriage is the union of one man and one woman at one time. No other relationship shall be recognized as a valid marriage by the State”. Both the Senate and House versions of the amendment would place the amendment on next year’s November ballot [R1.3].

On 22 February 2011, Gaston County Sen. James Forrester filed his anti-LGBT constitutional amendment to ban any recognition of any “domestic legal union” other than a marriage between an opposite-sex couple, and for the question to be placed on the November 2012 ballot [R1.2].

In 1997, on the second attempt, the General Assembly passed the Defence of Marriage Act saying marriage can only exist between a man and a woman [L1.1], [R1.1].

2. Cities & Towns

On 28 August 2014, Winston-Salem reportedly advised that the city would recognise marriage licenses from any state or US jurisdiction for employee benefits, setting up an enrollment period that ends 31 October for all qualified employees [R2.1].

3. Courts & Tribunals

On 09 February 2018, the ruling of Administrative Law Judge Michael J Devine that the State of North Carolina violated federal law when it forced Magistrate Sandra G Myrick to resign, because of her religious beliefs about marriage prevented her from personally performing same-sex wedding ceremonies, reportedly became final. Under a settlement agreement Myrick will receive $210,000 in damages and $115,000 in attorneys fees [C3.24], [R3.23].

On 28 June 2017, in the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit Judge James Harvie Wilkinson III, writing for the Court, determined plaintiffs in the lawsuit Kay Ansley v. Marion Warren (three couples who assert the law allowing state magistrates to opt out of performing same-sex marriages for religious reasons amounts to spending public funds in the aid of religion) have no standing to press a claim against Senate Bill 2 [C3.22], [R3.21].

On 10 May 2015, the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit heard arguments, in Kay Ansley v. Marion Warren No. 16-2082, challenging Senate Bill 2 that allows government officials to refuse to perform same-sex marriages [R3.20].

On 20 September 2016, US District Judge Max O Cogburn dismissed the complaint of Kay Diane Ansley, her partner and two other couples, challenging Senate Bill 2 that allows government officials to refuse to perform same-sex marriages if they cite religious objections, ruling they lacked legal standing to sue and lacked evidence showing they were harmed directly by the law that took effect in June 2015 [C3.19], [R3.18].

On 20 September 2016, Judge George B Collins Jr in the General Court of Justice Superior Court Division ruled that former magistrates Gilbert Breedlove and Thomas Holland lacked standing for their lawsuit because local judges have power to appoint, suspend or fire them – not state officials who sent the state guidance memo that they could lose their jobs if they refused to perform gay marriages [C3.17], [R3.16].

On 20 September 2016, the State Court of Appeals rejected the claim of Gilbert Breedlove and Thomas Holland that their rights were violated by state guidance that they could lose their jobs if they refused to perform gay marriages, ruling that they lacked standing for their lawsuit because local judges have power to appoint, suspend or fire them – not state officials who sent the memo [C3.15], [R3.14].

On 09 December 2015, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of three same-sex couples, including Kay Diane Ansley and Catherine “Cathy” McGaughey, challenging North Carolina’s law allowing officials to refuse to perform gay marriages based on their religious beliefs [R3.13].

On 06 November 2014, a Notice of Appeal to the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in the case of Gerber v. Cooper was filed in the District Court on behalf of Senate Leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Thom Tillis after state Attorney General Roy Cooper declared all potential legal defenses were exhausted [C3.12], [R3.11].

On 10 October 2014, U.S. District Judge Max O. Cogburn, Jr. in the US District Court found that “any source of state law that operates to deny same-sex couples the right to marry in the State or prohibits recognition of same-sex marriages lawfully solemnized in other States, Territories, or a District of the United States, or threatens clergy or other officiants who solemnize the union of same-sex couples with civil or criminal penalties, are UNCONSTITUTIONAL as they violate the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution” [C3.10], [R3.9].

On 08 October 2014, Chief US District Court Judge William L. Osteen, Jr. issued a late afternoon order lifting his earlier stays and dismissing all motions in two cases challenging the state’s ban on same-sex marriages after the office of North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper filed documents with the court essentially dropping all further defense of the 2012 ban approved by voters [R3.8].

On 06 October 2014, the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit issued its mandate in the Virginia case of Bostic v. McQuigg allowing same-sex marriages to proceed this day. The decision in this Virginia case, entered 28 July 2014, may also affect same-sex marriage cases in North Carolina, South Carolina and West Virginia [C3.7], [R3.6].

On 02 June 2014, US Magistrate Judge Joi Elizabeth Peake granted the state’s motion to stay the Gerber v. Berlin and Fisher-Borne v. Smith cases pending resolution of the Harris Class Action by the 4th circuit [C3.5], [R3.4].

On 09 April 2014, three married lesbian couples filed a complaint in the US District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina challenging North Carolina’s ban on gay marriage. One partner in each of the couples is suffering from an urgent medical condition [C3.3], [R3.2].

