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Same-sex marriage verdict's impact on N.C.
Equality advocates look to Washington for help
 
Published Thursday, June 27, 2013 8:47 am
by Stephanie Carroll Carson, N.C. News Service

ASHEVILLE – It will take federal action before North Carolina same-sex couples benefit from the U.S. Supreme Court decisions handed down on Wednesday overturning the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8.


The ruling opens the door for same-sex couples to file taxes jointly and could allow them to receive other federal benefits, but only in the 13 states that recognize same-sex marriage.


Jennifer Rudinger, executive director of North Carolina ACLU, said action must happen at the federal level to recognize marriage based on the state where a couple is married and not where they live.


“We’ll be pushing for Congress and the administration to adopt a choice-of-law standard, so that the couples applying for the federal benefits - as many of them as possible – will be able to receive these protections,” she said.


Last year, North Carolina passed an amendment to the state constitution defining marriage in the state as between a man and a woman.
Rudinger said 1,100 different federal laws and programs could be impacted by the decision, but there needs to be clarification by the Obama administration.


Wednesday’s ruling was what Mark Arrington of Asheville was waiting to hear. He and his partner, Bobby Hill, have been together for 28 years and own a successful business together. Arrington said they would see a real financial benefit if they could be legally recognized as a couple.


“With us not being able to have the same benefits for each other, it has cost us money, having to have separate insurance policies. You can have more benefits that way through taxes, being able to file together, deductions.”


Equality NC, an advocacy group for marriage equality in the state, is reviewing the Supreme Court opinion very closely to evaluate next steps it will take for North Carolina.

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