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North Carolina




On October 10, 2014, a federal judge in North Carolina agreed that the ruling in favor of the freedom to marry in the 4th Circuit applies to NC’s Amendment 1, which bans same-sex couples from marrying. Same-sex couples were immediately issued marriage licenses, and on Monday, October 13, same-sex couples statewide began marrying. 

The ruling was in General Synod of the United Church of Christ v. Cooper, a federal legal challenge filed in April 2014 on behalf of same-sex couples and clergy members from North Carolina seeking the freedom to marry and the freedom to perform marriages for same-sex couples. On Monday, October 13, another federal judge ruled in two cases from the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of NC, Fisher-Borne v. Smith and Gerber and Berlin v. Cooper, also affirming the freedom to marry. 


On May 8, 2012, anti-gay forces in North Carolina pushed through Amendment One, a constitutional amendment that excludes same-sex couples from marriage and prohibits same-sex couples from attaining any form of legal family status. 

In January 2012, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of NC filed a federal lawsuit, Fisher-Borne v. Smith, seeking the freedom to marry for same-sex couples across the state of South Carolina. In April 2013, the ACLU filed an additional case seeking immediate relief for three same-sex couples with serious medical conditions, Gerber and Berlin v. Cooper. In 2014, a case filed by the United Church of Christ seeking the freedom to marry and respect for marriages from other states was also filed. The UCC case was the case in which a federal judge struck down Amendment One, on October 10, 2014. Read more about marriage litigation in North Carolina.


  • Equality NC is a statewide advocacy organization that works to secure equal rights and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender North Carolinians.
  • The Campaign for Southern Equality is a national effort to assert the full humanity and equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in American life and to increase public support for LGBT rights. 
  • The ACLU of North Carolina is a statewide chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, devoted to ensuring that all North Carolinans are protected from inequality. 
  • Freedom to Marry is the campaign to win marriage for same-sex couples nationwide. 


A majority (62%) of North Carolina residents say they support marriages or civil unions for same-sex couples, with 33% opposed. (Public Policy Polling, April 2014)


According to The Williams Institute's analysis of the 2010 U.S. Census, 18,309 same-sex couples are living in North Carolina, representing 4.9 same-sex couples per 1,000 households.

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Resources Related to North Carolina

North Carolina Census Snapshot

Demographic and economic information about same-sex couples and same-sex couples raising children in North Carolina.

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