On 12 July 2013, the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office announced that it would not oppose allowing six same-sex couples and their children to amend a 2012 lawsuit challenging the state’s ban on second parent adoptions to include additional claims challenging the state’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples [R3.1].

See: Parenting – Courts & Tribunals below at [C1.4], [R1.3].

1. State
L1.11 North Carolina General Assembly: § 51-1.2 (Accessed 09 JUN 09)
R1.11 HuffingtonPost: North Carolina Anti-Gay Marriage Bill Becomes Law After Legislature Overrides Governor’s Veto 11 JUN 15
L1.9 Bill: Senate Bill 2 PDF 374.31kb, 29 MAY 15
R1.8 qNotes: North Carolina Senate overrides McCrory veto on anti-LGBT magistrate refusal bill 01 JUN 15
R1.7 EdgeOnTheNet: North Carolina Attorney General Won’t Defend Gay Marriage Ban 28 JUL 14
R1.6 Orlando Sentinel: North Carolina passes ban on gay marriage 09 MAY 12
R1.5 Keen News Service: North Carolina ban confusing but likely to pass 30 MAR 12
R1.4 The New York Times: North Carolina Puts Same-Sex Marriage Ban on Ballot 13 SEP 11
R1.3 QNotes: Anti-gay amendment filed in N.C. House 06 APR 11
R1.2 Q Notes: Anti-gay marriage amendment filed in N.C. Senate 22 FEB 11
R1.1 The Herald-Sun: Gay community pushes for equality under law 25 JUL 03
2. Cities & Towns
R2.1 WXII: Winston-Salem opens benefits to same-sex couples 06 SEP 14
3. Courts & Tribunals
C3.24 Initial Decision and Order: Sandra G Myrick v. Marion Waren et al No. 16-EEOC-0001 PDF 1.11MB 08 MAR 17
R3.23 NationalReview: A Little Case with Big Implications 09 FEB 18
C3.22 Opinion: Kay Diane Ansley & Ors v. Marion Warren No. 16-2082 PDF 83.04kb 28 JUN 17
R3.21 WashingtonBlade: 4th Circuit tosses challenge to North Carolina anti-gay marriage law 28 JUN 17
R3.20 News13: Court asked to revive challenge to gay-marriage recusal law 10 MAY 17
C3.19 Order: Kay Diane Ansley, et al. v. Marion Warren No. 1:16-cv-00054-MOC-DLH PDF 340.63kb 20 SEP 16
R3.18 GastonGazette: Judge dismisses challenge to state’s gay-marriage law 21 SEP 16
C3.17 Order: Gilbert Breedlove and Thomas Holland v. Marion R Warren No. COA15-1381 PDF 101.94kb 20 SEP 16
R3.16 WRAL.com: North Carolina court rejects magistrates’ gay marriage lawsuit 20 SEP 16
C3.15 Opinion: Gilbert Breedlove and Thomas Holland No. PDF kb 20 SEP 16
R3.14 WRAL.com: North Carolina court rejects magistrates’ gay marriage lawsuit 20 SEP 16
R3.13 abcNEWS: Lawsuit Challenges Gay Marriage Law in North Carolina 09 DEC 15
C3.12 Intervenor-Defendants’ Notice of Appeal Ellen W Gerber, et al. v. Roy Cooper, et al., and Thom Tillis No. 1:14-cv-00299 PDF 47.71kb, 06 NOV 14
R3.11 LGBTQ Nation: North Carolina’s top GOP lawmakers appeal same-sex marriage ruling 07 NOV 14
C3.10 Memorandum of Decision and Order: General Synod of the United Church of Christ, et al., v. Drew Resinger and Roy Cooper No. 3:14-cv-00213-MOC-DLH PDF 164.64kb, 10 OCT 14
R3.9 SCOTUSblog: Second judge nullifies North Carolina marriage ban 14 OCT 14
R3.8 LGBTQnation: Federal judge lifts stays in North Carolina same-sex marriage cases 08 OCT 14
C3.7 Mandate: Timothy B Bostic, et al., v. Michelle McQuigg, et. al. No. 14-1173 PDF 39.67kb, 06 OCT 14
R3.6 EdgeOnTheNet: Court: Gay Marriages in Virginia Can Begin Monday 06 OCT 14
C3.5 Recommendation of US Magistrate Judge: Ellen W Gerber, et al., v. Roy Cooper, et al. No. 1:14CV299 PDF 58.27kb, 02 JUN 14
R3.4 ACLU: Gerber and Berlin v. Cooper 02 JUN 14
C3.3 Complaint: Ellen W Gerber, Pearl Berlin et. al. v. Roy Cooper et. al. No. PDF 343.23kb, 09 APR 14
R3.2 OnTopMagazine: Three Married Couples Challenge North Carolina’s Gay Marriage Ban 10 APR 14
R3.1 ACLUofNC: N.C. Attorney General Consents to ACLU Amending Lawsuit to Challenge State’s Ban on Marriage for Same-Sex Couples 12 JUL 13
Parenting, Adoption, Fostering Legislation/Cases/References
1. Courts & Tribunals

On 16 November 2016, the case of Melissa and Meredith Weiss v. Rick Brajer and Catherine Ryan No. 5:2015cv00656 was reportedly settled, the state of North Carolina agreeing to amend the birth certificates naming both as parents of their sons conceived by Melissa via in vitro fertilization. The settlement of the case means that married North Carolina same-sex couples with children born after they got married should be able to obtain accurate birth certificates for their children listing both their names [C1.6], [R1.5].


On 13 June 2012, the ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of six same-sex couples, challenging the state’s ban on second-parent adoptions for gay families, saying it violates their constitutional rights and is discriminatory [C1.4], [R1.3].


On 20 December 2010, the Supreme Court ruled 5–2 that the adoption of Melissa Jarrell’s son by her (now former) domestic partner state Senator Julia Boseman, was invalid because a Durham County District Court judge waived a requirement five years ago that Jarrell had to give up her parental rights in the process. The majority of justices let stand another lower court ruling allowing the two to have joint custody of the child, saying it would be in Jacob’s best interest for the women, who have been sharing parental responsibilities, to rear him [C1.2], [R1.1].

C1.6 Case: Melissa and Meredith Weiss v. Rick Brajer and Catherine Ryan No. 5:2015cv00656
R1.5 LambdaLegal: Victory! North Carolina to Issue Accurate Birth Certificates for All Children Born to Married Same-Sex Couples 16 NOV 16
C1.4 Complaint: Marcie Fisher-Borne & Others v. John W Smith & Others No 1:12-cv-589 PDF 343.63kb, 13 JUN 12
R1.3 ACLU: Same-Sex Couples Seek To Strengthen Families By Expanding Adoption Rights In North Carolina 13 JUN 12
C1.2 North Carolina Court: Boseman v. Jarrell 416PA08-2, PDF 94.18kb, 20 DEC 10
R1.1 The Sun News: North Carolina court voids certain adoption by same-sex couple 20 DEC 10
Violence: Bullying, Disorderly Conduct, Domestic Violence, Harassment, Vilification Legislation/Cases/References
See also: [DISCRIMINATION]
1. State

Currently, NC law does not allow for same sex dating partners who have never been household members and who are not or have not been married to each other to file for a Domestic Violence Protective Order (DVPO, sometimes commonly referred to as a ”restraining order” or a ”50B order”). If you are a victim of domestic violence in a same-sex dating relationship and don’t qualify for a DVPO, you may be able to file for a different type of restraining order called a ”Civil No-Contact Order” or a ”50C” [R1.4].


On 28 February 2013, the legislature ratified HB 19, expanding disorderly conduct provisions in response to groups such as the Westboro Baptist Church, which has often created disturbances at military funerals to promote an anti-gay message. The Governor was presented with legislation 01 March [L1.3], [R1.2].

On 22 June 2009, the House passed legislation stating that a child should not be discriminated against or harassed on the grounds of their real or perceived sexual orientation [R1.1].

2. Courts & Tribunals

On 07 January 2019, the State filed an amicus curiae brief in support of M.E. challenging as unconstitutional the protective order statute that explicitly denies the right to some victims, if they are abused by an intimate partner of the same sex, to seek a protective order from a court as unconstitutional [C2.3]

On 31 May 2018, a Wake County woman, identified only by her initials M.E. in court filings, asked Judge Margaret Eagles for a protective order against her ex-girlfriend. The judge denied her request. When the woman tried again before Judge Anna Worley on 07 June, she was again denied. She then took her case to the N.C. Court of Appeals, arguing that she was denied equal treatment under the law [C2.2], [R2.1].

R1.4 eNOugh: Protective Order – 50B (Accessed 15 JAN 19)
L1.3 H.B. 19: An Act to Honour Fallen Heroes by Strengthening the Law that Prohibits Disorderly Conduct at a Funeral, Memorial Service, or Processional Route 30 JAN 13
R1.2 qNotes: N.C. Senate passes military funeral protest bill 28 FEB 13
R1.1 PinkNews.co.uk: North Carolina passes anti-gay bullying bill 23 JUN 09
2. Courts & Tribunals
C2.3 Brief by Amicus CuriaeM.E. v. T.J. No. COA18-1045 PDF 305.79kb 07 JAN 19
C2.2 Plaintiff-Appellant’s Brief: M.E. v. T.J. No. COA18-1045 PDF 2.13MB 07 JAN 19
R2.1 TheNews&Observer: Gay people can’t get restraining orders against their partners in NC. But that may change 10 JAN 19